The first musical instrument Thomas learned to play at the age of 6 was the violin, which he studied at the Academy of Music in Graz and the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. By the age of 14 he had switched to guitar and after just one year of being self-taught, was the best guitarist in his hometown. He would amaze his friends by being able to play his guitar behind his head Jimi Hendrix style.
At the age of 16, he formed a band with his older sister and her boyfriend, who played the drums. For about two years their band, Archaeopteryx, played every weekend until his sister and boyfriend went off to university in Vienna. Then it was Thomas’s turn. He earned his diploma as a teacher of mathematics and music, learning classical guitar and piano during his studies. His girlfriend at that time was from Frankfurt and he followed her there straight from university, leaving directly after the degree ceremony – still wearing his academic gown!
From Frankfurt, Herr Reimer traveled to Munich as he had already decided that his preference was for Jazz guitar and Munich had a fantastic jazz club called Unterfahrt. For several years, that Unterfahrt was voted as the best in the world. Whilst playing there, the head of Munich’s Jazz School saw him and engaged him directly as a teacher. So, for 25 years, Thomas taught by day and played jazz gigs at the weekend.
Also at that time, there was a famous nightclub in Munich called Nacht Cafe where many German celebrities, such as Boris Becker, gathered to dance the night away until 4 a.m. One evening, the famous American guitarist, singer, and songwriter George Benson visited the club. Thomas was playing there, so he invited George up on the stage so that they could perform together. Thomas proudly shows off the autograph that he keeps as a memento and a great compliment of that evening.
Another fantastic opportunity came when Thomas was invited to perform on a CD entitled ‘Global Guitar’ alongside such important names as Al Di Meola, Scott Henderson, and Mike Stern.
Thomas has even appeared in the Guinness Book of Records when the band he was playing with played for an hour on an airplane during a round trip Munich to Salzburg on New Year’s Eve. This gave them an entry as a band that had played at the highest altitude!
Life in Munich seemed to be going particularly well, and therefore I asked Thomas how it came to pass that he found himself making a new life in Thailand? Well, it turned out to be another case of “cherchez la femme”, as it was indirectly because of a girlfriend who was a singer from Poland. For a long time, Thomas would think nothing of driving the long international distance every other weekend to be with her, but eventually, the long-distance romance failed and so a broken-hearted Thomas found himself on holiday in Thailand. After an initial week to check it out, a longer holiday followed and soon Thomas was smitten.
In Pattaya, he happened upon the Jazz Pit (then in Soi 4) where he joined in playing his first-class jazz guitar, much to the delight of the then Russian band leader who instantly offered him a job. Thomas left his successful career teaching and performing in Germany as he had already fallen in love with Pattaya and that was some 16 years ago. In fact, the 1st September 2004 was when he started at the Jazz Pit, following it on to its new location at Sun Sabella (at the entrance of the Sugar Hut on Thappraya Road).
If you want to hear Thomas play, pop along to the Jazz Pit any evening (except Tuesdays). He will amaze you with his incredible repertoire of over 1400 songs. Overseas visitors have been amazed to find when they come to visit that he can sing and play in Chinese and Japanese as well as another 8 different languages. He is able to play all 40 of the compositions by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was a true devotee of the genre, and there are in fact pictures of the late King in the Jazz Pit.
Thomas can play jazz classics and the very hardest Be-Bop compositions by the likes of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as pop songs. His extensive catalogue includes titles by the Beatles, Amy Winehouse and up-to-date hits such as “The Shape of you” and “Despacito.” If you go to the Jazz Pit why not ask for your favourite? Thomas may well have it.
During the week it is now possible to eat at the Jazz Pit while you listen to Thomas play (any night but Tuesday). There are light bites and finger food available at the weekend with the fun filled brunch session happening on Sundays from 2-5 pm when guest musicians join Thomas on stage.
To keep up to date with who will be playing like the Facebook pages: Jazz Pit Pub, and Sun Sabella Classical Thai Restaurant.