Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions

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05/26/14    Albums

JG3+3
Jared Gold

Since Jimmy Smith emerged in the ’50s, the organ has been the most overtly erotic jazz instrument. Nothing can get people shaking their asses like a Hammond B-3. Jared Gold understands this cultural history. He teases out Cannonball Adderley’s “Sermonette”...

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05/11/14    Albums

Togetherness
Jimmy Heath Big Band

This album comes from two nights in 2011 at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, on the occasion of Jimmy Heath’s 85th birthday. There is nothing groundbreaking here. The eight tunes (four by Heath) and the charts (all by Heath) are dead center in the modern...

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05/10/14    Albums

Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith
Craig Handy

Craig Handy is one of the strongest saxophone sidemen in jazz. He waited until he had a good reason to make his first record as a leader in 14 years. The idea is this: Get an organ combo together; revisit 10 numbers from the Jimmy Smith songbook; invite...

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05/08/14    Albums

It Takes All Kinds
Jon Irabagon

Jon Irabagon’s previous recordings as a leader ( Foxy , Unhinged ) and his sideman work (Mary Halvorson, Dave Douglas, Mostly Other People Do the Killing) have started a buzz. No other current saxophonist encompasses his mix of explosive energy, stylistic...

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05/06/14    Concerts

Festival Review: Jazzkaar in Tallinn, Estonia

An out-of-the-way jazz festival turns 25 with style

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04/17/14    Albums

Rhizome
Fabian Almazan

Rhizome is too diverse to be called a concept album. But it is a single arc, a deep personal reflection on our present moment. A rhizome is a giant plant system in which individual plants above ground share a single subterranean stem. For Fabian Almazan...

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04/11/14    Albums

Concerts Bregenz/München
Keith Jarrett

This three-CD box contains two Keith Jarrett solo concerts from 1981. The performance in Bregenz, Austria, has been previously reissued on CD. The concert in Munich, Germany, appears here on CD for the first time. Bregenz/München belongs with Jarrett’s other...

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03/22/14    Albums

Anthem for a New Day
Helen Sung

You could put together a line item description of this album that would fit a significant percentage of current jazz releases. Band: ad hoc. Tunes: mostly originals, a few standards. Genre: new-millennium mainstream. Bases: covered (Monk, Afro-Latin, ballads...

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03/13/14    Albums

Mutations
Vijay Iyer

This album arrives with high expectations. Vijay Iyer is among the most decorated jazz musicians of his generation. He wins jazz polls, professorships, prizes and MacArthur Fellowships. Mutations is his debut on ECM, a label known for bringing forth new...

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03/12/14    Albums

Paris 1969
Thelonious Monk

This odd, frayed, faded document, newly unearthed, may make you cry, sometimes from heartbreak, sometimes from joy. Thelonious Monk was only 52 in 1969, and had another 12 years to live. But in terms of his artistic life, he was near the end. At the Salle...

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03/08/14    Albums

Lost Tapes: Germany 1956-1958
Modern Jazz Quartet

The German label Jazzhaus claims to be sitting on “possibly the most comprehensive reservoir of unpublished jazz recordings worldwide: more than 3,000 hours of footage.” In 2012 they began releasing their stash. They are now at 13 titles and counting. So...

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02/21/14    Albums

December Song
Jakob Bro

December Song is the final installment of a remarkable trilogy that began with Balladeering in 2009 and continued with Time in 2011. Jakob Bro is a visionary Danish guitarist with unerring taste in sidemen. For all three albums he chose Lee Konitz and Bill...

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02/15/14    Albums

Melodic Warrior
Terje Rypdal

Terje Rypdal’s ambitious album contains the 45-minute “Melodic Warrior” and the 27-minute “And the Sky Was Coloured With Waterfalls and Angels.” The first, recorded in 2003, is a collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble and the Bruckner Orchester Linz of...

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02/12/14    Concerts

Concert Review: Mark Masters in Palm Desert, California

What’s better than 80º in February and Antonio Carlos Jobim?

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01/11/14    Albums

Generations
Shauli Einav

The New York-Israel connection has become one of the most productive in jazz. Shauli Einav is less edgy and less ethnic than most of his compatriots. His tenor saxophone concept is deep in the modern mainstream. Pianist Don Friedman and drummer Eliot Zigmund...

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01/06/14    Features

Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival at 25

Upholding a legacy of creative programming

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About Thomas Conrad

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His day gig notwithstanding (Senior Vice President/COO of Magnolia Hi-Fi, a subsidiary of Best Buy), Thomas Conrad was an active jazz journalist for 20 years, as liner note author, columnist for CD Review, and regular contributor to Downbeat. Beginning in 2005, after foreswearing day gigs forever, he became more prolific. His work currently appears in Stereophile (where he is a Contributing Music Editor), JazzTimes (where he writes the “Eight-Eights” column on piano recordings), and All About Jazz—New York. He travels frequently to international destinations and much of his writing in recent years has dealt with jazz originating outside the borders of the United States. Another recurrent preoccupation in his work has been the audiophile world as it pertains to jazz. Conrad divides his time between Seattle, Washington and Palm Springs, California.