Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

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07/14/13    Albums

Lung
Little Women

Little Women seem to enjoy puzzling listeners. For starters, this is an all-male quartet. Their sophomore release consists of one track, but they don’t simply blow freely for 42 minutes. “Lung” sounds loosely structured, yet it has discernible sections and...

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07/04/13    Albums

Babel
Uri Gurvich

Like The Storyteller , Uri Gurvich’s justly praised debut on Tzadik three years ago, BabEl mates sinuous Middle Eastern and sprightly Afro-Cuban folk forms via original compositions that are equally influenced by his native Israel and the Berklee College...

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07/01/13    Albums

Concert in Athens
Eleni Karaindrou

The 18 pieces on Concert in Athens originated in different soundtracks and theater productions that the Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou has written since 1975. Yet the album flows together like one larger piece. Some tracks have clear breaks while others...

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06/28/13    Albums

Completely
Michael Gallant Trio

After logging time as an editor for Keyboard magazine and a contributing writer for DownBeat , Michael Gallant has returned to his primary focus of the piano and makes his recording debut with this trio set. His experience playing traditional jazz, including...

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06/27/13    Albums

Wheels
Oliver Lake Big band

Oliver Lake’s skill as a big-band leader might not be as well known as his tenure with the World Saxophone Quartet or his small-group projects, despite an interest in the format that dates back to the late ’60s with the Black Artists Group in St. Louis...

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06/15/13    Albums

Joey Calderazzo Trio Live
Joey Calderazzo Trio

This new document of live-action jazz did not originate at the Village Vanguard, or anywhere near New York City for that matter. Joey Calderazzo’s trio is heard stretching out at Daly Jazz in the relatively remote locale of Missoula, Mont. If this set offers...

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06/09/13    Albums

The Orchestrion Project
Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny’s setup for his Orchestrion tour looked like a cross between a ransacked orchestra pit and an elaborate stage show from the excessive ’70s. For those late to the game, the Orchestrion is based on the elaborate, century-old contraptions of the...

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06/04/13    Albums

Skull Sessions
Rob Mazurek Octet

Sometimes Rob Mazurek’s compositions begin quietly and move slowly. Recent works by the Chicago Underground Duo and the Exploding Star Orchestra have been as much about the journey as the destination. The trio Starlicker and the Pulsar Quartet are marked...

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05/19/13    Albums

Chants
Craig Taborn Trio

If jazz can really be described as the sound of surprise, it also involves trust on the part of the listeners. We need to approach the music trusting that the players are really trying to create something expressive rather than simply noodling away. The...

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05/16/13    Albums

For People In Sorrow
Alex Cline

Too often tribute albums are based on reverence that leaves the heart and soul of the honoree behind. Other times, the subject’s material gets re-contextualized to the point of absurdity. Alex Cline approached Roscoe Mitchell’s “People in Sorrow” hoping...

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04/20/13    Features

Curtis Hasselbring's Secret Agent Bands

The trombonist creatively melds two ensembles on 'Number Stations'

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04/15/13    Albums

Sky Bleached
Dylan Ryan/Sand

Dylan Ryan is a drummer adept at combining his jazz skills with adventurous rock, resulting in music that maintains the cerebral and visceral qualities of both styles. A man of many projects, he’s probably best known for his work with Herculaneum, a Chicago...

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04/14/13    Albums

Hammered
Ches Smith & These Arches

Even among today’s many ambitious drummer-composer-bandleaders, Ches Smith applies his skills to an especially dynamic array of brainy projects. Last year he appeared on Tim Berne’s Snakeoil , continued in Mary Halvorson’s quintet and released a solo percussion...

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04/08/13    Albums

Never Let Me Go: Quartets ’95 & ’96
Thomas Chapin

To get a handle on the musical scope of Thomas Chapin, look no further than the second CD of this three-disc set. Taken from a 1995 live performance, it begins with Thelonious Monk’s rare waltz “Ugly Beauty,” followed by Charlie Parker’s equally deep cut...

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04/05/13    Albums

John Tchicai
John Tchicai

The late Danish saxophonist John Tchicai lived and recorded predominantly in Europe, although he’s best known for several 1960s projects, some named for the American city that housed him during those heady seminal years of the avant-garde: John Coltrane’s...

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03/30/13    Albums

Slippery Rock
Mostly Other People Do the Killing

Mostly Other People Do the Killing has taken on some pretty sacred cows in jazz over the years. While the group is ultimately out to have a good time rather than put anyone down, its prankish avant-jazz zeal can sometimes be a bit much. Knowing that the...

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About Mike Shanley

Shanley_selfportrait_thumb

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.