Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

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12/20/14    Albums

Circa
Dylan Ryan/Sand

Dylan Ryan’s drums and songwriting might lead Sand, but guitarist Timothy Young is the guy doing the heavy lifting. And “heavy” can be easily affixed to his fretwork. The low, drop-tuned riff in “Possession” evokes Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on a more progressive...

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12/07/14    Albums

Singular Curves
Swallow/Talmor/Nussbaum

Tenor saxophonist Ohad Talmor calls bass guitarist Steve Swallow’s arrangement of “Carolina Moon” “deceptively complicated” and “challenging.” But to listen to the version of the 1920s chestnut on this album, there doesn’t appear to be anything complex about...

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11/30/14    Albums

Flash Forward
Michael Carvin Experience

Michael Carvin’s career as a drum instructor might overshadow his extensive work as a performer. His students have included Eric McPherson, Nasheet Waits and Allison Miller, to name just a few. At the same time, his CV includes stints with B.B. King, Pharoah...

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11/26/14    Albums

In Convergence Liberation
Hafez Modirzadeh

Hafez Modirzadeh offers an extensive explanation of “liberation convergence” in the liner notes to his latest album. To paraphrase, he calls this principle “consciousness gravitating toward a point of supreme balance, where all fear of extinction is removed...

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11/11/14    Features

Sean Jones' Restless Heart

Trumpeter, educator—and dauntless risk-taker

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10/26/14    Albums

The Darkseid Recital
Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp

In a solo setting, it can be a challenge to figure out whether Matthew Shipp is playing a composition or if the music is emerging from his fingers spontaneously. If the latter applies, he has an uncanny ability to chart a well-developed course with ease...

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10/19/14    Albums

The Darkseid Recital
Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp

In a solo setting, it can be a challenge to figure out whether Matthew Shipp is playing a composition or if the music is emerging from his fingers spontaneously. If the latter applies, he has an uncanny ability to chart a well-developed course with ease...

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10/09/14    Albums

Manhattan Moonrise
The Microscopic Septet

Joel Forrester, pianist and composer of the Microscopic Septet, says the band might come off like a revival group, but what they attempt to revive never really existed. “A revival of the future, then?” he asks. While such quips usually serve as nothing more...

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09/20/14    Albums

Ooh, What an Outfit!
Chubby Jackson

If a film made during the mid-1950s featured a scene in jazz club, it always included one particular stock character: the guy who was juiced out of his mind, throwing his head back and yelling things like “Go, man, go!” toward the stage. Chubby Jackson didn’t...

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09/08/14    Albums

Present Joys
Dave Douglas & Uri Caine

The art of shape-note singing combines spiritual messages with simple folk melodies. Created during the 19th century, it gave non-tutored voices the ability to express their devotion while singing in four-part harmony. The music found in century-old books...

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08/21/14    Albums

Young Guns
Gene Ludwig/Pat Martino Trio

Some musical relationships last a lifetime while others simply serve as milestones along the way, conjuring up questions of what might have transpired had certain musicians continued to work in tandem. Pittsburgh’s Gene Ludwig had evolved beyond a Jimmy...

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08/15/14    Albums

Right On Time
Harold Mabern

Smoke, one of New York City’s most intimate hardcore jazz clubs, is the latest venue to branch out into the album industry. The organization hasn’t wasted time either, dropping Smoke Sessions’ first six discs before 2014 reaches its mid-point. All were recorded...

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08/05/14    Albums

The New Standard
Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte

On the surface, Strange Bedfellows seems like an appropriate name for this trio. Keyboardist Jamie Saft and drummer Bobby Previte, both fiercely eclectic yet technically gifted player-composers, have collaborated before, in settings as far out as the improvised...

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07/29/14    Albums

eCsTaSy
Raoul Björkenheim

“El Pueblo Unido” has a simple, folky melody that could be inspired by guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s home in Finland. Delivered by an electric guitar and tenor sax and a free-rolling rhythm section, however, it sounds like nothing less than a lost Ornette...

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07/26/14    Albums

Authority Melts From Me
Bobby Avey

Bobby Avey’s visit to Haiti proved to be a life-changing experience. The pianist traveled to the country in 2012 and learned about its struggles with colonialism, slavery and foreign intervention, and his discovery of vodou drumming ensembles became the...

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07/03/14    Albums

Birdland 1953
Bud Powell

Bud Powell biographer Peter Pullman refers to 1953 as the busiest year of the pianist’s career. It didn’t begin in the best of ways: Powell ended 16 months of occupancy in mental institutions. Before the calendar turned again, he would participate in the...

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About Mike Shanley

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Mike Shanley wishes there were more hours in the day to just sit and listen to music, probably with some coffee close at hand. A native of Pittsburgh, he served as arts & entertainment editor at two of that city's alternative newsweeklies, InPittsburgh and Pulp. In addition to JazzTimes, he freelances for Pittsburgh City Paper, Blurt and maintains a blog at www.shanleyonmusic.blogspot.com where he rambles on about whatever has landed on the turntable or disc player at that moment. His writing has appeared in Harp, Pittsburgh Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and on the website PopCity.com. He has also played bass guitar in a number of Pittsburgh indie rock bands over the past two decades.