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Critics in the 21st Century

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

You can't deny it: critics have played a major role in the shaping of jazz history. Entire movements have been left out of the canon simply because they didn't appeal to popular journalists of the time. If anyone disagrees, they can turn to John Gennari's book Blowin' Hot and Cool: Jazz and its Critics. It explores jazz history from the point of view of the critics and reveals their subtle, yet integral influence.

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For Your Consideration: Snaarj's 'Levels'

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

“We’re a band!” jokes bassist Bobby Wooten, “NO SUBS!” According to alto saxophonist Josh Johnson, Snaarj is “more of a rock band than a jazz ensemble.” Tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi adds, “We try to play our instruments in a different way than we’re expected to.”

I sat down with three of the four members of Snaarj to talk to them about their group and its most recently released album Levels. Of course, I had to ask, and they told me the odd name comes from the word “snarge,” which UrbanDictionary.com defines as “the residue smeared on an airplane after a bird/plane collision.” This grotesque word came to saxophonists Johnson and Laurenzi while on a car trip from their alma mater Indiana University to Chicago, their current home.