Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions


01/29/16    Albums

The Necks

Australians the Necks have released 15 albums of expansive improvisation, many of them devoted to one extended piece that flows along for upwards of 60 minutes. In that regard, record number 16, Vertigo , presents a streamlined performance by the trio, since...


01/06/16    Albums

American Spirit
Christian Howes

For a song that became recognized beyond the Broadway stage, “America,” the immortal West Side Story showcase, possesses one of the more abrasive cadences in popular music. Christian Howes opens American Spirit with the song, but his version lacks the bombast...


01/05/16    Albums

Ye Olde
Jacob Garchik

Jacob Garchik’s vision has yielded arrangements for the Kronos Quartet, performances with everyone from Henry Threadgill to Lee Konitz and an inventive tribute to the trombone-choir gospel tradition wherein Garchik plays all the instruments. It shouldn’t...


12/16/15    Albums

Tales of the Unforeseen
Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor

Barry Altschul’s The 3Dom Factor was one of the strongest and most underrated albums of 2013. Released as the master drummer turned 70, it features compositions he had written throughout his career, revealing a talent that’s not as celebrated as his tenures...


12/06/15    Albums

Rambling Confessions
John Hebert

Sometimes a bandleader’s initial goals for a group take a completely different turn once the rest of the musicians come aboard. Bassist John Hébert—who has played in bands led by everyone from Fred Hersch to Lee Konitz to Andrew Hill to Mary Halvorson—was...


12/03/15    Albums

Roulette of the Cradle
Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House

Tenor/soprano saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock has released two previous albums with her Anti-House group, but her players have all crossed paths in other bands as well. Laubrock plays in guitarist Mary Halvorson’s septet with bassist John Hébert. Drummer Tom...


12/02/15    Albums

Mary Halvorson

For her first solo guitar album, Mary Halvorson originally intended to bring her distinctive fretwork to bear on standards like Thelonious Monk’s “Reflections” and “Ruby, My Dear.” But somewhere along the way she settled on a more impressive set of interpretations...


11/29/15    Albums

Some Places Are Forever Afternoon
Wayne Horvitz

Some Places Are Forever Afternoon proves that the institution of the album—an actual package built around the music—is still alive and well. It contains 11 Wayne Horvitz compositions directly inspired by the work of American Northwest poet Richard Hugo...


11/24/15    Albums

Table of Changes
Marilyn Crispell/Gerry Hemingway

Marilyn Crispell’s ECM recordings, including duets with bassist Gary Peacock and trio sessions that added Paul Motian, revealed the more delicate, lyrical side of the pianist’s playing, which both complemented and contrasted her prior work in true-blue free...


10/11/15    Features

Rob Mazurek: Sound Affects

Sonics, a matter of the heart


10/06/15    Albums

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...


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...


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...


07/29/15    Albums

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...


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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About Mike Shanley