Thomas Conrad

Thomas’s Contributions


09/25/16    Albums

Presented by the Side Door Jazz Club
Black Art Jazz Collective

In 2016, a jazz group that celebrates its African-American identity comes out of a context different from, say, 1966. Today’s dynamic is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Two tracks on this record are dedicated to a sitting African-American president...


09/24/16    Albums

Early Wayne
Denny Zeitlin

This live solo-piano recital is an ambitious undertaking. The program is 10 Wayne Shorter tunes, most from the early 1960s. Shorter’s compositions, with their motivically assembled melodic structures and proprietary harmonic environments, are famously challenging...


09/23/16    Albums

The Tour – Volume One
Woody Shaw/Louis Hayes

Of the great trumpet innovators, Woody Shaw and Booker Little are the two most in danger of being forgotten. Little’s obscurity can be attributed to his early death at 23. Shaw’s case is more complicated. He died at 44, in 1989, after a difficult life. His...


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...

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About Thomas Conrad