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Dave Douglas & Uri Caine - 'Present Joys'

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

As per usual, Dave Douglas created an album that only he at only this point in his career could have made. All the killer Dave Douglas things are there: the excellent song choices that play to the strengths of the musicians, the soft but by no means weak tone, and the intelligence. I felt smarter after listening to Present Joys. Along with pianist Uri Caine, Douglas' approach on this record sounds like Nas on Illmatic or the Grateful Dead at their live shows. He opens a channel into the middle of his musicianship and just lets it all flow out without anything superfluous or presumptuous.

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On "Why I Don't Like Jazz"

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

If you are in any way involved in the jazz community in America, you've probably read this blog post: Why Americans Don't Like Jazz. Now, I don't normally give too much weight to opinion posts written in 2003 about jazz that have no verifiable, relevant, or comprehensive data to support the author's position. However, the apparent popularity of this amongst jazz supporters of all kinds has pushed me to take a look.

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Courageous Endeavors - 'Prototype'

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

These cats really bring the heat. Without apology or faltering, Courageous Endeavors plows forth, seeking out new territory to be explored. What this album may lack in focus, it more than makes up for in raw talent and deep emotion.

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Jason Moran Live With Theaster Gates - 5/30/2014

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

Looks Of A Lot was theater. It may have been theater that starred Jason Moran’s expert and innovative piano playing and compositions, but it was theater nonetheless. Let’s set the stage.

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Mark de Clive-Lowe - 'CHURCH'

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

This crowd-funded release, the 11th studio album for Mark de Clive-Lowe, does NOT play around. He named it after the live event he has been presenting in New York City and Los Angeles since 2011, and from composition to production, a live feel makes itself apparent throughout.