Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


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...


08/08/15    Albums

Love is a Pendulum
Joe Locke

Joe Locke is on the short list of important vibraphone players post-Milt Jackson. Love Is a Pendulum is his most ambitious undertaking to date. Its nine new original compositions include a suite in five movements, based on a poem by Barbara Sfraga. The emphasis...


08/04/15    Albums

Blues for Tahrir
Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra

In 2011, people around the world became transfixed by the events in Tahrir Square in Cairo. The cover of this album by bass clarinetist Todd Marcus depicts a young protester triumphantly waving an Egyptian flag. He, along with thousands of others in the...


08/01/15    Albums

Now This
Gary Peacock Trio

For 32 years, Gary Peacock has been the bassist in one of the great piano trios in the history of jazz. You might think that on the infrequent occasions when he leads his own projects, he would choose another format. Think again. With Keith Jarrett, Peacock...

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About Thomas Conrad