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The Boston Globe


Scene & Heard

Composer Omar Thomas seeks harmony

Omar Thomas remembers the first time he heard Pat Metheny. Thomas was 14 years old, and he hated it. He was hanging out in the high school band room when a friend urged him to check out the Pat Metheny Group’s CD “The Road to You.” “I just thought, ‘This is terrible. This is ridiculous, it doesn’t make any sense.’ ” Nine months later, for some reason, Thomas put on the CD again. But now his reaction was different. “It was a wrap. It was over for me at that point. I was in love.”

What happened during the course of those nine months? “I’ve asked myself that question,” says Thomas, “and I have no idea.” Maybe it was the hours of playing trombone in the high school concert band. He was able to hear something he hadn’t heard before. The harmony, the rhythm, the way it all came together. “It blew me away.” In fact, “Next to Silence,” on the debut CD by the Omar Thomas Large Ensemble, “I Am” (Sound Silence Records), is dedicated to Metheny and his PMG writing partner, Lyle Mays. “It’s on my bucket list: to someday thank Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays in person.”

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