Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga at Umbria Jazz 


  I just want to say before I begin that Tony Bennett is important.  He's important to me, and to so many other people in the world.  He's a "pop" singer who stylizes a melody and varies it whenever he sings it, so as far as I'm concerned: jazz.  He had a late-career renaissance (several actually) that should be the envy of any artist, from MTV Unplugged until now.   I didn't get to meet him, but I have heard anecdotes that he is basically a great guy, often makes time to talk to fans, to other…
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Becca Stevens - "Perfect Animal" - Drivin' and Listenin' 

I'm late to the party on this artist.  I'm not going to claim to be a maven or an early adopter, though I heard her with my pal Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra​.  Becca Stevens.  I loved the last record with "Weightless" on it, and the great covers of Joni and Seal and Morrissey.  She plays the crap out of whatever stringed instrument she is holding, sings perfectly in tune and emotively and rhythmically precisely while doing it.  Her band is remarkable; the accordion and cajon are nice consistent touches…

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Jo Lawry - "Taking Pictures" 

I'm thinking of starting a "blog series" or "bunch of Shilansky opinions" series or whatever these are, with the name "Drivin' and Listenin'" or something like that, because I seem to do most of my focused listening to music in the car in recent years. The other night (driving back from my gig in NYC… so….) I listened to Jo Lawry's excellent "Taking Pictures" record, and the standout tracks for me are "Impossible" (which features an especially fine guest vocal performance from one Gordon Sumner. It's…

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Setlist! Volume 1. May 23, 2015 

Amazing Vocalist Jeremy Ragsdale and I used to joke about setlsts.  We would talk about the setlist for our current gig (as a Ragsdale solo set, say, with Esperanza Spalding on bass) or a Syncopation gig, as though it were a Grateful Dead or Phish setlist.  Try it sometime… it's fun.  (Instead of "they went from China Cat Sunflower into Not Fade Away, man… it was so heavy" it becomes, "They went from 'Stella by Starlight' right into 'Desafinado', man, and Shilansky didn't even open his Irealbook!")


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Favorite Concerts! 

Here's a Sunday Evening bit of food for thought:

I was reminiscing about my favorite concerts I've ever attended. I'm sure I'm forgetting many of them, but I though I'd provide this little list.  Maybe by doing so I'll remember more.  If I forgot to add that time I went to your burning show (if you are a fellow musician), please correct me, although Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, I'm sorry, I just don't care for your band.  

What are some of YOUR favorite concerts you've attended?


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Eat your heart out, "The Onion." I can use satire, too! 

Brockton, MA (AP) - According to witnesses, the keyboardist of a local wedding band went berserk last night, severely beating several groomsmen and setting the remnants of the wedding cake on fire. The reception had been a jubilant one, with hours of dancing (to several requests that the band had learned for the occasion). Caterer Ellen Yummysnacks witnessed the attack, and had this to say: "The evening basically went off without a hitch, until the band finished its final song, several minutes AFTER its…

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Whither Criticism, Part I      

I want to sound off in a somewhat definitive way, for me, about Arts Criticism.
Much of it has been said before, but maybe not in quite this way.
I'm a passionate fan of…

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Leaders vs. Sidepeople: Can't we all just get along? Discuss. 


Last week I had a gig at Ryles Jazz Club with my new band.  I was feeling a little absurd, as the audience turnout was comically low one, and I was calculating the amount of money I was losing on this evening, even as the gig progressed.

Anyway, to indulge the absurd inner monologue playing in my head, I did about 10 minutes of comedy as I introduced the band, and proceeded to good-naturedly rib the people who shared the stage with me, and continued this activity throughout the night.  I do this on most… Read more

Welcome and whassup! 

Hi everyone.  Welcome to the online world of Mark Shilansky.

I've blogged a bit in the past on myspace, somewhat memorably actually if you wanna check out posts from a couple years ago (, but we all know what has happened to myspace.  Lots of ads, slow to load, not really where the music industry or social networking hang out these days, although I still have the profile up as a place to store some excerpts from my CDs.

So, I have my own website again, self-designed…

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