Mark Shilansky

Join the Club | self-released
By JON GARELICK  |  October 15, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
In 2007, a jazz album that starts with “Take 5” promises to be a mainstream snooze, but Boston-based pianist Shilansky knows how to make every moment engage. His band do the usually cool Desmond/Brubeck chestnut with a barroom swagger, especially when tenor Donny McCaslin starts hurtling through those thumping fives. And despite the hoary standards (“Misty” is here too), Shilansky also knows how to sequence and arrange, and he has the all-important jazz instinct for the weird cover. So the Cardigans’ “Lovefool” is taken as a slow salsa, and the Latin treatment of “Alone Together” segues into the Turtles’ “Happy Together.” His own “Friends with Benefits” criss-crosses multiple horns and wordless vocals on a buoyant theme, breaking for solos before turning into “Just Friends.” In his own playing, Shilansky doesn’t merely fire off pyrotechnic patterns — a long-time singers’ accompanist, he’s always intent on long arcs of melody as he works through the chord changes. Representing two studio sessions with different bands (McCaslin, singer Kim Nazarian, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Bertram Lehmann, among them), this “club” is one anyone would be happy to join.

Mark Shilansky | Scullers, DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | October 23 | 617.562.4111

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  Topics: CD Reviews , The Cardigans, Fernando Huergo, Donny McCaslin,  More more >
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