MC Shoehorn is a performance artist who creates music with his feet and dances with his horn. Shoehorn combines body rhythms and sophisticated forms and concepts into an entertaining spectacle. A specialist in sax and tap dance, he is also a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer, utilizing a variety of wind and percussion instruments, original material and songbook classics, and music from around the world. In addition to his shoes and horn, he uses the Tappercussion(TM) Mark VII e-tap (TM) MIDI instrument to add percussive sounds like drum set, steel drums, sitar and marimba. Whether playing as a bandleader or sideman with performers and performance troupes such as Circus Luminesence, Fools in Paradise marimba band, Baby Gramps, Rhys Thomas, and Leapin' Louie Lichtenstein or playing solo, he puts heart, mind, body and soul into every performance.
Shoehorn is an internationally recognized tap soloist, featured in the Emmy-nominated PBS TV documentary JUBA:Masters of Tap & Percussive Dance, and has toured Russia and Austria with other leading tap artists, including Savion Glover and Jason Samuels Smith. He performed in The Elegance of Tap, the Comedy of Tap (with Bill Irwin)and Tap Treasures and Tap Masters at Tap City, the New York City International Tap Dance Festival. "The man they call Shoehorn not only plays the alto sax amazingly well, he also does some expert tap-dancing as he plays. That's some serious multi-tasking." Stan Hall - The Oregonian
MC Shoehorn School/Library Programs: Book Mr.Shoehorn for your school assembly! Shoehorn provides a highly entertaining yet educational presentation sure to be a hit with your students. Tap dancer and multi-instrumentalist MC Shoehorn has worked his whole life to embrace cultural diversity, starting with his experience as an exchange student in Peru, and continuing through his studies of jazz saxophone and rhythm tap, Spanish, Japanese, and other languages, and his interest in peace and environmental awareness, as reflected in his recordings and performances. His work illustrates the connections between races and nations through rhythm and song. Tailoring each show to grade level, Shoehorn can break down musical forms which constitute American musical heritage and place them in context with amusing introductions and utilizing various instruments. He is also a forceful advocate for the under-appreciated art form of rhythm tap dance, with personal connections to some of the overlooked masters of the dance, most of whom suffered from discrimination which denied them more prominent careers in 20th century show business. "Tap dance is a vital and important component of our musical heritage which influenced the rhythms of modern jazz in a profound way", he says, citing lore from masters such as Charles "Honi" Coles, James "Buster" Brown, Steve Condos, the Nicholas Brothers, Jimmy Slyde, Prince Spencer, Jeni LeGon, and others. Shoehorn also pays homage to important musical figures the children may never have heard of, such as saxophonists Sydney Bechet, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker, as well as folk artists such as harmonica master Sonny Terry. Also available: musical ensembles and "Jugglemania with Shoehorn" improv & groove tap, sax & music
STUDY ADVANCED/INTENSIVE STUDY.Want to learn Jazz/Rhythm Tap? Sax? How to play an instrument and tap dance at the same time? How about Improvisation and/or Theory? e-tap? JAM! Shoehorn is available for residencies, workshops, masterclasses and group lessons.
MC Shoehorn is a performance artist who creates music with his feet and dances with his horn. Michael "Shoehorn" Conley combines body rhythms and sophisticated jazz forms and concepts into an entertaining spectacle. While specializing in sax and tap dance, he is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer, utilizing a variety of wind and percussion instruments, classic and original songs, and an ear for music from around the world.
Shoehorn's Hatband - Shoehorn in a quartet with piano, bass, drums
Shoehorn's Hatband consists of Shoehorn backed by a trio of piano, bass, and drums. The players are all trained jazz musicians who jam and experiment with Shoehorn's material, from originals to grooving vamps, world music covers and standards from various eras of American music. Equally adept at old blues songs, classic showtunes, cooking Latin numbers and improvised vocabulary with funk and rock roots, it is an entertaining show band you could dance to. This group is featured on Shoehorn's 2008 studio recording, titled Cafe Cirque, available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/shoehorn2
Trio Calzador - Latin/Japanese/Gypsy Swing with guitar
Trio Calzador emphasizes Latin and Japanese styles with a hint of gypsy swing and funk. It includes guitar and bass with Shoehorn's usual array of tappercussion, reeds and vocals. This group made a CD in 2003 titled Trio Calzador. Featured with Shoehorn are guitarist Toshi Onizuka and bassist Skip Elliott Bowman. The disc is available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/shoehorn
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"SHOEHORN" Tap dancing saxophonist ONE-MAN SHOW or Bandleader, Soloist Background: Shoehorn tap dances and plays the sax at the same time. He does this at festivals, theaters, clubs, weddings, schools, corporate, and casual events, mostly around Portland and the Northwest, but also as far away as Japan, Australia, Europe, Singapore and Russia and Toronto. He started as a street performer in New Orleans and gained experience jamming with performers in various genres, from rock and blues to world music and jazz and circus artists. Shoehorn has performed in at least 30 countries. He is now a bandleader and solo performer with many different ways of presenting his basic ability of tapping and playing sax at the same time. People find this ability remarkable and often comment on how musical it is when they had expected a gimmick. He has recorded and released five CDs, each offering a new angle on his music and a range of textures from guitar and spoons to jazz piano trio to the Flamenco-flavored fusion of Trio Calzador. Being a synthesist of styles and techniques, he improvises on his originals and many jazz and pop tunes and enjoys collaborations with other artists. Shoehorn sings in English, Spanish and Japanese, and plays tunes from around the world as well as standards from the USA. He occasionally raps in the "RAPTAP!' style he developed.(WBRT 1994 CD) He also has pioneered the use of MIDI and analog electronics in tap dance (e-tap) since 1983 and utilizes the MIDI Tappercussion Mark VII etap.instrument on most gigs and and his recordings, all of which have featured at least one electronic tap tune. He also provides musical back-up and services for variety performers. He can perform anything from a 3-minute walk-on to three hour-long sets. For his one-man multi-media show, "Shoehorn's Saxovision" Shoehorn adds spoken word and other elements to his standard multi-instrumental tap dance performance. (See press/reviews)