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Dan Cray: Outside In

Read "Outside In" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Encounters with the wonders of nature have a way of snapping everything into perspective and tamping down humanly worries and concerns. Too often we spend time absorbed and obsessed with working from the inside out, projecting ourselves into the world. But sometimes it's better to simply go the other way and let the beauty that exists on the outside infiltrate and influence the human spirit and direction. Pianist Dan Cray's second release on the Origin imprint, strongly informed by a ...

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Dan Cray: Meridies

Read "Meridies" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

There is nothing iconoclastic about pianist Dan Cray. He derives his piano style more from Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones than Matthew Shipp or Ran Blake. He has been driving a trio through four previous recordings: Who Cares (Cray Sounds, 2001); No One (Blujazz productions, 2003); Save Us! (Blujazz productions, 2005); and Over Here Over Heard (Crawdad, 2008). Cray has also provided movie music for actor Michael Keaton's The Merry Gentleman (2009) and appeared on the television show Gossip Girls.

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Dan Cray: Meridies

Read "Meridies" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Change is never easy, but it's often the key to growing as a person and an artist. Pianist Dan Cray has released a series of well-received CDs and carved out a comfortable musical existence with his trio in Chicago, but he understood that a change of scenery and a jump into jazz's deep end would do him good. Cray made the move to New York City in 2009, but Meridies is the first outing released under his ...

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Dan Cray Trio: Over Here Over Heard

Read "Over Here Over Heard" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

For some time, pianist Dan Cray and his cohorts--bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte--have been perfecting the language of the trio on a number of fine releases. Over Here Over Heard is the fourth album from this audacious working unit, which continues to find new magic in old tunes while throwing in some fresh sounds for good measure.

The album was recorded live at Pops For Champagne Chicago, which gives it a nice intimacy, and things kicks ...

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Dan Cray Trio: Over Here Over Heard

Read "Over Here Over Heard" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Often, when a trio plays jazz, it covers classics or performs original material written by the leader--usually the pianist. On Over Here Over Heard, the Dan Cray Trio does both and pleases a live audience in the process.The trio brings some varied credentials. Cray was a finalist in the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition. His associations have included Kurt Elling and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, and he has released three studio albums with his trio, the ...

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The Dan Cray Trio: Save Us!

Read "Save Us!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Jazz's modern mainstream has to preserve tradition while exploring unique approaches. It's got to grow. A lot of folks translate the concept of uniqueness into something “far out" and “hip" and “never before attempted." But stretching the boundaries of jazz to its limits has drawbacks. Some push too far and become alienated. Some water down the jazz with outside sources that prove discomforting. Many of today's innovators simply sell out. If they turn away from the core music that brought ...

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Dan Cray: Who Cares

Read "Who Cares" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

For those of you with a tendency to judge a CD by its cover, this one can fool you. Young pianist Dan Cray in a slouching wall lean, a downcast expression, a grim set to his mouth. The fellow looks every bit the picture of timidity and dejection. How's a guy like that going to pull off one of the toughest jazz tricks: the piano/bass/drums affair. (and o.k., they were trying, successfully, to evoke the mood of the CDs title).