Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


07/29/14    Albums

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...


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...


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...


07/02/14    Albums

New York Concerts
Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4

Columbia Records dropped Jimmy Giuffre following 1962’s experimental Free Fall , and he didn’t record another album for nine years. The period in-between has been called his “lost decade,” but the clarinetist-saxophonist kept busy. His forward vision fit...


06/05/14    Albums

Jason Roebke Octet

Discussing his octet’s blend of textures and soloists in this album’s liner notes, bassist Jason Roebke states, “It’s a struggle, but that’s sort of the point. It’s all about risk and the tension that working on something just beyond our reach creates.”...


06/04/14    Albums

Beating the Teens
Ideal Bread

The quartet Ideal Bread toys with listeners’ expectations even on paper, paying tribute to Steve Lacy without employing a soprano saxophone, his instrument of choice. Leader Josh Sinton goes in the opposite direction, using the baritone sax to revitalize...


06/01/14    Albums

Root of Things
Matthew Shipp Trio

Less than a year after the strong solo disc Piano Sutras , Matthew Shipp returns with his faithful trio mates (bassist Michael Bisio, drummer Whit Dickey) for another solid release. While the pianist has maintained a steadily prolific output for nearly two...


05/18/14    Albums

Play Blue: Oslo Concert
Paul Bley

Paul Bley’s 1973 album, Open, to Love , set a precedent as both a document of the pianist’s skill in the solo setting and for the rich production that has become an expectation with ECM Records. Despite that artistic success, Bley wouldn’t release another...


05/12/14    Albums

That Which Is Planted

Repertory bands tend to be a safe way to gain recognition, since the music of revered masters lures audiences more effectively than original compositions. The trio 1032K toys with that concept because the material they cover comes from Albert Ayler, Charles...


04/23/14    Albums


Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) play serious music but don’t take themselves too seriously. A Fujiwara composition, inspired by the angular writing on Formanek’s recent albums, has the self-deprecating title “Cheap...

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About Mike Shanley