Tracy Thornton started his musical career in a high school rock
band in the American state of North Carolina. Fascinated with toy
drums as a child, he later made a journey to Trinidad and Tobago to
play the steel pan in the Panorama competition. Some panorama
performances have a kinship to hard rock if only in one element – a
fast paced cacophonous sound to the uninitiated. In Tracy’s musical
journey the tight connection has loosened to diverse paths. Steel
Drum Fever takes the listener to many cool places.
Tracy composed and arranged tracks one through seventeen. He
plays the steel drum, djembe, bass and keyboards on all. Accompanied
by eleven musicians on instruments such as the trumpet, tenor, alto
and baritone sax, piano, violins and tabla one is pleasantly
surprised to hear a range of tempos.
The recording covers several genre with soca and calypso on
tracks one and two, respectively. The other tracks include pop,
reggae, something jazzy and a waltz. The average listener like me
could take the fastest tempo for rock or panorama. You could skip
over those two tracks which will leave you with fifteen more to play
all year and four bonus tracks for Christmas time. [eCaroh/Ron – May
Tracy Thornton has been making his living as a professional
steelpannist since 1995. He was the founder, leader and arranger for
critically acclaimed “Been Caught Steelin’” and the nationally
renowned “Sons Of Steel” which had been anointed “The Nation’s Most
Exciting Steel Drum Band” back during their four year run. Each
group produced 2 CD releases that Tracy produced himself and
co-produced “Sons Of Steel’s” Carpe Diem title with world-renowned
pannist Andy Narell. Other groups that Tracy has arranged and
produced are “The Bahama Mamas”, “The Pink Flamingos” and “Steel
In addition, Tracy has released 6 solo projects of his own. His
fresh and exciting take on steelband arrangements are rapidly
becoming performance favorites of steelbands throughout the country.
Since 1995, Tracy almost annually makes time to travel to the
birthplace of “Pan”, Trinidad & Tobago to partake and perform in
Panorama (the world’s largest steelband competition) during the
Island’s Carnival season where he performs with bands that consist
of 120 players. He has performed with Phase II, Potential Symphony,
Solo Pan Knights, Petite Valley Harps and Tobago’s Hope Pan Groove.
Tracy has also performed with world-renowned pannists Ken
“Professor” Philmore, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Robert Greenidge (Jimmy
Buffet’s pan player) and Andy Narell among many others.
On top of all of that, Tracy makes time to perform an average of
200 shows a year domestically and internationally. He has opened for
national acts domestically such as Santana, The Dave Mathews Band,
Jimmy Buffet, Kenney Chesney, The Original Wailer’s Band, Burning
Spear, Machel Montano & Xtatik, Shadow, Iwer George, Earth Wind &
Fire, Barry White, Luther Vandross, Jeff Beck, The Ramones, The
Strokes and the list goes on and on. He also has performed
internationally in exotic places such as Trinidad & Tobago, St.
Kitts and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to name a few.
Tracy has also performed stints at Walt Disney World’s Epcot
Center and made two appearances on Univision’s variety show “Sabado
Gigante” that airs internationally to 100 million viewers.
Tracy is the first steelpannist to break through the pop
mainstream media with his ever popular, critically acclaimed and
“Ramones’ endorsed” CD “Pan For Punks…A Steelpan Tribute To The
Ramones” where he has been featured in national publications
including Spin Magazine, Global Rhythm, Modern Drummer Online,
Billboard Online, MTV.com among numerous Online Magazines
domestically and internationally as well as getting a lot of airtime
on college, internet and satellite radio stations. His video for
“Blitzkrieg Bop” is also a first of its kind for the steelpan art
form. He was also personally invited to open the 2006 annual Joey
Ramone Birthday Bash at Irving Plaza in NYC.