Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


04/17/15    Albums

Marshall Gilkes/WDR Big Band

The word has reached the street: Marshall Gilkes is a trombone badass, an original thinker with chops of doom. He has made three impressive albums as a leader and lit up ensembles as different as the trio of Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and the orchestra...


04/13/15    Features

Jean-Michel Pilc: Self-Taught, Still Learning

How one tune led to constant discovery


03/31/15    Concerts

Tomasz Stanko’s New York Quartet in Culver City, California

The Jazz Bakery’s “Movable Feast” rolls on


03/19/15    Albums

Imaginary Cities
Chris Potter Underground Orchestra

Some of Chris Potter’s best recordings are by the group he calls Underground, with Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes, Adam Rogers on guitar and Nate Smith on drums. His new album introduces an expanded version of the Underground quartet. It adds Steve Nelson...


03/06/15    Albums

Matt Brewer

Matt Brewer’s recording debut as a leader is an underground all-star project. Underground because the players here are critics’ favorites but not exactly festival draws; all-star because they are heavy hitters on the frontier of the jazz art form. They are...


03/04/15    Albums

The Whisperer
Ben Wolfe

Perhaps bass players so often make good leaders because they are accustomed to serving the music. Even monsters like Mingus, Dave Holland and Christian McBride have been more interested in calling attention to the ensemble than to themselves. Ben Wolfe rarely...


03/01/15    Albums

Hamburg '72
Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian

Reissues and previously unreleased “vault” recordings are crucial to the jazz record industry. Since the start of the compact disc era in 1983, both have abounded. The steady stream of important previously unreleased old recordings has necessitated a new...


02/28/15    Albums

Sonic Halo
Tineke Postma/Greg Osby

Everyone who reads this magazine has friends who hate jazz. To them it sounds discordant, cacophonous, nervous and willfully abstract. Don’t play them this record. Not that it will sound that way to experienced, committed jazz listeners. They will hear the...


02/16/15    Albums

What Is This Thing Called?
Jean-Michel Pilc

In the vast archives of solo jazz piano recordings, this one has few precedents. Its 68 minutes contain 31 tracks, many under a minute, most under two. With one exception, all are completely improvised. The album is a challenging listening experience. By...


01/21/15    Albums

Ananda Gari

Since the 1980s, alto saxophonist Tim Berne has been a primary operator in that fertile jazz zone where “in” crosses over into “out.” His discography as a leader is wide and deep, including two acclaimed recent releases on the ECM label. T-Duality is interesting...


01/17/15    Albums

Urban Folklore
Thomas Marriott

Thomas Marriott would be better known if he had stayed in New York, where he was a respected trumpet player on the scene in the early years of the new millennium. Instead, for quality-of-life reasons, he returned to his hometown of Seattle, where he has...


01/10/15    Albums

Questioned Answer
Brian Lynch and Emmet Cohen

Brian Lynch met Emmet Cohen in 2011 when he began teaching at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, where Cohen was an undergraduate. Three tracks on this album, all standards, are trumpet/piano duos. Six tracks, all originals, add Boris...


12/14/14    Albums

Manhattan Stories
Charles Lloyd

The claims that producers make for their own projects cannot always be taken straight to the bank, but Zev Feldman’s remark about Manhattan Stories is provocative: “This just might be the holy grail for longtime Charles Lloyd fans like myself who think they’ve...


12/09/14    Albums

David Virelles

Among young jazz pianists with exceptional technical facility, David Virelles is atypical in his willingness to make chops subservient to an esoteric cause and a minimalist concept. The subtitle of Mbókò is “Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses, Drum Set and...


12/08/14    Features

Drummers & Percussionists: What Makes Their Unions Work?

Rhythm squared


12/01/14    Albums

A Simple Truth
Ernie Watts Quartet

Ernie Watts is one of the strongest tenor saxophone sidemen in jazz. He has enhanced ensembles large (Gerald Wilson Orchestra), small (Charlie Haden’s Quartet West) and rude (the Rolling Stones). He has also made some fine albums as a leader, like 1995’s...

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About Thomas Conrad