“Jens Thomas is not only a gifted pianist and singer: he literally dives into the music and takes his listeners on an exploratory tour in which listening plays a central role and there are no limits to improvisation.” – Claus Röck, NDR Kultur
Jazz pianist and vocal performer Jens Thomas, to whom the Süddeutsche Zeitung devoted an entire Page Three in 2019, sings and plays Neil Young. Unconventional, surprising and highly emotional. His Neil Young Collage is a sound journey beyond styles and categories, provoking images and memories in the listeners’ minds.
The term “collage” is close to the expression “bricolage” and means here to “tinker” (French: “bricoler”) with the found songs and texts of Neil Young and to come to new and independent solutions by intuitively “listening” to the material. What was an instinctively painterly process of layering piano improvisations, vocals and percussion instruments during the production of the album turns live into a fascinating “tinkering” in the moment before the eyes and ears of the listeners.
Jens Thomas sings “as if he were a medium offering temporary asylum to different personalities, from sopranos to overtone singers. In his music, Thomas is an ecstatic performer who can transform sounds and stories into a stream of emotion,” according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.
After studying jazz as a pianist, the SWR Jazz Prize winner released four albums on the ACT label from 2000 to 2003 (including “Plays Ennio Morricone” with Paolo Fresu and Antonello Salis, “Pure Joy” and “The Sting Project” with Christof Lauer). From 2003-2012 he improvised live incidental music in the legendary “Othello”.
production by Luk Perceval at the Münchner Kammerspiele (ZDF live recording) and discovered his own voice, which he continued to develop autodidactically in the following years. He freed himself completely from the conventions and routines of contemporary jazz and questioned all elements of his concert performance. For Thomas, improvisation now also meant integrating body and space, language and audience into his performances.
Various theatre and dance theatre productions (including NT Gent, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Folkwang Tanzstudio Essen, Burgtheater Wien), his own art performances in galleries and a two-year “artist in residence” at Schauspielhaus Bochum, have led him to extraordinary album productions such as “Goethe! Gesang der Geister” (2007, ITM) and “Speed of Grace-A Tribute To AC/DC” (2012, ACT) as well as the ARD “Tatort” drama “Ich hab im Traum geweinet” (“I cried in a dream”) to the encounter with the actor Matthias Brandt. With him and the “word-music collages” they create together, Thomas has been performing on the major German-language theatre stages since 2013. For Brandt, the musician is “the most important artistic encounter I’ve ever had.” In 2016, the album “Memory Boy” (Roofmusic) with exclusively original songs was released, which was written in parallel to Matthias Brandt’s book “Raumpatrouille”, in 2020 the
Chanson album “jENS tHOMAS” (misitunes) with original German and English lyrics.
1. Sleeping In The Eye Of The Storm
2. Cortez The Killer
3. After The Gold Rush
4. Hey Hey, My My
5. After Berlin
6. Comes A Time / Deep Forbidden Lake
8. Love Is A Rose
9. Old Man
10. Like A Hurricane
11. Cortez The Killer (Reprise)
12. Sink In True Love
Jens Thomas – piano, vocals, percussion
“(…) nine Young songs, a reprise, two own pieces, improvised in chamber music style, softly sung dynamically, discreetly complemented by sounds and percussion. They are atmospheric pictures, style-independent emotional sound networks on the basis of profound folk songs. Strong and still independent.” – Jazzthing
“Thus his Neil Young collage becomes an independent, unruly and dazzling work. […] What a killer!”” – FAZ
“The album has an unbelievable blaze of colour, which is all the more surprising because Jens Thomas recorded the album completely on his own. […] – already Neil Young Collage should be a contender for record of the year.” – Jazzthetik
“Whereby Thomas doesn’t even remotely stick to Young’s melodies, he jazzes them up, swirls them around, disassembles them and puts them back together again. It’s an event.” – HAZ
“The original, unadulterated Thomas, who throws himself into an evening without knowing beforehand exactly what he will do and how the audience will react, but who is not afraid of risk- you only get that solo. A concert with Jens Thomas is always something special.” – HAZ
“Fascinating.” – Tip am Sonntag.
“Jens Thomas is not only a gifted pianist and singer: he literally dives into the music and takes his listeners on a tour of exploration in which listening plays a central role and there are no limits to improvisation.” – NDR Kultur
“With pearly piano runs between the unpretentiously sung vocal lines – this is how Jens Thomas gets you to engage in his Neil Young journey right at the beginning of the album – and then it suddenly becomes unexpectedly catchy and poppy.” – NDR Kultur
“Gripping, partly breathtakingly creative reinventions, genre-cossover at it’s best.” – hr2 Hörbar
“A nightmare, you can hardly get it better than the master. And that’s exactly why this album by German pianist Jens Thomas is a redemption that couldn’t be more pleasant.” – concerto
“Big hit.” – Freie Presse
“…He sings a ballad with absolute abandon. It is one of those moments when someone spits a piece of his soul onto the stage” – Welt am Sonntag