Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

Cd_johntchicai_john_span3

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...

Cd_mostlyotherpeopledothekilling_slipperyrock_span3

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...

Cd_charles-gayle-trio-_span3

03/18/13    Albums

Look Up
Charles Gayle Trio

Look Up documents the period in Charles Gayle’s life when he first began to receive greater recognition. After years of living and playing on the streets of New York City, the tenor saxophonist began appearing regularly in nightclubs and in 1994 embarked...

Cd_artensemble_earlycombinations_span3

03/13/13    Albums

Early Combinations
Art Ensemble of Chicago

The Art Ensemble of Chicago always seemed at ease when the tapes were rolling, even if focus wasn’t at the top of the priority list. Some of their early recordings revealed a band ready to go wherever inspiration took them, even if it meant noodling. That...

Cd_matthewshipp_greatest_span3

03/13/13    Albums

Greatest Hits
Matthew Shipp

The concept of greatest hits records began in the early days of albums as a way to compile an artist’s singles into one set, appealing to the consumer who otherwise only bought 45s. The idea that the adventurous pianist Matthew Shipp has a series of “hits...

Cd_reeves_stateofemergency_span3

02/11/13    Albums

State of Emergency!
Nat Reeves

The title State of Emergency! represents neither a political statement nor a fresh assessment of the first Tony Williams Lifetime record. Instead, it refers to the nor’easter that hit Connecticut in early 2011, during the sessions for this album. Despite...

Cd_fred-lonberg-holm_span3

01/26/13    Albums

Gather
Fred Lonberg-Holm's Fast Citizens

Fred Lonberg-Holm keeps himself so busy with such a vast number of projects that it seems nearly impossible to know what to expect from him. Will he be the vicious cello-scraping improviser of Ballister or the Fred Katz disciple of the Valentine Trio? On...

Cd_jon-irabagon_s-outright__span3

01/21/13    Albums

Unhinged
Jon Irabagon's Outright!

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon isn’t content to put all his eggs in one stylistic basket. Upon winning the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, this member of the irreverent quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing released a fine straightahead...

Cd_grass-roots_span3

01/13/13    Albums

Grass Roots
Grass Roots

When everyone in a band gets credit for an album track, it often means the music was the result of a spontaneous performance. It speaks to the strength of the group when those shared efforts contain the same sense of direction heard in the tunes written...

Cd_bisio_shipp-duo_span3

12/30/12    Albums

Floating Ice
Michael Bisio/Matthew Shipp Duo

Bassist Michael Bisio has recorded extensively in leader and sideman roles, including his current spot in Matthew Shipp’s trio. Although there were moments on the trio’s recent Elastic Aspects album when Bisio and Shipp didn’t seem to properly connect, the...

Cd_florian-weber_span3

12/27/12    Albums

Biosphere
Florian Weber

Biosphere is likely the first jazz album to include compositions by Lee Konitz, Eric Clapton and the band Coldplay. More surprising, though, is the fact that all of the songs make sense in the context of the album. German-born pianist Florian Weber, also...

Cd_donny-mccaslin_span3

12/11/12    Albums

Casting for Gravity
Donny McCaslin

Donny McCaslin always comes across as a tenor saxophonist with a strong musical personality that he uses to push himself into creative situations. For his 10th album as a leader, he absorbed influence from two electronica acts, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada...

Cd_michael-formanek_span3

11/28/12    Albums

Small Places
Michael Formanek Quartet

Michael Formanek’s The Rub and Spare Change became one of 2010’s critical sleeper hits, garnering massive praise. The real revelation was that the bassist’s ease and strength as a leader wasn’t already known on a wider level. Formanek actually released albums...

Cd_frankwrightquartet_span3

11/08/12    Albums

Blues For Albert Ayler
Frank Wright Quartet

ESP-Disk’ performed an honorable service by documenting many of the musicians associated with 1960s New Thing, but not everything in the underground label’s back catalog has the force of something like Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity . Two newly discovered...

Cd_hafezmodirzadeh_span3

10/31/12    Albums

Post-Chromodal Out!
Hafez Modirzadeh

Post-Chromodal Out! continues on the path that Hafez Modirzadeh (tenor, alto) started down two years ago with Amir ElSaffar (trumpet). Irani-American and Iraqi-American, respectively, both men incorporated the music of those countries with jazz on the innovative...

Positivecatastrophe-agdandthb_peter_gannushkin_span3

10/29/12    Features

Positive Catastrophe: Playing with Genre

Connects Salsa and the Avant-Garde, Music and Literature, Brains and Brawn

  • Email E-mail
  • Share Share
  • Rss RSS
  • Report Report

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.