At Home Everywhere and Nowhere, Thollem Fuels Creativity with Endless Travel -Andrew Gilbert, KQED

“I think it’s crucial for artists to travel, for artists, for communities and for the health of the world.”  Foxy Digitalis interview

“The soul is what propels us, and the intellect helps steer.” – JazzBluesNews

“Still informed by his anarchist roots and living an itinerant lifestyle after all these years, Thollem’s music is a testament to his restless and prolific creative drive, as well as Art’s ability to bridge and build diverse communities.” Live Eye TV interview

“For me, in collaborating with other people, whether they’re musicians or artists of other mediums, I learn a lot about my own process. It’s all informing me, all the time.” Gary Singh, Silicon Alleys interview

“Fearless experimentation…super human handwork.” Brad Cohan, NYC Jazz Record

“The Gowanus Session is a sound sculpture. It seems purposefully unlistenable…and I keep listening to it.” Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times

Thollem Brings a Punk Rock Work Ethic to Experimental Piano Music – Brad Cohan, Bandcamp

Louder Than War: The Hand To Man Band Supergroup – Interview with Guy Manchester

“Thollem’s improvisational and compositional wizardry has many dimensions. He’s extended his creative reach into myriad styles from avant-garde jazz and classical to blues and rock. He’s also a road warrior, perpetually on tour.” Brad Cohan, JazzTimes

Thollem is naturally interested in fusing polarities. Gary Singh, Metro: Silicon Alleys

“These two totally disparate entries into Thollem’s catalog are great reminders of his fluidity as an artist… the Andy Kaufman record (Always Put On Your Sincere Face) was an indulgence in a remarkable inspiration. And Machine in the Ghost reminds us again of Thollem’s roots in social activism. Acclimating yourself to such an extended discography is worth the payoff if you fit pieces like these two albums into the puzzle of Thollem.” Ryan Masteller, Critical Masses

“Perpetual travel enlightens both the traveler as well as those with whom they come into contact. I believe that traveling musicians/artists/creative and free thinkers are necessary as nongovernmental cultural ambassadors, because they represent their communities and countries and fill an important role as artist liaisons in the relations between diverse peoples.” Traveling Man by Gary Singh, Metro News

Thollem McDonas : Medium Messaging – Ryan McDermott, One Final Note

Thollem displays a chameleonic ability
to adapt to suit whatever musical context presents itself…
There is more than one way to access the infinite.
Daniel Spicer, ​The Wire

As an improvising composer and keyboardist, Thollem exists apart from every other musician, ignoring accepted conventions of how music is made by setting up his own. Further, Thollem thrives on spontaneity and he has the wherewithal to leverage technology to accomplish his aims in that way. 
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

Civic duty and the Nation’s health, particularly the state of Democracy, take center stage. Thollem’s music, a seamless mix of the blues, jazz, protest music, punk rock, and now pop, has always been animated by this fundamental concern.
Iggy Pop, LiveEye TV about Hot Pursuit of Happiness songs

Thollem is simply one of the great improvisers of today.
The Detroiter

Overflowing and irrepressible exuberance.
All About Jazz Italy

Slyly sublime and beautifully brutal.
August March, Albuquerque Alibi

Thollem has that rare gift of soulful equilibrium, which he alternates
with digital dexterities that have few equals on the current scene.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

In my mind, a virtuoso is someone who makes his or her instrument more than what it is, someone who blows past its constraints, finding endless worlds of possibility where others find limitations.
By that definition, Thollem is most certainly a virtuoso.

J. Lawrence, Free Times: Columbia News and Arts

Thollem’s solo piano set touched on virtually every genre of music. Dressed in a t-shirt, cargo pants, and old work boots, McDonas didn’t have the disposition or attitude of a music virtuoso. He looked more like a skilled laborer. But he constructed a set of improvised music that had all the creativity and energy of Thelonious Monk and Igor Stravinsky playing at a neighborhood jam session.
I DIG JAZZ – Charles L. Latimer’s Jazz Journal

His sound ecosystem is wet, like a rain forest dripping with life and death: shadowed in darkness but nourished by hot sunlight, teeming with crouching  predators and bright birds exploding from the trees, their raucous bellows resonating and echoing through hollow canyons and caverns.
Tom Djll, Signal To Noise

Improvisational genius.
Ben Crandell, Miami Sun Sentinel

Thollem is half pianist, half hurricane.
Steve Holje, Culture Catch

…a relentless zigzag of rhythms, densities, and moods that range from kinetic, tightly wound flurries to calm, meditative queries.
Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

A fresh, disciplined avant-pianist with an attractively extreme viewpoint.
Greg Burk – LA Weekly

Thollem might be a musician, or he might be some kind of wizard scientist … the experience might melt your mind.
The Denver Westword

His solo piano compositions are a wonder, mastering harmonics to transform 88 keys into texturally staggering ensemble. His motion is kinetic, even as he slows, somehow expressing both patience and restlessness. He’s a magnificent player and a free-music veteran and member of several world-class groups, but his talent is most awing when it’s just him and a piano.
Detroit Metro Times

Rapturous solo piano work which transgresses genre boundaries as much as it transcends them.
Dave Wayne, All About Jazz NY

Thollem has managed to be fabulously prolific and simultaneously fly below the radar. Perhaps that’s because he’s so hard to pin down. Each new project seems to offer a different perspective from the last.
NYC Jazz Record

One of the most captivating pianists working today.
Rui Edoardo Paes, (Portugal)

Fearlessly eclectic!
Ernie Paik, Chattanooga Pulse

Prepare yourself accordingly for plenty of fiery playing and some skin-tingling cacophony.
Robert Ham, Portland Mercury

The sound is similar to the way a smell can evoke nostalgia, as though the world of forgotten and neglected things has its own soundtrack.
Harrison Berry, Boise Weekly

The piano playing is to die for! … some of the more creative stuff I’ve ever heard.
Alisa Clancy, KCSM

Seemingly unstoppable, the spontaneous keyboardist constantly travels the world, developing musical collaborations with both experienced veterans and up-and-coming rookies and releasing literally dozens of albums along the way.
Ernie Paik, Chattanooga Pulse

Thollem is a pianist with highly developed technical skills at the piano. His flourishes and runs up and down the keyboard are executed with crystal clarity.
Winthrop Bedford, Jazz Improv Magazine

Thollem is an all-round musician, capable of playing in contexts of extreme music: from rock post-punk to world music, even in academia, from classical-style romantic or impressionistic to contemporary music.
Curva Minore (Italy)

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. With Thollem we are faced with overflowing ​and irrepressible exuberance.
AllAboutJazz (Italy)

Thollem’s playing is not only of a high technical standard, but also very communicative. His music is drenched in many musicaltraditions, and Thollem succeeds in making an original brew of it … jump in this exceptional source of musical energy and enjoy it.
Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly (Holland)

Thollem dives headlong into fascinating unforeseen and bold musical adventures that make him one of the most interesting pianists of the current improvised music genre…the result is the natural consequence of being intrinsically eclectic at heart. His inventiveness is facilitated by his highly developed virtuosity, a tool that allows him to confer on his music an extraordinary flexibility and dynamic variability.
Eduardo Chagas, TomaJazz (Portugal)

Thollem thinks quicker than God, but his pressure-packed melodic constructions don’t leave you in the dust. Thollem does what few can: He combines extreme imagination with terrific post-classical chops and an ability to communicate through melody. A fresh, disciplined avant-pianist with an attractively extreme viewpoint. Unreal linear explosions.
Greg Burk, LA Weekly (US)

… brilliant, bursting pearls in the astonished air. Thollem’s hands were like ten pounding steam-pistons, taking the audience for such an exhilarating ride, leaving us gasping to keep up. A supercollider centrifuge of innumerable disasters, a churning black caldera bespattered with beautiful madness. It seems beyond the capacity of one human being to contain so much densely-packed creative energy…
Tom Djll, Signal To Noise (U.S.)

Among the principal features of the pianist’s style is the ability of overwhelming without letting one feel intimidated. That roaring creature gathers energy and begins to fly. And then, just like that, the silence falls…Thollem has that rare gift of soulful equilibrium, which he alternates with digital dexterities that have few equals on the current scene.
Massimo Ricci, TouchingExtremes (Italy)

©Arturo Di Vita