Much like free-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, who pioneered an unapologetic sound birthed from classical training, San Francisco-based Thollem McDonas manages to perform solo piano in a unique, powerfully creative way. And, like those unappreciated cats who lived in shabby tenements in New York City during the 1960s, McDonas once put himself through self-imposed poverty instead of taking a lucrative teaching gig playing the music of other people. But now, he has found a balance between perpetually broke vagabond musician and jazz puppet master, and lives a more mature, modest lifestyle in order to play music that he labels "post-classical circus punk world jazz free music, for people and everyone else." Sometimes, he even performs this music without being invited to do so — rumor has it that he joined a number of Chicago's best improvisers on stage in Detroit of his own volition. We guess these things happen when one's existence doesn't rely on reinterpreting the music of the masses.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.