Oluyemi Thomas – Bass Clarinet, Saxophone, Percussion
Ijeoma Thomas – Voice/Poet, Percussion
Donald Robinson – Drums
Oluyemi Thomas was born in Detroit, Michigan. He studied at Washtenaw College in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he received an Associate of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Washtenaw College, he also studied music and the spiritual and physical nature of sound & silence. Great love and respect for the Arts is regarded as a gem to his parents who passed this on to him and his sisters and brothers. In his childhood years his mother & father often listened to the masters Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday. As a creative musician, performer, recording artist teacher and engineer, Mr. Thomas seeks to express his abiding love for the hidden power of Art. Oluyemi’s primary focus is to touch the inner core of individuals, be it in a forum, radio, television, recording or on the bandstand. For two decades he & his lovely wife poet Ijeoma have been members of the music and poetry unit Positive Knowledge. (Bass Clarinet/Saxophone) He may be heard on Music & Arts, Ear Light Records, Eremite, Rastascan & BMG labels. His travels to Africa, the Middle East & Europe are elements he brings to the mix. Oluyemi’s experience in sharing musical language utterance include the great Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, Alan Silva, William Parker, Wilber Morris, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell and wonderful conversations with Anthony Braxton and Charles Gayle. Mr. Oluyemi believes “The musician’s art is among those arts worthy of the highest praise”… and “Music should lead to spirituality”…
Wordsmith, spoken word artist, poet, vocalist and teacher, Ijeoma Thomas believes “all art is a gift of the Holy Spirit”. She has composed, performed and recorded with the music unit “Positive Knowledge” and published many chapbooks and individual poems in local and national publications. Born and raised in Washington D.C. now based in Oakland, Ca., Ijeoma has traveled and toured in New York City, Europe and West Africa. She has also been Artist – in – Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, California. Thomas has lent a vocal poetic motif to the works of Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Miya Masaoka, William Parker and Alan Silva.
Described as a ‘percussive dervish’ (Coda) Donald Robinson is a technical master of the drums. He is a stalwart of the of San Francisco bay area avant-garde jazz scene, playing and recording with many of the area’s improvisational players, from saxophonists John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi and Larry Ochs to koto player Miya Masaoka and pianist Matthew Goodheart, and with prominent visitors like Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, trumpeter Raphe Malik and Canadian pianist Paul Plimley. Much of this work has featured the combination of Robinson and bassist Lisle Ellis as rhythm section: ‘the best bass-drums tag team on the scene’ (Jazz Times). His longest musical association, dating from the 1970’s, was with the late tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman.