Mark Shilansky and his group Fugue Mill weave jazz through the fabric of Bluegrass, Celtic, and Classical music, creating a complex yet attractive blend of musical styles and traditions. Original group pieces are featured side by side with music by such composers as Thelonious Monk, Leonard Cohen, and Samuel Barber. Violin and multiple stringed instruments augment the quartet of piano, guitar, bass, and drums, creating a transparent and vibrant palette of improvisation and counterpoint. Members of the group combine their wide-ranging experience playing with such artists as Luciana Souza, Esperanza Spalding, Stevie Wonder, and Darol Anger into a musical melange that explores diverse idioms, linked through improvisation and groove.
"[Fugue Mill] is...an especially fresh and inventive jazz album.” - Jon Garelick, Boston Globe
Mark Shilansky has been playing piano and writing songs since he was 8 years old. Since then, he has amassed a bevy of recorded and concert appearances with such artists as the New York Voices, Luciana Souza, Kenny Wheeler, and Rebecca Parris, and virtually every jazz vocalist from New England to California. His recorded output ranges from his 2000 singer/songwriter opus "Different Songs," to the space-age bachelor pad music of 2007's "Join the Club", to his current release "Fugue Mill", a foray into mixing jazz with Americana, Celtic, and Classical Music. He brings these talents as a player, composer, and vocalist to bear in his teaching at the University of New Hampshire and the Berklee College of Music.
Guitarist Eric Byers, besides being Mark Shilansky's partner-in-crime in various projects (singer/songwriters Kaye Kelly, Christina Watson, and Adrian Sicam, for example) has shared the stage and recordings with such artists as Dave and Maureen Budway (from his native Pittsburgh), Kim Nazarian, and jazz legend Joe Lovano. A full-time professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music, and a graduate of both Duquesne University and the New England Conservatory, he is an active composer and arranger and guitarist in multiple idioms.
Sara Caswell is fast becoming one of today’s foremost jazz violinists through her technical facility and gift for lyricism. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in both the 2013 and 2014 DownBeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls and featured on the cover of the September 2014 issue of Strings Magazine, Sara leads two groups (the Sara Caswell Quartet and the Caswell Sisters Quintet), has released two highly-acclaimed CDs (First Song and But Beautiful), and in 2013 released a new CD with her sister, jazz vocalist Rachel Caswell, entitled Alive in the Singing Air featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch. She may be familiar to television viewers through her appearances in the house band on the TV variety show "Martin and Maya", feauring Martin Short and Maya Rudolph.