Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


12/04/16    Albums

Kris Davis

The premise: Take pianist Kris Davis. Pair her up with eight respected players with whom she has never previously recorded. Limit the instrumental categories of Davis’ partners to four: guitarists (Bill Frisell, Julian Lage), drummers (Billy Drummond, Marcus...


11/18/16    Albums

New Spring: Live at the Village Vanguard
Enrico Pieranunzi Quartet

Of Italy’s great piano players, Enrico Pieranunzi is the most transatlantic. Stefano Bollani, Danilo Rea and Giovanni Guidi collaborate mostly with other Europeans. Pieranunzi hires North Americans. His most enduring trio included Marc Johnson and Joey Baron...


11/16/16    Albums

The Constant
Jim Black Trio

The Constant is living proof that the piano trio, “the minimum complete jazz orchestra,” is still a dynamic, vital format. Granted, the band here is not exactly a piano trio. The leader, composer and auteur is the drummer, Jim Black. The bassist and pianist...


11/05/16    Albums

Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau

Back in a previous century, Joshua Redman was the hottest new tenor in town. He had foregone Harvard Law School to play jazz. His third album, MoodSwing , in 1994, had an unknown kid on piano. Then people began to notice that this kid could knock you right...


10/25/16    Albums

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
Seamus Blake/Chris Cheek With Reeds Ramble

Two-tenor frontlines are thin on the ground, but there is a small tradition. Back in the day, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis/Johnny Griffin and Al Cohn/Zoot Sims had good runs. Of the “Top 50 Tenor Sax Albums of All Time” (according to the June 2012 issue of this...


09/25/16    Albums

Presented by the Side Door Jazz Club
Black Art Jazz Collective

In 2016, a jazz group that celebrates its African-American identity comes out of a context different from, say, 1966. Today’s dynamic is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Two tracks on this record are dedicated to a sitting African-American president...


09/24/16    Albums

Early Wayne
Denny Zeitlin

This live solo-piano recital is an ambitious undertaking. The program is 10 Wayne Shorter tunes, most from the early 1960s. Shorter’s compositions, with their motivically assembled melodic structures and proprietary harmonic environments, are famously challenging...


09/23/16    Albums

The Tour – Volume One
Woody Shaw/Louis Hayes

Of the great trumpet innovators, Woody Shaw and Booker Little are the two most in danger of being forgotten. Little’s obscurity can be attributed to his early death at 23. Shaw’s case is more complicated. He died at 44, in 1989, after a difficult life. His...


07/29/16    Albums

New Path 2
Alex Sipiagin

In the 25 years since Alex Sipiagin emigrated to the United States from Russia, he has become an A-list New York trumpet player. As sideman or leader, his work is consistent. He always brings it. On his new album he plays with typical fierce intelligence...


07/27/16    Concerts

Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige Reviewed

Europe’s steepest jazz festival, and one of the boldest


07/21/16    Chops

Richard Corsello, Sonny Rollins' Go-To Engineer

Turning subpar audio into Rollins' triumphant "Road Shows" series


06/28/16    Albums


Rock musicians get that they are entertainers. Too often, jazz musicians don’t. Hiromi gets it. “All the people I respect in music have been aware of producing themselves: Miles Davis. Herbie Hancock. Pat Metheny,” she has said. “They are very focused on...


06/20/16    Albums

Ark Ovrutski Quintet

Intersection is an unusual combination of personalities. Ark Ovrutski, originally from the Ukraine, is a bassist given to dark, heavy, solemn solos. But he likes to surround himself with light-footed Brazilians (pianist Helio Alves, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca...


06/16/16    Albums

Old Locks and Irregular Verbs
Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up

Recent Pulitzer winner Henry Threadgill only makes important records. In the jazz avant-garde, he is both revered elder statesman and active agent provocateur. Old Locks and Irregular Verbs is momentous in at least three aspects. Threadgill, a major multireed...


06/16/16    Albums

Let Loose
Peter Bernstein

Peter Bernstein has built a career in the service of others, especially saxophone players and organists. He was in Sonny Rollins’ best working band of the new millennium, and has been crucial to Lou Donaldson and Dr. Lonnie Smith. On Let Loose he slips seamlessly...


05/29/16    Features

Five Invaluable Recordings by Bill Evans’ Trios

Elegance incarnate

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About Thomas Conrad