Adam Theis

Real Name:
Adam Theis
American trombonist, trumpet, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, percussionist, vocalist. Producer, bandleader and composer based in Oakland, CA .Adam has been an active member of the Bay Area music scene for the past 25 years. In 2000 Theis co-founded Jazz Mafia, an eclectic artist-collective of some of the most forward-thinking and accomplished players in the fields of Electro, Hip-Hop, World, Classical and of course, Jazz. As Jazz Mafia’s director, Adam has assembled over 100 different live projects over the past 16 years and led/co-led dozens of acclaimed bands including: The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Live/Hip-Hop Crossover), Realistic Orchestra (futuristic Big Band), Western Territory Project (Classical/Jazz Crossover), Subharmonic (electro/jazz), Brass Mafia (Brass Band) and the 50 piece Jazz Mafia Symphony.

Theis and the Jazz Mafia are among other things, the go-to call for headliner talent looking for Horn sections in the Bay Area and have backed hundreds of top-level touring artists live and on recording, including:
Carlos Santana, Bobby McFerrin, Roy Ayers, Booker T. Jones, Mickey Hart, Spearhead, Zigaboo Modeliste, Lyrics Born, Blackalicious, Zap Mama, Eric Lindell, Dead Winter Carpenters, KRS One, Chali2na, Liz Phair, Wax Tailor, Noel Gallhager, Big Freedia, The New Master Sounds, Peter Rowan, Ok Go, Rupa & The April Fishes, Coultrain, J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science, Spencer Day, The Velvet Teen, Mykah 9, Lateef the Truth Speaker to name a few.

Adam has been contributing co-writing and production to many recording projects in recent years including albums by: Lyrics Born, Ledesi, Latyrx and Galactic. In February of 2016 Theis launched the opening of his recording studio by releasing “30 new tracks in 30 Days” featuring new music from dozens of Jazz Mafia projects, all released for Free.

In 2008 Adam’s life took a whole new direction when he was awarded the prestigious Gerbode-Hewlett Foundation’s “Emerging Composer” Grant. With this commission, Adam composed a one hour-long suite of new music entitled “Brass, Bows & Beats” featuring a 50 piece orchestra and 7 vocalists, including Lyrics Born. The premier event was a smashing success, selling out the Palace of Fine Arts in SF in April of 2009. The project’s widespread buzz and critically acclaimed success led to many major festival offers around North America, so an ambitious grass-roots fundraising campaign was started that eventually led to the 50 piece group performing at Newport, Playboy, Montreal, San Jose and Monterey Jazz Festivals as well as Stern Grove in SF, Grand Performances in LA and Summer Stage in Central Park, NY. In 2011 Adam and the core-composers from the Jazz Mafia collaboratively wrote the music and premiered the “Emperor Norton Suite” which was also a part of these festival performances.

In 2012 Adam founded yet another offshoot of his love for creative orchestral works, The Treat Social Club, which has been one of the most talked-about underground music events in San Francisco. An intensely collaborative live performance series joining together top-notch dancers, aerialists, acrobats, circus-arts, live film scores, and all kinds of visual media all backed by new pieces created by Realistic Orchestra for each show.

As an educator Adam has always been involved with various programs spreading his knowledge and passion for improvisation and Jazz especially. Currently Adam is the director of the SFJAZZ Monday Night Band as well as the Truckee Jazz Camp (now in it’s 11th year) and has brought education programs to Stern Grove and Harlem School for the Arts. Adam has been a featured artist in residence at many universities including Dartmouth, Cal Poly, University of the Pacific/Brubeck Institute, Hayward State, Los Medanos College and SF State.

“Brass, Bows & Beats is a work on par with Miles Davis & Gil Evans’ Live at Carnegie Hall or Charles Mingus’ Epitaph visionary in scope, staggering in depth.”
Gabe Meline,, 2009

“My thoughts after seeing a 50-piece big band freely
blend symphonic arrangements with hip-hop? It's about time.”
Eric Arnold, All Shook Down SFWeekly, 2009

“Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip-Hop Symphony is one of the most exciting new works of American music in years”
Rick Marianetti,, 2009
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