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Benjamin Clementine - 'At Least For Now'

Alex Marianyi
Staff Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

It seems everyone wants to tell and talk about Benjamin Clementine's life story. However, no one does so better than Clementine himself on At Least For Now; so, let's leave that to him. In addition to his intensely personal narratives, the overwhelming musicality on this album continues to reinvent itself track after track.

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Marena Whitcher's Shady Midnight Orchestra - 'Ghostology'

Alex Marianyi
Staff Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

Art about ghosts, spirits, and the afterlife can quickly become trite and unnecessarily serious, but Marena Whitcher and her Shady Midnight Orchestra ensure that subject matter doesn't get in the way of good music and fun times on Ghostology. This album gets really weird without getting pointless and always manages to somehow stay aesthetically focused even as it moves through vastly different sections and songs.

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Sarah Marie Young - 'Little Candy Heart'

Alex Marianyi
Staff Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

I met Sarah Marie Young when we were both students at Columbia College Chicago, and she was already pretty awesome. Over the last few years, she hasn't shown any signs of slowing down as she's gone on to win the 2011 Shure Montreux Vocal Competition and played some of my favorite venues here in Chicago, such as the Chicago Jazz Festival and Schuba's. With her new album Little Candy Heart coming out on Dutch label SnipRecords in October 2014, she continues her evolution and upward trajectory.

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Matt Ulery - 'In The Ivory'

Alex Marianyi
Staff Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

With new thoughts constantly coursing through his head and the many tangents resulting from seemingly foreign but actually quite astute connections, conversation with Chicago bassist and "editor of ideas" (composer) Matt Ulery can sometimes feel like you’re being drawn into entirely different levels of consciousness. Though I do highly recommend it, sitting with him at a bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park is not required to get that feeling. You can be drawn into Ulery’s unique plane of existence just by listening to his upcoming jazz-classical crossover1 double-album, In The Ivory.

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2014 Chicago Jazz Festival RE-view

Alex Marianyi
Staff Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

I’M SO SORRY I CHEATED ON YOU LAST LABOR DAY, CHICAGO JAZZ FEST. I KNOW YOU WERE EXCITED TO SHOW ME YOUR NEW PLACE. WILL YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?! How about I tell everyone how much fun I had with you this past weekend?