“Thomas told me that, although his band had produced some fine talent (notably a fledgling Ronnie Laws) who left Houston for the jazz metropolises of New York and Los Angeles, he could never desert the city that reared him. Instead, he decided to educate. His greatest gift to the city of Houston is the program — celebrating its 40th anniversary this year  — that produced those two 45s. Thomas had founded the Summer Jazz Workshop because of troubles he’d encountered in college.
“‘When I went to college, I didn’t have any knowledge of music theory,’ he said. ‘I could read from sheets and stuff like that, but it was a struggle, ’cause I was behind most of the kids that were in my class. So I decided that I would do something about it.”