Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


05/06/14    Concerts

Festival Review: Jazzkaar in Tallinn, Estonia

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


04/17/14    Albums

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...


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...


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...


03/13/14    Albums

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...


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...


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The German label Jazzhaus claims to be sitting on “possibly the most comprehensive reservoir of unpublished jazz recordings worldwide: more than 3,000 hours of footage.”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...


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...


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...


02/12/14    Concerts

Concert Review: Mark Masters in Palm Desert, California

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


01/11/14    Albums

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...


01/06/14    Features

Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival at 25

Upholding a legacy of creative programming


01/03/14    Albums

Unreleased Art: Vol. VIII: Live at the Winery
Art Pepper

Laurie Pepper is Art Pepper’s widow. Her Unreleased Art series has become a unique ongoing homemade documentary, a sequence of postcards in sound and words and pictures, mailed back to us from a rapidly receding past. It preserves moments from a jazz life...


12/25/13    Albums

39 Steps
John Abercrombie Quartet

When the personnel on a record include John Abercrombie, Marc Copland, Drew Gress and Joey Baron, expectations are high. 39 Steps provides many nice moments when lyricism emerges from the interface of Abercrombie’s guitar and Copland’s piano, like ice crystallizing...


12/09/13    Albums

March Sublime
Alan Ferber

ALAN FERBER MARCH SUBLIME (Sunnyside) Is it wishful thinking, or is a big-band resurgence happening? It’s not like big jazz bands are out there touring the country in buses, but they keep turning up for recording sessions and concerts. Large ensembles led...


11/26/13    Albums

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow

Carla Bley’s reputation as an important composer and arranger is based on her work with larger ensembles. Trios is a glimpse into her aesthetic world stripped to its barest essentials. “Les Trois Lagons (d’après Henri Matisse)” was inspired by three plates...

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About Thomas Conrad


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.