Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

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06/04/16    Albums

The Pauper & the Magician
Ari Hoenig

A magician “with darkness in his heart,” who plays cruel tricks on a pauper, sounds less like a scenario for a children’s story than a source for their nightmares. Yet that’s how drummer Ari Hoenig’s thematic album began life, as a tale he told to his young...

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05/26/16    Albums

Connection
Empirical

If Empirical’s blend of alto saxophone, vibraphone, bass and drums evokes Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch! , the effect isn’t completely coincidental. The group previously paid tribute to the multireedist and his classic session on its sophomore album, Out ’n’...

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04/10/16    Albums

Energies of Change
David Gilmore

Sometimes it’s not what time signature you play in but what you can play in that time signature. From his time with M-Base musicians like Steve Coleman to more recent sessions with Rudresh Mahanthappa (as well as his own work as a leader), guitarist David...

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03/27/16    Features

Trumpeter Nate Wooley: Cracking the "Codes"

Tackling classic Young Lions material, on his own terms

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03/18/16    Albums

Electric Ascension
ROVA Channeling Coltrane

Ascension served as John Coltrane’s line in the sand when it was released in 1966. Those who sought greater musical enlightenment embraced the album-length piece, performed by the saxophonist in a horn-heavy ensemble of 11. On the other side of the line...

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02/26/16    Albums

Tones For
Adegoke Steve Colson

On Adegoke Steve Colson’s first album of solo piano, the title refers to three historical figures that inspired the music: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. To mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War (and the 50th anniversary...

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01/29/16    Albums

Vertigo
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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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12/02/15    Albums

Meltframe
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...

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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...

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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...

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About Mike Shanley

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