Greg Thomas

Writer/Public Speaker

New York, NY

Greg Thomas

Greg's byline has appeared in the New Republic, Village Voice, Salon, Guardian Observer, The Root, American Legacy, Integral Life, UPTOWN, and in the New York Daily News as jazz columnist. He's also a producer, curator, and lecturer: Greg was a featured speaker at Harvard, Columbia, and Hamilton College in Feb. 2016.



Reading Albert Murray in the Age of Trump

In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison’s protagonist asks: “Could politics ever be an expression of love?”. Our current climate of division, fear, anger, recrimination, and even resignation clearly points to an answer in the negative. However, the writings and ideas of Ellison, and his close friend of fifty years, Albert Murray, should caution citizens of the United States to keep in view how and why we’ve come so far, and to hold on to the vision of possibility within our democratic principles.
The New Republic Link to Story

Greg Thomas '85 Discusses Jazz Critic Albert Murray

The life, philosophy, psychology, and music comprising the Albert Murray Worldview.
Hamilton College Link to Story

The Ellison-Baraka Debate: Greg Thomas & Greg Tate

Writers Greg Tate and Greg Thomas on the mutual legacies of Ralph Ellison and Amiri Baraka.
Harvard University Link to Story

Jon Batiste Brings His ‘Social Music’ to Late Night

The young musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert relates his vision and passion.
The Root Link to Story

The Rebirth of Billie Holiday

The way she bent, swooped and swerved notes was from the heart of the blues.
The Root Link to Story

An Artistic Feast: Jacob Lawrence’s 60-Piece Migration Series on Display in NYC

Review of MoMA’s exhibit “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North.”
The Root Link to Story

Lauryn Hill Concert Review: Late but Worth the Wait

The pros and cons of Lauryn Hill's intimate show in Harlem, March 2015.
The Root Link to Story

Can Reforming Culture Save Black Youths?

Jamaican-born Orlando Patterson, a Harvard sociology professor since 1969, likes to tackle big issues. Slavery and Social Death and Freedom in the Making of Western Culture, two of his most acclaimed works, traverse centuries and continents. Now he’s confronting the issue of culture and black youths.
The Root Link to Story

Review: D’Angelo Leaves Harlem’s Apollo Audience Enraptured

D’Angelo rocked the house for more than two hours, journeying through his first 3 records.
The Root Link to Story

New Documentary Traces the Soul of the Godfather

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, chronicles the career of the Godfather of Soul, from his ascension in music at the height of the social revolution of the 1960s through his impact on hip-hop and pop music. Filmmaker Alex Gibney begins and ends this fine documentary with an iconic performance by Brown’s second major band, with Bootsy Collins on bass, at Olympia Hall in Paris in 1971, midway through Brown’s most influential period.
The Root Link to Story

Clark Terry: Master Mentor, Iconic Trumpeter

I had the distinct honor of playing with trumpet legend and educator Clark Terry in 1984, my junior year as undergrad at Hamilton College. I held the first alto-saxophone chair in the school’s jazz big band. The evening before the concert, band director Don Cantwell, Terry, a few select band members and I had dinner at a quaint, cozy restaurant in Clinton, N.Y., a college town downhill from campus.
The Root Link to Story

Tony Bennett: Life Is a Gift

At 86, living legend Tony Bennett is in the midst of a storm of activity that could tucker out artists half his age. How does he do it? By staying centered on what the great jazz pianist Bill Evans told him right before he died. “Bill found me and said, ‘Just think truth and beauty. Think truth and beauty.’ That’s become my premise, privately, for all of my workmanship,” Bennett says. “What I do now is gravitate towards truth and beauty.”
New York Daily News Link to Story


Greg Thomas

Greg's byline has appeared in the Village Voice, Salon, Guardian Observer, The Root, American Legacy, New Republic, Uptown, among others, including the New York Daily News, for which he was the jazz columnist for several years. As an editor, Greg has worked with Forbes Media's American Legacy Woman magazine, and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Harlem World magazine. In 1995, the New York Association of Black Journalists selected him as winner of the Critique and Review newspaper award for "Marsalis Trumpets Truth as He Sees It," his review of Marsalis's first book, Sweet Swing Blues on the Road.

Greg was a featured writer in "Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation," the first book-length study of the writing, work and life of blues idiom and jazz Renaissance Man Albert Murray. In May 2016 the University of Minnesota published Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Blues and Jazz, edited by Paul Devlin with the afterword written by Greg.

He's also worked in front of the camera and behind the scenes in video production. After graduating from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Public Policy and Minor in Music, Greg co-produced and directed several documentaries. In 1990, he won in the Ethnic Expressions category of the Hometown USA Video Festival for: "Holistic Health Care in the African American Community."

Greg has been a producer and host on WBAI and WVOX radio in New York, and was on-air host and co-producer of two seasons of Jazz it Up!, an online jazz news and entertainment series. Jazz it Up! was nominated as finalist in the Outstanding Long Form-Entertainment category for National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-sponsored Global Media Award.

In 2016, Greg was host and curator of a four-part series for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, “Jazz and Contemporary Culture.” On February 13, 2016 he presented an essay at an Albert Murray Symposium that he co-organized with the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. On Feb. 16, 2016 he co-presented, with fellow cultural journalist Greg Tate, a re-animation of a debate between Ralph Ellison and Amiri Baraka over the meaning of the history and practice of black American music, at Harvard University.