Thollem McDonas: Gone Beyond Reason to Find One

The pianist from San Francisco gave yet another demonstration of his irrepressible energy and creativity, overwhelming (as we know from before) the barriers between musical categories and between composition and improvisation. His performances are of instantaneous composition, combining extemporaneous improvisation to create a sense of structure and consistency.

With McDonas we are faced with overflowing and irrepressible exuberance. His imagination is overwhelming and unstoppable as a flood, as powerful as the fast current, often as a red-hot lava. A continuous flow, often turbulent, sometimes stops in temporary pools of calm, the mood sweeter or absorbed. - From AllAboutJazz, Italy - December, 2009

Thollem's keyboard flights unleash cascades of notes of seemingly impossible velocity and no matter where he goes tonally, it always seems right, fresh and satisfying. He should be on everyone's listening list who appreciates great piano music. As an improviser, he inhabits a world uniquely his own, rhythmically, harmonically and formally. A true original. -Terry Riley

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