“Thomas owes an obvious debt to the great Bobby Hutcherson.
With a clear tone, strong chops and good ideas he is also reminiscent of modern vibes masters
Bryan Carrott and Joe Locke. A fine debut from a fellow Oregonian.”
— Rob Scheps, NYC Jazz icon, independent review of “Jackson” (May 15, 2013)
Born in 1967 in Oakland, Nebraska, Thomas Mackay started his musical studies at the early age of five in piano and percussion. He has mentored under Mike Blake, Gordon Stout and Bill Molenhof. He studied jazz and classical percussion at The Birch Creek Music Academy, The University of North Dakota, and Casper College. He has performance experience in many genres, from sharing the stage as a mallet percussionist with jazz artists such as Clark Terry, David Valdez, and Rob Schepps, to the psychedelic genre of Martin Fierro (Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service), Terry Haggerty (Sons of Champlin), Merle Saunders (Jerry Garcia Band) as well as the world renowned 3 Leg Torso. Mackay is currently serving as adjunct faculty with the Hawaii Youth Percussion Ensemble.
Mackay took an eight-year break from touring and recording as a vibist. June of 2012 he went on to form “The Mackay Project” an ensemble that featured his original compositions and focused on the modern side of jazz. The Mackay Project leaned more towards groove oriented tunes (break-beat, hip hop, reggae as well as straight ahead jazz). In June of 2013, Mackay released his first CD of The Mackay Project Jackson, under the Hammondbeat Records label. While recording Jackson, there were two weeks of studio down time which was used to record yet another session of jazz standards. Here’s That Rainy Day was released under the Hammondbeat Records label in the fall of 2013.
The Thomas Mackay Quintet features tenor sax player Bud Berlingeri, formerly of the Louie Prima band from 1952 to 1954. Here’s That Rainy Day is a departure from Mr. Mackay’s four-mallet style and concentrates on the two-mallet style of vibraphone greats Milt Jackson and Coleman Hawkins.
Mackay is also an active reggae keyboardist and drummer. He has played and recorded with Studio One reggae legend Norma Fraser. He also toured and recorded with Northern California reggae favorite, Synrgy.
Thomas Mackay is an endorsed Artist/Clinician for Malletech instruments, mallets and pickup system.