Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions

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09/30/13    Albums

Desertico
Paolo Fresu Devil Quartet

Paolo Fresu is a direct descendant of Chet Baker, and one of the most seductive trumpet players in jazz. That he is not better known in the United States shows that, even in the Information Age, the jazz art form remains regionalized. Fresu is a star in...

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09/28/13    Albums

Paul Motian (box set)
Paul Motian

In the second decade of the new millennium, it is not an uncommon occurrence to get up in the morning, turn on your computer and learn of the passing of another significant jazz figure who came up in the ’50s or ’60s. But the death of Paul Motian in 2011...

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09/12/13    Albums

Guided Tour
Gary Burton New Quartet

Guided Tour is the second album by this band. Gary Burton is the preeminent four-mallet vibraphone player in jazz. Julian Lage is an artistically mature, technically immaculate 24-year-old guitarist. He has been making records with Burton since he was 15...

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09/07/13    Albums

The River
Ryan Cohan

The River is composer-arranger Ryan Cohan’s most ambitious and important work to date. It is a suite in 14 movements, inspired by a concert tour in Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Congo. Rhythmically charged tunes like “Call & Response” and “Arrival” convey...

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08/09/13    Albums

Coming Home
Michael Dease

Good new trombone players do not come along as often as, say, good tenor saxophone or trumpet players. Enter Michael Dease. On the very first track, “Solid Gold,” he rockets through a convoluted line like he doesn’t know it’s hard. Then there’s Freddie Hubbard’s...

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08/02/13    Concerts

Umbria, 40 Years On

The jazz festival in Perugia turns 40 with flair

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07/29/13    Albums

Stream of Consciousness
Jim Snidero

Stream of Consciousness is Jim Snidero’s third straight strong quartet record with guitarist Paul Bollenback. When the only chording instrument in a saxophonist’s band is a guitar, musical space opens up and textures take on more air. As Snidero says in...

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07/15/13    Concerts

Keith Jarrett’s Dark Night in Perugia

Bad behavior and arrogance mar what could have been a sweet return

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07/15/13    Albums

Seven Hills
Alexi Tuomarila Trio

Make a note: Alexi Tuomarila is one of the next big deals on jazz piano. He is known mostly for the one album he made with Tomasz Stanko, 2009’s Dark Eyes on ECM. Stanko knows how to choose piano players. The two before Tuomarila were Bobo Stenson and Marcin...

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07/08/13    Albums

Intuition
Jared Gold

Most organ players are interested in the Hammond B3 as a rhythm instrument. They love the way it can power a groove. Jared Gold is different. Perhaps someone forgot to tell him that the B3’s mechanical wheezings and gooey slaverings and grating stridencies...

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07/03/13    Albums

Somewhere
Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette

Of the great piano trios in jazz, only one has stayed together for 30 years (and counting). Most revered trios (Evans/LaFaro/Motian, Peterson/Brown/Ellis) became iconic in retrospect, because they were gone before people fully realized their importance...

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07/01/13    Features

Jon Irabagon, Eclectic Warrior

A remarkably versatile and consistently compelling saxophonist

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07/01/13    Albums

Exploring the Vibe
Reut Regev's R*Time

The way to hear Reut Regev’s band is how I heard them at the Belgrade Jazz Festival in 2010: after midnight, in a smoky room where you couldn’t move for the writhing bodies. But this record captures most of R*time’s ass-kicking energy. Trombonist Regev and...

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06/24/13    Albums

Life In This World
Will Calhoun

This record lacks meaningful musical substance. It also lacks coherence as an album statement. Pianist Marc Cary is a constant, but alto saxophonist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Wallace Roney come and go. Ensemble configurations and genres shift track-to...

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06/18/13    Albums

Magnetic
Terence Blanchard

Magnetic is Terence Blanchard’s return to the Blue Note label after an absence of six years. Its release coincides with the June 2013 premiere in St. Louis of Blanchard’s first opera, Champion . Magnetic is a small-group recording of uncommon richness, complexity...

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06/01/13    Albums

Nicholas Payton
#BAM Live at Bohemian Caverns

Nicholas Payton, now 40, has been on the short list of major trumpet players for half his life. In 2011, he achieved an incremental 15 minutes of fame when he publicly renounced the word “jazz,” proclaimed it “an oppressive colonialist slave term” and embraced...

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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.