PRESS

Concert Reviews:

The Province story
‘Linda Lee Thomas is the principal pianist for the Grammy Award-winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and a passionate tango enthusiast.

When not performing with the VSO, Thomas plays in her own tango trio, Tangissimo. The Province catches up with the pianist on her life, music and of course, Sundays.

What do you usually do on Sundays?’

“It was explosive playing. Dancers could almost be visualized on the stage. As partners in the music, Binelli and Thomas were the most step-sure partners imaginable.”
Lloyd Dykk, The Vancouver Sun

“Thomas is Vancouver�s Tango Diva”
CBC RADIO

“In Thomas� hands,Piazzolla�s Invierno Porteno became a melancholy and pungent rhapsody of such beauty that it drew an out-burst of sobs and tears from a young woman seated next to me. She will never forget it, nor will I.”
E Douglas Hughes, Georgia Straight

“She got not just applause but shouts for her solo , Nelly. It was soulful, incendiary playing – absolute tango.”
Lloyd Dykk, The Vancouver Sun

CD Reviews:

BLOOD LITERALLY SPILLED IN CAPTURING THE SOUL OF THE TANGO

TANGO MAGIC
LINDA LEE THOMAS, PIANO
ALDRICO RECORDS 1588
*****
Lloyd Dykk, Vancouver Sun
November 5, 2008
Recently, while being filmed for a tango project, Vancouver pianist, Linda Lee Thomas had to repeat, in order to get the right camera shot, about 100 glissandos, in which a finger sweeps across the keys. Not surprisingly, her cuticle eventually ruptured, resulting in blood everywhere, which she dabbed with Kleenex tissues.

One tissue recorded a perfectly-shaped miniature blood-red heart. Thomas was so astonished that she kept that tissue and even mounted it in a tiny frame. You can see it, as photographed by her son Michael, in the CD booklet. The heart sits on the piano keys in the background with a magnification of the split between two of them that makes it looks like a chasm. That heart is the perfect symbol for this record. Blood has been spilled for it and not in vain. The key-chasm represents also the miracle that a pianist from Canada could so perfectly capture the soul of tango.

Thomas is thought of highly in Buenos Aires, most of which is still sexist enough to disapprove of women who make a profession out of playing its native music, the tango. This music is its chief glory and Thomas plays it superbly. You drift off listening to the panache, elegance and urgency she brings to each of the 18 tracks which have been put into a wonderfully constructed program of tango classics old and nuevo, many of them arranged by Thomas herself. To hear Genaro Esposito’s NELLY, Astor Piazzolla’s TARDECITA PAMPEANA or Jacob Gade’s JALOUSIE
(a clinker under most other hands) is never to forget them.

Thomas dedicates the album to Julio Alvarez Vieyra, a significant agent in the rebirth of tango who died recently of cancer. She got to know him and there’s love in every note.

THE VANCOUVER SUN, TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2007

CHASING THE TANGO HIGH
Tangissimo
Aldrico Records
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Many musicians would kill to tango and many � even the great ones � do little more than clunk around on two left feet. Or, to stick to the metaphor, they do exhibitionistic ballroom dancing, which is a world away from true tango. The most sublime and subtlest of dances doesn�t reveal its sectrets to just anybody with it�s little thefts of time and, for lack of a more concrete word, duende, or soul. You don�t learn � you either have it or you don�t.

As many know, Vancouver has a superb tango trio known as Tangissimo: pianist Linda Lee Thomas, guitarist Edward Henderson and bassist Miles Foxx Hill. Exactly a year ago, Infinity Films had the inspiriation to send them to Buenos Aires for footage of them interacting with some of the city�s legendary tango heroes. What came of it was a wonderful film and now, this gem of a recording, every track perfection as engineered by Hill, the bassist.

Thomas, after many trips to Buenos Aires to play the piano and to experience the palatial but seedy tango bars, has herself become something of a hero among the greats there who, on this recording, include violinist Fernando Su�rez Paz, bandon�onist N�stor Marconi and saxophonist Arturo Schneider.

The tango isn�t just about drawing perfect sounds from an instrument. Few classical violinists, for example, would dare to extract a �speaking� quality such as Paz does so tellingly in Oto�o Porte�o and Tango del Angel. You haven�t quite lived until you�ve heard Schneider�s wailing saxophone in the heart-breaking Astor Piazzolla classic, A�os de Soledad.
Everything on this disc is the last word in tango. If it doesn�t win a Juno, give up on awards.
Lloyd Dykk, Vancouver Sun

“A superb album of sensitive and passionate music-making. Here�s hoping it�s the first of many collaborations between them.”
Tony Montague, Georgia Straight

“There�s an explosively jazz-like element of freedom and improvisation in the duo�s approach. They are the real thing.”
Lloyd Dykk, The Vancouver Sun

Headlines :

BACH, BRAHMS and … TANGO
Listeners may have been unaware of her passion for tango,however, unless they caught her shows last April with Argentine bandoneonist Daniel Binelli. There, it was impossible not to see just how wrapped up in the South American art form she has become. As she moved with Binelli, the emotions playing across Thomas’ face seemed not just to convey her understanding of the music but to be part of a conversation she was having with it – and a private one at that.
John Masters Vancouver Sun

TANGO�S SEDUCTION IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST
As a classical pianist par excellence, as a chamber and symphony musician heard in the great repertory of Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann and Shostakovich, Linda Lee Thomas is well known to Vancouver. But her passion for another style, Argentine Tango, almost equals the sum of the others. She plays tango, has one of the biggest collections of tango in the city, wears tango black and red, has learned to dance tango and lives tango.
�It�s not just a phase,� she says in her kitchen as the amazing sound of the 80-something tango violinist Antonio Agri drifts in from the living room CD player. �I can�t imagine my life without it. It�s such a big part of who I am and what I do.�
Lloyd Dykk Vancouver Sun