Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) was created in 2001 at the National Museum of American History, according to their website. Each April, JAM is intended to encourage participation and acknowledgement of the genre of music which ranges from Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald to the sound of smooth jazz tunes cranked out by Boney James, and Kenny G.
With the boom of today’s Internet culture, music fans can also connect with rising, independent artists such as (Bryan Thompson). Thompson. The 25-year-old full time musician appears in videos online jamming coolly on a shiny, gold-colored saxophone with grace and innate talent. Although his infectious style gives smooth jazz vibes, B. Thompson identifies as an R & B instrumentalist. The Los Angeles-based artist’s renditions playing covers of popular records have garnered over 100 million social media views. Through his growing season, B. Thompson’s humility shines through the accolades.
“One of the things that… is so rewarding is just going through and reading the (social media) comments of people from all over the world. You know, how this music saved them, or how they played it at their wedding, or they played it for this anniversary or whatever, and just how it touches them,” B. Thompson said. “And it’s humbling…, these videos that get millions of views. Sometimes when I’m down, I go back and I read them, and it’s a constant reminder of why I do what I do.”
In 2016, B. Thompson told Classical Music Indy that providing an escape through music is one way that his work is advantageous to listeners.
“My songs tell a story and I want people to listen to my thoughts through a melody. I think my music can benefit society in this way. I want them to listen, imagine, and escape,” B. Thompson said.
B. Thompson’s musical gift manifested early in his life. The artist from Indianapolis, Ind. was primarily self-taught, until he took private lessons in high school. His musical debut was singing at the age of three. By nine years old, he had picked up the saxophone. Playing at church weekly, weddings, and other gigs followed. By 15 or 16, he already had graduated to participating in bigger events.
“I was about 15, (or) 16 years old when I started taking private lessons. And that was really more… theory-based… and slight technique, but by that time, I had already been performing and doing all the above,” B. Thompson said. “So, I kind of felt like it was retroactive for me.”
In a world loaded down with short-lived rap and hip hop tunes, there is still room for timeless artists like B. Thompson to find their tribe. Social media helped him to gain a diverse fan base from individuals who hail from all over the world. Initially, Facebook and Instagram were primary sources which allowed B. Thompson to find who wanted to move and grove to his tunes.
After a video featuring B. Thompson doing went viral in 2017, more doors opened for the Internet sensation. Meeting and working with a host of top celebrities unfolded. The gifted musician has shared the stage with musicians and singers such as Kenny G, Najee, Faith Evans, Kirk Whalum, Kenny Lattimore, Toni Braxton and H.E.R.
A few big moments stood out for B. Thompson when it comes to recalling musical milestones.
“Probably meeting Kenny G was one of the best moments in my life as far as just another musician that I met,” B. Thompson said. “And then performing with Toni Braxton.”
Despite B. Thompson’s natural progression from becoming a gifted child to evolving into an independent artist who can turn heads, individuals who simply observe him may not realize that he has been living with hearing loss in his right ear. It began when he was approximately 14 years old, when he was well into his career. A hearing test in high school led to the diagnosis.
“I think it was tinnitus or something like that where there’s a constant ringing and hearing loss in the ear. There’s nothing I can do about it. I was born that way,” B. Thompson said, mentioning that the issue never hindered him creatively or musically.
B. Thompson’s spirit and belief that his musical ability comes from God fuels him to continue moving full speed ahead. He is set to release P.O.V., which will be his debut album, on May 13,2022. The single called “Cuban Dreams” can currently be found on all streaming platforms. Watch the Cuban Dreams video by clicking here. Follow B. Thompson on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bryanthompsonofficial.