About Sparky

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Lee “Sparky” Thomason is a trumpet player/composer/arranger/teacher from Rockdale, TX, a small town in Central Texas that now uses the slogan, “An hour from everywhere.” Actually, we are an hour from Austin, Temple, and Waco, so as a result, I gig as much as possible in all three cities. I am currently playing with the Temple Jazz Orchestra, the legendary Tejano band, Latin Breed, and subbing with anyone else who calls. After attending McLennan Community College and studying with the master trumpet teacher, Dave Hibbard, I went to Sam Houston State University, just as they were putting the last nail in the coffin of what had been a really good jazz program. After that, I joined the Air Force and of the West and toured with the Dimensions in Blue Jazz Orchestra. That was an incredible experience personally, as well as musically. Not only did I meet my wife of 18 years, Leah, and many other great people, but got the chance to play with many great musicians, such as Sam Fagaly, Ron Wilkins, Sam Johnson, Dave Bandman, Ron Conner, and many others. Also, the “DIB” got to back up many world class players, such as Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, and I got to play a duet version of “Blue in Green” with the late Frank Mantooth. While free-lancing in San Antonio, I was a charter member of the San Antonio Jazz Orchestra and got the chance to play with the top S.A. players, such as Rick Horn, Dale Schultz, Johnny Goodwin, Morgan King, Rene Saenz, Gilbert Garza, and many, many others. While also playing at Fiesta Texas for 3 years, I was a private teacher who was blessed with many great trumpet students, such as Pat Murray, Curtis Calderon, Carlos Alvarez, Karlos (with a “K) Elizondo, Kathleen Janert, and Logan Keese. I also had the opportunity to run the Greater San Antonio Jazz Institute, where I feel like we influenced many students. After finishing my Bachelor’s Degree at UT-San Antonio, Leah, the kids, and I moved to Kaysville, Utah, where I worked on Master’s at the University of Utah and got plugged into the Salt Lake City scene. I had the opportunity to play with more great players there such as Brian Booth, Chris Braymen, Jay Laurence, and many,many others. In both S.A. and S.L.C, I had a sometimes-working quintet that mostly standards and evolved into doing my original tunes. Unfortunately, there are no digital recordings of those gigs, but maybe someday…Anyway, one of the reasons I left San Antonio was that I was tired of doing so many Tejano and salsa gigs, so naturally, I ended up in, and was musical director of Mambo Jumbo for 7 years. Among many other gigs, we opened for Dave Matthews on opening night of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Moving back to Texas six years ago has been a blessing, family-wise and musically as I fell in with the TJO and the Latin Breed, as well as being a steady sub with a few bands. The things that I am working on right now are getting my physical trumpet playing chops, big band composing again, now that I have a band that will play my charts, and above all, being a better husband and parent. CATCH YA LATER……….SPARKY(CHISPAS)