Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions


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...


10/29/12    Features

Positive Catastrophe: Playing with Genre

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


10/21/12    Albums

There Now
Josh Berman & His Gang

The name of cornetist Josh Berman’s newest group refers back to the “gangs” led by Bix Beiderbecke or to Chicago’s Austin High Gang, which existed close to a century ago. Although Berman formed this octet under the influence of that era, tackling standards...


08/02/12    Albums

Super Eight
Secret Keeper

On Stephan Crump’s last effort for Intakt, he and alto saxophonist Steve Lehman took a series of spontaneous duets and edited them into two extended pieces, resulting in the album Kaleidoscope and Collage . It was an intriguing concept in which the worlds...


07/27/12    Albums

Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry, SPP
Henry Threadgill Zooid

While the previous two Zooid albums, This Brings Us To, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 , provided a revealing portrait of Henry Threadgill as a composer and bandleader, one aspect of the AACM veteran seemed to be lacking: Threadgill the soloist. Especially on the second...


07/26/12    Albums


The members of Ballister are all prolific musicians who are well acquainted with each other, personally and musically. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and saxophonist Dave Rempis both reside in the fertile Chicago improvisation scene and have shared the stage...


07/01/12    Albums

The Air is Different
Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up

It’s not surprising nowadays to hear a modern jazz composer combine several divergent movements into one piece, turning a corner with little or no transition. Drummer Tomas Fujiwara fits this composer profile. But what makes the Hook Up’s sophomore release...


06/21/12    Albums

Plugged In
Jerome Sabbagh

Single-disc jazz albums don’t often have 14 tracks, at least not in the case of new releases. But Plugged In , the latest from tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh, a Frenchman based in Brooklyn, features seven of his compositions intermixed with seven by Belgian...


05/19/12    Albums

Bright Light in Winter
Jeff Parker Trio

On Nicole Mitchell’s excellent 2011 album Awakening , guitarist Jeff Parker’s performance sounded like a collision of Grant Green’s crisp tone and James Blood Ulmer’s vocabulary. But Parker, probably best known as a member of the post-rock band Tortoise...


05/11/12    Albums

Chance Episodes
Dead Cat Bounce

Matt Steckler, founder of and one of four saxophonists in Dead Cat Bounce, says the theme of Chance Episodes explores “memory’s haphazard way of bringing to the fore seemingly unrelated events, so that an episodic narrative is created, as if ‘by chance.’”...


05/09/12    Albums

2 by 2
Anthony Braxton & Buell Neidlinger

Anthony Braxton and Buell Neidlinger could have dug into any number of concepts in a duo performance, considering the saxophonist’s prolific output and the bassist’s far-ranging résumé (Cecil Taylor’s original quartet, Frank Zappa and orchestra gigs) and...


04/29/12    Albums

Live in L.A.
Bobby Bradford/Mark Dresser/Glenn Ferris

The album title is a bit misleading. Bobby Bradford (cornet), Mark Dresser (bass) and Glenn Ferris (trombone) did make this recording in the City of Angels in 2009. But they were performing in trombonist Bruce Fowler’s living room, not in front of an audience...


04/22/12    Albums

Três Cabeças Lourcuras
São Paulo Underground

Rob Mazurek can always be counted on to lead a number of groups, from the large-scale drone and swirl of the Exploding Star Orchestra to the hard-driving trio Starlicker, one of 2011’s most impressive acts. No matter what he plays, Mazurek executes on cornet...


04/13/12    Albums

Elastic Aspects
Matthew Shipp Trio

Matthew Shipp cranks albums out with such regularity that to call him prolific would be something of an understatement. Yet the more recent batch of releases attributed to the pianist (in addition to extracurricular sessions) chronicles a progression in...


04/13/12    Albums

The Guest House
Trio M

The cooperative trio of pianist Myra Melford, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson has become an extremely empathetic union, in which all three musicians mold their approaches to fit each of the tunes. While some of the tracks feel a little too subdued...


04/02/12    Albums

Jason Adasiewicz’s 
Sun Rooms

Sun Rooms offers a different listening experience than Jason Adasiewicz’s other projects, like his quintet Rolldown, which sonically evokes Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch! As on its 2010 debut, the group has no horn-playing cohorts along for the ride here. The...

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About Mike Shanley


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.