Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions

20150328_-_tomasz_stanko_-_ktg0047_span3

03/31/15    Concerts

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

The Jazz Bakery’s “Movable Feast” rolls on

Chrispotter_imaginarycities_span3

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...

Mattbrewer_mythology_span3

03/06/15    Albums

Mythology
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...

Ben_wolfe_span3

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...

Keithjarrettuse_span3

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...

Tinekepostma_span3

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...

Pilc_span3

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...

Anadagair_span3

01/21/15    Albums

T-Duality
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...

Thomasmarriott_span3

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...

22_brian_lynch_emmettcohen_span3

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...

Charleslloyd_manhattanstories_span3

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...

Davidvirelles_mboko_span3

12/09/14    Albums

Mboko
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...

Congas_foropener_span3

12/08/14    Features

Drummers & Percussionists: What Makes Their Unions Work?

Rhythm squared

Erniewattsquartet_asimpletruth_span3

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...

Miguelzenon_identitiesarechangeable_span3

11/22/14    Albums

Identities Are Changeable
Miguel Zenon

Alto saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón is one of the most decorated jazz musicians of his generation, as measured by Grammy nominations, poll placements and MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships. He is important as a conceptualist. His eight recordings...

Alannechushtan_span3

10/01/14    Albums

Venture Bound
Alon Nechushtan

The single most salient fact about current jazz is its ongoing globalization. Jazz is an open-ended, self-renewing art form that draws strength from sources far outside itself. Example: Venture Bound . It is hardcore, up-to-the-minute small-ensemble jazz...

  • Email E-mail
  • Share Share
  • Rss RSS
  • Report Report

About Thomas Conrad

Thomasconrad_thumb

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.