Thomas Ice, 25, has wowed audiences across greater New Haven with his lush jazz piano playing.
Now, he is about to release his first full length album of 13 original songs, “Eagles Sound.”
“The best song is called Eagles,” Thomas said. “I saw an eagle’s nest in the park, and I was really inspired by it. I went back and composed a song about how the eagles inspired me.”
A 2013 graduate of Darien High School, Thomas came to Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program in 2014 with the dream of becoming a professional jazz musician. He started in the residential program, learning how to live independently and manage an apartment while progressing through the ASAT curriculum, which focuses on social communicative competency. Now, he lives by himself in an apartment in downtown New Haven and has secured gigs with some of the top jazz musicians in the City.
“Chapel Haven has been really supportive of my music career,” Thomas said. “They’ve given me gigs at special events and given me great guidance on how to present myself.” Sarah Davison, the speech-language pathologist in the ASAT program, has been especially helpful, he said. “Sarah helped me find my job at Ernie’s Pizzeria, and she helped me overcome a lot of the challenges that I faced.”
Thomas started playing piano at age 8. “I listened to Oscar Peterson and I was really inspired by that. I started getting into jazz around age 10. My goal is to become a real professional musician one day and travel around the world.”
Thomas has studied music at several jazz schools, including at the Collective School of Music in New York City, Lagond Music School in Westchester, the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, and at Southern Connecticut State University. He has played at numerous venues across southern and western Connecticut, including Café Nine, Christopher Martin’s restaurant, the Elm City Market, the Owl Shop, and Amoy’s Restaurant. He plays frequently with George Baker, a jazz and blues guitarist who is somewhat of an institution in New Haven. Thomas also plays once a month during the lunch hour at Chapel Haven’s café, at the suggestion of Chapel Haven President Michael Storz!
“I have been blown away by Thomas and his talent,” Storz said. “He has played at our family weekend brunch, at our groundbreaking and ribbon cuttings and at the Business After Hours we hosted with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The feedback we get is phenomenal. Thomas has a very bright future ahead.”
When he’s not busy with his music, Thomas works part-time at Ernie’s Pizzeria and pursues his hobbies, including shore fishing on Long Island Sound and freshwater fishing at various lakes in Connecticut. His favorite is Lake Saltonstall in Branford.
All of the songs on his new album will soon be available on Spotify and other streaming services soon.
Thomas can be reached at Thomasice0@aol.com