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Mark Shilansky and Join the Club

Mark Shilansky, piano, voice; Jay Ashby, trombone; Jared Sims, saxophones; Andrea Capozzoli, vocals/trumpet; Ian Ashby, bass; James Johnson III, drums.

Growing up in a suburb of Concord, NH, Mark Shilansky wrote songs as early as elementary school, followed by performances in original rock bands and jazz study at the Concord Community Music School. He received a BA in Music Performance in 1992 from the University of New Hampshire, where he played classical and jazz piano and apprenticed with such adjunct professors and visiting artists as Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Jimmy Heath. He moved to Boston, continuing his studies at New England Conservatory, receiving a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies in 1994, working with such teachers as Bevan Manson, Paul Bley, and John McNeil, supplementing his education since then by studying with jazz gurus Kenny Werner, Hal Crook, and Charlie Banacos.

Following a move to New York City in the mid-90’s to immerse himself in the hotbed of music that is Manhattan, and a subsequent return in 1997 to become an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music and to teach at his alma mater, UNH, Mark released his debut CD, First Look (1997), a piano trio date featuring Steve LaSpina on bass and Jeff Hirshfield on drums. Mark followed this release with a shift in artistic direction, continuing on the path of jazz, but also incorporating the singer/songwriter influences of his early years, such as Elvis Costello and Steely Dan. This direction culminated in a collection of original music, Different Songs (2000), featuring Mark as principal vocalist as well as producer/keyboardist. Other Voices (2003), Shilansky’s third CD as leader, marked a return to jazz, Latin-jazz, and long-form (occasionally free-jazz) compositions, all featuring the voice in some way, and featuring the vocal work of Luciana Souza, Lisa Thorson, and Paul Stiller of “Vox One”.

Join the Club (2007), has been described as “21st Century Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music,” and features original compositions and Latin-Jazz renderings of jazz standards and contemporary pop tunes by the bands Police and the Cardigans, and features saxist Donny McCaslin, trombonist Jay Ashby. Of this CD, Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix, says “Shilansky knows how to make every moment engage, [with] long arcs of melody as he works through the chord changes… this ‘club’ is one anyone would be happy to join.”