René Thomas (musician)

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René Thomas (born February 25, 1927 in Liège , † January 3, 1975 in Santander ) was a Belgian jazz guitarist .


Thomas learned his instrument as an autodidact . In the late 1940s he started playing the Bob Shots around Bobby Jaspar , Jacques Pelzer and Francy Boland . He then went to Paris with Jaspar in 1950 . There he played with Chet Baker and made his first recordings for Barclay Records in 1954 (LP René Thomas And His Orchestra ). In 1956 he moved to North America, where he played with Al Haig , Toshiko Akiyoshi , Sonny Rollins , Miles Davis , Zoot Sims and Jackie McLean . Under his own name he recorded the record “Guitar Groove” (1960). In 1962 he returned to Paris and recorded with Chet Baker, John Lewis , Lucky Thompson , Lee Konitz , Jack Diéval and Stéphane Grappelli .

Between 1969 and 1972 he was a member of Stan Getz's band . He continued to play in the organ trios of Lou Bennett and Eddy Louiss (often with Kenny Clarke ), but also with Ingfried Hoffmann , with Claude Nougaro and with Sonny Criss . Shortly before his death, he made another record with Jacques Pelzer. One of his better known compositions, “Ballad for Leo” was also recorded by Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin (as “René's Theme”).


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