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Chris Schlarb - 'Making the Saint'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Guitarist Chris Schlarb has never really held himself to one sound. The inventive musician can be described as playing in the vein of jazz as much as he can be described as playing along experimental music, drone, or folk veins. There are folks out there who may talk about playing without regard to genre, eliminating those confines, but Schlarb lives that life. Last year, he and his band Psychic Temple did their interweaving on the still gripping II, now he keeps the same new age potpouri vibe with everyone but him stripped away on his new solo release, Making the Saint, out now on Asthmatic Kitty.

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Jason Moran Brings San Antonio the Party, If Only They'd Dance

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

San Antonio just didn't dance. It's not as though they weren't feeling the music. It's not as though they didn't clap on beat and rise at every appropriate moment for an ovation at the end of the show and for the encore. It's not as though the show wasn't great, it was. Jason Moran seamlessly navigated between piano, Rhodes, and the art of just getting out of the way and dancing around the stage. It was truly a joyful night, literally and figuratively moving. But the folks at San Antonio's Jo Long Theater last Saturday night just didn't get up to dance for Jason Moran's Fats Waller Dance Party.

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BADBADNOTGOOD - 'III'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

There's been a longer wait between BBNG2 and III. In the two years between the release of their last self-produced and promoted album and their first release on a label, keyboardist Matt Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, and drummer Alex Sowinski moved their whole operation from Sowinski's dad's basement into a studio space they built themselves, signed to the young aforereferenced label Innovative Leisure, toured the globe a bit, and continued to approach their being a band with workmanlike intensity. As these young men have grown as musicians, they continued to show the results in their releases, each album stronger than the last (and also sort of reminding the jazz cognoscenti not to be so overbearing on what can objectively be called a band's early work). In their first official album, the trio have released their most polished and jazz-influenced record yet.

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Meditations on Art of Cool Fest 2014

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Recently, a fellow bar patron and photographer friend of mine said on Facebook that photographers should follow the Prime Directive-- the guiding principle of Starfleet wherein one should not interfere with a developing civilization. I commented that as a writer, I'm more like Jim Kirk-- I break that notion all the time. I spent much of last week in Durham, North Carolina, for the first ever Art of Cool Festival. The intention was for me to "cover" the festival, but me being me, I embedded myself into every facet of it possible, hanging with various musicians, constructing and organizing and helping out wherever I could. While I did manage to see a great many shows and review them as a legitimate music journalist typically would, there was just so much more to say about last week -- the most rewarding, fulfilling week of my personal and professional life so far -- than show reviews can say. What follows is a collection of random thoughts about Durham, music festivals, journalism, Art of Cool (an organization that I have quite quickly learned to love like they're some of my best friends on earth), and any other random thoughts that have come to mind in the midst of being emotionally overwhelmed and deprived of sleep.

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Art of Cool Fest 2014 - The Rundown

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Last weekend, the first ever Art of Cool Festival took Durham, North Carolina, by storm (in addition to an actual storm), marking a first ever event of this kind in the city as well as a combination of artists so perfectly suited that many who performed and attended are downright demanding this festival returns next year. In the meantime while we at AoC take some time to crunch the numbers, tinker with upcoming plans, and sleep at long last, here's just an idea of some of the amazing sets last weekend held.