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Clark Sommers - 'Ba(SH)'

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

Before I even had a chance to talk to bassist Clark Sommers about his trio Ba(SH), saxophonist Geof Bradfield told me that this recording is probably the closest he's ever come to feeling like a live performance in-studio. As he’s not one for hyperbole, I knew that this would be something special. There’s a certain indescribable quality (which I will of course now attempt to describe) to the whole album. It’s exactly as elastic as you’d expect a saxophone trio to be given the musicians playing and the rapport they have with each other. It really sounds like three good friends hanging out and doing what they do best. It must be what it feels like when Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan get together and play theater games.

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Doctor Magnum - 'Magnum Carta Holy Grail'

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

In the past, I’ve tried to avoid music that is self-described as jazz and hip-hop. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a jazz standard played with an unnatural, ungrooving backbeat. However, we’re getting to a generation of jazz musicians who have spent large parts of their musical development in a world where hip-hop is more mainstream and more easily accessible.

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The 2013 Detroit International Jazz Festival

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

We’ve heard of Detroit’s decline, of its bankruptcy debacle, and of those who are yet still optimistic. Even with all of those feature stories, photographs, and blog posts, there’s something that eludes you; it eludes you until the moment you set foot in the city. And then you feel it. It hits like a ton of bricks. And there’s really no better way to express whatever it is than through the music that put America on the international stage of art and culture, the music Detroit has so prolifically contributed to.

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Matt Ulery's Loom on the East Coast This Week

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

I caught up with with Chicago bassist and composer Matt Ulery in one of my favorite Logan Square cafes before he leaves for the East Coast this week. He has enjoyed quite a bit of success of late partially resulting from his most recent album Wake an Echo and the one before By a Little Light, both released on Greenleaf Records.

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For Your Consideration: Ryan Cohan's 'The River'

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

As humans, we sometimes want to pigeonhole people into one category or another. This is something I’ve spent time talking to Ryan Cohan about, and he always mentions the ebb and flow of being an active performer and composer. Both are always a part of him with some months being heavy on playing and others heavy on composing. While Cohan is certainly the composer behind The River, his facility on piano as both soloist and accompanist becomes immediately apparent.