Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


12/17/15    Albums

For Once in My Life
Ben Paterson

The jazz audience contains people, present company not necessarily excepted, who are resistant to the charms of the Hammond B-3. They find it a somewhat vulgar instrument, with unpleasant, artificial sonorities. They all need to meet Ben Paterson. He may...


11/30/15    Albums

Ben Monder

Ben Monder’s ECM debut as a leader was produced by Sun Chung, not Manfred Eicher. But from the opening solo guitar track, “Tendrils,” it is clear that Amorphae is entirely consistent with the ECM aesthetic. Few other labels trust their artists to work within...


11/29/15    Albums

Yelena Eckemoff Quartet

Yelena Eckemoff has a story and a discography unique in jazz. She was classically trained during her childhood in Moscow, emigrated to the United States in 1991 and began making jazz records in 2010. She uses the best studios, the best engineers and the...


11/27/15    Albums

Live in Cuba
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Live in Cuba arrives as a “big” record. Wynton Marsalis is a celebrity even outside the jazz community. The band is the repertory orchestra of a unique and powerful jazz institution. The album is the debut release of the Blue Engine label, intended as a...


11/27/15    Albums

Romero Lubambo

“Virtuoso” is a term used too loosely in jazz criticism, but it absolutely applies to Romero Lubambo. In his hands a guitar becomes an orchestra. He is one of a group of Brazilian musicians who emigrated to the United States long enough ago—30 years in Lubambo’s...


11/18/15    Concerts

Review: Two Serbian Jazz Festivals: Belgrade and Pančevo

No bebop in the Balkans


11/12/15    Albums

With Songs of Joy
Gregory Tardy

Gregory Tardy is an A-list sideman, accomplished on many reed instruments. On his own With Songs of Joy , he plays tenor saxophone exclusively. It is, loosely, a concept album. In the liner notes Tardy says it grew out of a “discouraging season” in his life...


11/02/15    Albums

Like It Is
John Fedchock New York Big Band

Two of the leading figures in orchestral jazz have released new albums in 2015, Maria Schneider ( The Thompson Fields ) and now John Fedchock. For both, it is their first large-format jazz recording in eight years. The economics of big-band jazz are forbidding...


10/28/15    Albums

Wild Dance
Enrico Rava Quartet with Gianluca Petrella

At 75, trumpeter Enrico Rava, Italy’s most famous jazz musician, has a new band. Over the years, Rava ensembles have introduced young Italian musicians who have gone on to important careers, like trombonist Gianluca Petrella and pianists Stefano Bollani...


10/22/15    Albums

An Evening With Joe Albany 2
Joe Albany

It has been a good year for jazz films: Whiplash. Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story. Low Down , a gritty biopic about Joe Albany. The best way to experience Low Down and An Evening With Joe Albany 2 is back-to-back. The film contains Albany’s original...


10/20/15    Albums

Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland
The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble

There is a coterie of devoted people working to make sure Gary McFarland is not forgotten. It includes family, friends, musicians, colleagues and film director Kristian St. Clair, whose documentary This Is Gary McFarland became available for purchase late...


10/03/15    Albums

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch made his first solo piano recording in 1993. It was Volume 31 in Concord’s Maybeck Recital Hall Series , which eventually reached 42 titles. Today, when solo jazz piano lacks this level of support, Hersch perseveres, a keeper of the flame. He...


09/22/15    Albums

Family First
Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet

Recent generations of drummers have reshaped the role of percussion in the small jazz ensemble. They include people like Mark Guiliana, Antonio Sanchez, Dave King, Eric Harland and Justin Brown. These drummers share scary chops, outright aggression and musicianship...


08/29/15    Albums

Forced Displacement
Samuel Torres Group

Modern history is littered with the casualties of man’s inhumanity to man. Percussionist Samuel Torres was born in Colombia. Forced Displacement is a 10-part suite dedicated to “the victims of violence in Colombia caused by the ongoing conflict between guerrillas...


08/21/15    Albums

Old Friends and New Friends
David Berkman

David Berkman should be more famous. In a jazz world where everyone wants to be a composer, Berkman was born one. He is a natural. The nine tunes here are new, but like all good songs, they sound like they have always been there. “Tribute,” for Tom Harrell...


08/21/15    Albums

Over and Out
Dmitry Baevsky

There are now more important jazz musicians who hail from outside the continental U.S. than ever before. Take alto saxophone players. Two of the best, Francesco Cafiso and Miguel Zenón, are from Italy and Puerto Rico. Tineke Postma and Mattia Cigalini, from...

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About Thomas Conrad