Mike Shanley

Mike’s Contributions

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04/01/15    Albums

Turning Point
Dave Burrell/Steve Swell

Effectively depicting the struggles of the Civil War presents a challenge for any group, especially a piano/trombone duo. But pianist Dave Burrell, composer-in-residence at Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library, has used his position to research the...

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03/25/15    Albums

The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update
Michael Mantler

Michael Mantler organized the original The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra album in 1968, as a manifestation of his and then-wife Carla Bley’s activities in the new jazz scene in New York. The music, all penned by Mantler, featured dense, long-toned backdrops...

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02/23/15    Albums

We Make the Rules
Jochen Rueckert

Drummer Jochen Rueckert has published three volumes of short stories entitled Read the Rueckert , which chronicle the life of a touring jazz musician, dirty hotel rooms and all. It’s earned at least one comparison to the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson...

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02/15/15    Albums

What I Heard
Oliver Lake Organ Quartet

There’s no doubt that Oliver Lake’s alto saxophone could tear up a blues with the help of some greasy B3 pedals and drawbars. His work with the World Saxophone Quartet regularly takes tradition and breathes new life into it, and his recent big band does...

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01/25/15    Albums

In the Ivory
Matt Ulery

In the Ivory wasn’t written as a soundtrack, but someone ought to take it and build a film around the music. Matt Ulery, a bassist and composer, writes melodies that beg for expansive cinematic shots of open plains and characters who speak more through facial...

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01/24/15    Albums

Destination: Void
Peter Evans Quintet

It might be hard to believe that Destination: Void comes from the same trumpet player who, a few months ago, performed a precise imitation of Miles Davis on Blue , Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s note-for-note recreation of Kind of Blue . What was warm...

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12/28/14    Albums

Room
Nels Cline & Julian Lage

This meeting of the guitar minds might sound like an improbable pairing: the 58-year-old Wilco guitarist known for his punkish avant-garde flights of fancy joining forces with the 26-year-old melodicist best known for his mastery of mainstream jazz guitar...

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12/23/14    Albums

Alloy
Tyshawn Sorey

In addition to being a drummer able to handle the jagged musical terrain of Vijay Iyer, Steve Coleman and Steve Lehman, Tyshawn Sorey continues to mature as a composer who draws equally on experimental jazz and new music. While Sorey’s Oblique – I featured...

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12/20/14    Albums

Circa
Dylan Ryan/Sand

Dylan Ryan’s drums and songwriting might lead Sand, but guitarist Timothy Young is the guy doing the heavy lifting. And “heavy” can be easily affixed to his fretwork. The low, drop-tuned riff in “Possession” evokes Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on a more progressive...

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12/07/14    Albums

Singular Curves
Swallow/Talmor/Nussbaum

Tenor saxophonist Ohad Talmor calls bass guitarist Steve Swallow’s arrangement of “Carolina Moon” “deceptively complicated” and “challenging.” But to listen to the version of the 1920s chestnut on this album, there doesn’t appear to be anything complex about...

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11/30/14    Albums

Flash Forward
Michael Carvin Experience

Michael Carvin’s career as a drum instructor might overshadow his extensive work as a performer. His students have included Eric McPherson, Nasheet Waits and Allison Miller, to name just a few. At the same time, his CV includes stints with B.B. King, Pharoah...

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11/26/14    Albums

In Convergence Liberation
Hafez Modirzadeh

Hafez Modirzadeh offers an extensive explanation of “liberation convergence” in the liner notes to his latest album. To paraphrase, he calls this principle “consciousness gravitating toward a point of supreme balance, where all fear of extinction is removed...

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11/11/14    Features

Sean Jones' Restless Heart

Trumpeter, educator—and dauntless risk-taker

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10/26/14    Albums

The Darkseid Recital
Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp

In a solo setting, it can be a challenge to figure out whether Matthew Shipp is playing a composition or if the music is emerging from his fingers spontaneously. If the latter applies, he has an uncanny ability to chart a well-developed course with ease...

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10/19/14    Albums

The Darkseid Recital
Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp

In a solo setting, it can be a challenge to figure out whether Matthew Shipp is playing a composition or if the music is emerging from his fingers spontaneously. If the latter applies, he has an uncanny ability to chart a well-developed course with ease...

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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...

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About Mike Shanley

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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.