"One of the most captivating pianists working today"
- Rui Eduardo Paes, Jazz.pt (Portugal)
"fearless experimentation...super-human handwork"
- Brad Cohan, New York City Jazz Record
"An intense and virtuosic keyboard improviser"
- TimeOut New York
“McDonas is half pianist, half hurricane”
- Steve Holtje, Culture Catch
"The Gowanus Session is a sound sculpture. It seems purposefully unlistenable...and I keep listening to it."
- Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times
"Thollem Electric might be a musician, or he might be some kind of wizard scientist...the experience might melt your mind."
- The Denver Westword
"The kind of fiercely independent artist the world needs more of."
- Ernie Paik, Chattanooga Pulse
"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)
“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.)
“McDonas is known for his rapturous solo piano work which transgresses genre boundaries as much as it transcends them. And while his solo piano oeuvre is remarkable for its stylistic breadth and depth, McDonas has more pure technical ability than most musicians would know what to do with".
Dave Wayne, All About Jazz NY
"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 (U.S.)
"Thollem McDonas 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)
"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)
“The playing of McDonas is not only of a high technical standard, but also very communicative. His music is drenched in many musical traditions, and McDonas succeeds in making an original brew of it. ...jump in this exceptional source of musical energy and enjoy it."
Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly (Holland)
“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 McDonas we are faced with overflowing and irrepressible exuberance."
"Thollem McDonas 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)
"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 McDonas is most certainly a virtuoso.”
- Free Times: Columbia News and Arts, J. Lawrence
McDonas 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
“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
“The piano playing is to die for!...some of the more creative stuff I've ever heard."
- Alisa Clancy, KCSM
"Pianist Thollem McDonas solo piano set touched on virtually every genre of music. Dressed in a t-shirt, cargo slacks, 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."
- Charles L. Latimer's Jazz Journal
“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