I haven't heard anyone whose time is as solid, whose tone and articulation as unique, or whose lines are as beautiful as Jay Thomas's. His trumpet playing was enough to get me hooked right off the bat—I quickly discovered his incredible saxophone and flute playing as well. Jay really is a one-of-a-kind musician. It's no wonder he's played (and continues to play) with so many of the greats.
Because Jay lives nearby in Seattle I've had the pleasure of studying privately with him, going to his jams, and playing in his big band. He's a joy to work with and endlessly inspiring. I'd like to share a solo of his I transcribed a while ago that exemplifies the magic in his playing. Here is Jay on UMMG (click to see transcription) off of the album Streams of Consciousness. Below is a YouTube mp3 of this tune.