Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

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10/11/15    Features

Rob Mazurek: Sound Affects

Sonics, a matter of the heart

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10/06/15    Albums

Graffiti
JD Allen

Throughout Graffiti , saxophonist JD Allen’s music creates a strong sense of familiarity: a rubato melody driven by rolling drums and impassioned Trane-like tenor; a snaky Rollins-esque riff; even some folk qualities that acknowledge Ornette Coleman. But...

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09/28/15    Albums

Mingus Sings
Ku-Umba Frank Lacy & the Mingus Big Band

Perhaps more than any other modern jazz composer, Charles Mingus presents a challenge to anyone attempting a tribute album. His wit, musical depth and larger-than-life personality all factored into his writing, making his music difficult to do justice to...

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09/14/15    Albums

Blue Dialect
Mario Pavone

In “Language,” each member of the Mario Pavone Trio takes a little more than a minute for a meterless unaccompanied solo, following the quick, arrhythmic staccato theme. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey creates low thunder across the toms. Pavone plucks wildly at his...

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07/29/15    Albums

Emerge
Stephan Crump & Mary Halvorson: Secret Keeper

From the moment Stephan Crump and Mary Halvorson played together they felt a musical rapport. The set of improvisation on 2013’s Super 8 bore this out by including music the bassist and guitarist recorded during their initial encounter at Crump’s home studio...

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07/15/15    Albums

Belleville Project
Jeremy Udden/Nicolas Moreaux

When American saxophonist-composer Jeremy Udden crossed paths with French bassist Nicolas Moreaux in Paris, two musical soulmates found one another. Udden’s groups Plainville and Folk Art have made jazz music that utilizes non-jazz styles (mostly Americana...

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07/13/15    Albums

Once in a While
George Van Eps

The story of George Van Eps is one of a musician a few steps from fame who never received his due. A wunderkind of the guitar, he played in the Benny Goodman Orchestra when the band landed on the Let’s Dance radio show. But before they went on tour, and...

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06/30/15    Albums

Arms & Hands
Kirk Knuffke

Kirk Knuffke has played in all sorts of contexts, so a trio is nothing unusual for the cornetist. What makes Arms & Hands distinctive, though, is his choice of bandmates. Bassist Mark Helias comes from a more adventurous (and prolific) background (Anthony...

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06/28/15    Albums

Emanation (Solo: Volume 2)
Roberta Piket

At one time, pianists could be chastised for having a “weak left hand,” which simply played chords while the right hand did all the heavy lifting. On her second album of solo piano, Roberta Piket proves that not only is her left hand well equipped, it often...

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06/18/15    Albums

You've Been Watching Me
Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Certain musical strategies can betray a Tim Berne composition. There’s the angular melody, played by the leader’s acidic alto, often in harmony with another horn, while the rhythm section tosses and turns beneath them. With the theme complete, two members...

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06/01/15    Albums

The Signal Maker
Mark Helias Open Loose

Musicians who thrive in the realm of free improvisation need to be flexible, stopping and rerouting their path as a performance calls for it. While the possibility exists to extend and expand during solos, the most attentive players can make a point succinctly...

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05/31/15    Albums

Dawn
Mike Osborne

Some musicians project a cocksure attitude with regard to their abilities, while others can be driven by a lack of confidence. For Mike Osborne, the latter proved to be his undoing. A fixture on the jazz scene in 1960s/70s England, his career was derailed...

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05/05/15    Albums

Medicine Buddha
Billy Bang/William Parker

In 2009, two years before Billy Bang lost his battle with lung cancer, the violinist teamed up with bassist William Parker for a performance at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. To hear Parker tell it in this album’s liner notes, the duo’s longstanding...

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04/01/15    Albums

Turning Point
Dave Burrell/Steve Swell

Effectively depicting the struggles of the Civil War presents a challenge for any group, especially a piano/trombone duo. But pianist Dave Burrell, composer-in-residence at Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library, has used his position to research the...

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03/25/15    Albums

The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update
Michael Mantler

Michael Mantler organized the original The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra album in 1968, as a manifestation of his and then-wife Carla Bley’s activities in the new jazz scene in New York. The music, all penned by Mantler, featured dense, long-toned backdrops...

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02/23/15    Albums

We Make the Rules
Jochen Rueckert

Drummer Jochen Rueckert has published three volumes of short stories entitled Read the Rueckert , which chronicle the life of a touring jazz musician, dirty hotel rooms and all. It’s earned at least one comparison to the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson...

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About Mike Shanley

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