Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


07/29/16    Albums

New Path 2
Alex Sipiagin

In the 25 years since Alex Sipiagin emigrated to the United States from Russia, he has become an A-list New York trumpet player. As sideman or leader, his work is consistent. He always brings it. On his new album he plays with typical fierce intelligence...


07/27/16    Concerts

Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige Reviewed

Europe’s steepest jazz festival, and one of the boldest


07/21/16    Chops

Richard Corsello, Sonny Rollins' Go-To Engineer

Turning subpar audio into Rollins' triumphant "Road Shows" series


06/28/16    Albums


Rock musicians get that they are entertainers. Too often, jazz musicians don’t. Hiromi gets it. “All the people I respect in music have been aware of producing themselves: Miles Davis. Herbie Hancock. Pat Metheny,” she has said. “They are very focused on...


06/20/16    Albums

Ark Ovrutski Quintet

Intersection is an unusual combination of personalities. Ark Ovrutski, originally from the Ukraine, is a bassist given to dark, heavy, solemn solos. But he likes to surround himself with light-footed Brazilians (pianist Helio Alves, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca...


06/16/16    Albums

Old Locks and Irregular Verbs
Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up

Recent Pulitzer winner Henry Threadgill only makes important records. In the jazz avant-garde, he is both revered elder statesman and active agent provocateur. Old Locks and Irregular Verbs is momentous in at least three aspects. Threadgill, a major multireed...


06/16/16    Albums

Let Loose
Peter Bernstein

Peter Bernstein has built a career in the service of others, especially saxophone players and organists. He was in Sonny Rollins’ best working band of the new millennium, and has been crucial to Lou Donaldson and Dr. Lonnie Smith. On Let Loose he slips seamlessly...


05/29/16    Features

Five Invaluable Recordings by Bill Evans’ Trios

Elegance incarnate


05/19/16    Albums

Todd Coolman & Trifecta

Since piano trios are almost always led by pianists, it is reasonable to ask, “What is different about a piano trio led by the bassist?” Collectables is a textbook answer. Not that Todd Coolman is an overbearing presence here. He does not give himself an...


05/13/16    Albums

Gregoire Maret

Given all the first-rate musicians here, Wanted is a major disappointment. Grégoire Maret hit with a splash a decade ago, because of his talent but also because of his vehicle. He plays the chromatic harmonica, an instrument rare in jazz, whose haunting...


05/12/16    Albums

Power of 10

NYSQ is for New York Standards Quartet; the 10 is for their duration as a band, in years. Perhaps they like the acronym because, as drummer Gene Jackson says in his liner notes, the Modern Jazz Quartet is one of the band’s models. MJQ is a paradigm, not...


05/11/16    Albums

Jon Balke

Jon Balke is probably best known for his Magnetic North Orchestra, a project dedicated to exploring (or erasing) the boundaries between form and freedom in large-ensemble jazz. Warp is a solo piano record that continues Balke’s interest in extending formats...


05/05/16    Albums

Ballads and Standards
Marc Mommaas/Nikolaj Hess

Marc Mommaas belongs to a special society of tenor saxophone players who are revered by other tenor players but not famous. (Rich Perry and Adam Kolker are also members.) Mommaas is probably best known for his work with pianist Amina Figarova, where his...


03/30/16    Albums

The Bell
Ches Smith

Perhaps the principal difference between the jazz audience and followers of popular music is that the latter crave the reassurance of the familiar and the former are junkies for the new. Even for the most esoteric jazz listeners, The Bell will meet the need...


03/22/16    Albums

Enrico Pieranunzi

Like the other great piano players of our time, Enrico Pieranunzi mostly performs and records in trio and solo formats. Tales From the Unexpected comes from a concert in Gütersloh, Germany, in 2015, and is a valuable addition to his large, rich trio discography...


03/13/16    Features

Francesco Cafiso: New Sax, New Sound, New Song

A tradition-focused former prodigy reinvents himself

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About Thomas Conrad