Cafe Cirque CD available at

On January 22-23rd, I took my quartet into the Big Red recording studio to record 12 songs. We recorded to analog tape and achieved a live-in-the-studio document of the group's sound. Cafe Cirque features Dan Gaynor on piano. Skip Elliott Bowman on bass and Ward Griffiths on drums. All have been performing with me for a number of years and I have wanted to record us properly for awhile, having done a number of quickie mini-disc recordings of our gigs. Come to our CD launch party at Jimmy Mak's and check us out. Below are some notes about the new disc. Shoehorn’s - Cafe Cirque 1/22/08 Big Red Studio 1. Okonomide This tune is by Shiina Ringo, a sensational artist from Japan. She has done various versions of it on CD and video, including one with a jazz piano trio and a big string section. The title , roughly translated means “As you like” 2. Carbon Footprint This tune is a feature for burning footwork based on “rhythm changes” a common 32-bar structure for jazz performers and composers. 3. Wet Foot Blues is a fun blues number born at the Portland Sat urday Market where I occasionally perform Need I say? It was raining that day. 4. When it’s Sleepy Time Down South This was Louis Armstrong’s theme song later in his career, and Pops has always been one of my all-time idols since I saw him on TV as a kid. We take it even further south with a bossa feel. 5. La Lluvia (the Rain) I wrote this several winters ago on a kid’s Casio sitting at my performing partner Rhys Thomas’s kitchen table. It was raining that day too. 6. Waking Up in Mexico I actually wrote this one in Japan one morning as I woke up at a friend’s house after a night of music and visiting. Since I was sleeping in his studio with my head next to the piano I immediately worked it out and wrote it down. The song is featured in my comedy video “Jump Start” on youtube. 7. Isezaki-cho Blues is a noir-ish Japanese Rumba. Isezaki-cho is a shopping street in Yokohama, Japan, where I spent time busking on nights I was not gigging. It had been the center of a bustling post-war jazz scene in the 1950’s. The famed singer Misora Hibari came from the neighborhood. Guys used to stop and listen, pretending they were Humphrey Bogart while they enjoyed a cigarette. last time I was there it had become a mecca for youngish singer/guitarists. 8. The Strawberry Waltz I felt the record needed a waltz and I loved this one by my daughter Isabel Sakura who wrote this at age 11. 9. Fuego Azul (Silk Road) This piece led off my last CD, Trio Calzador, from 2003. I wanted to show a different side of it with the drums and piano, using the same setting on the Tappercussion Mark VII e-tap instrument 10.Raptapsody in Blue I originally performed this one at the 1993 JazzTap/HipHop festival in Boston. I recorded it in 1994 as a solo piece on my 1st CD, World Beat Ragtime, but I wanted to give it the full band treatment. 11. Remember My Forgotten Man I discovered this great Harry Warren song when I got the DVD of Gold Diggers of 1933, a depression-era behind-the-scenes musical with Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, and Dick Powell with elaborate choreography by Busby Berkely. In an early scene the song is done as a demo for the producer character and then closes the show as a huge production number. I was struck by the relevance of the lyrics to the current situation of war veterans and the unemployed and homeless. I also really love the dramatic intervals and mood of the song. 12. Wilt’s Walk Wilt’s Walk is a bass clarinet feature I use on variety gigs for puppet characters and comic effect. Shoehorn - CAFE CIRQUE Michael Shoehorn Conley: Alto Saxophone, Tap Dance, Tappercussion Mark VI e-tap instrument (tracks 9,10), Harmonica (3,10), Vocal(3,10), Clarinet (10), Fife (10), Bass Clarinet (12) Ward Griffiths : Drums Dan Gaynor : Piano, Organ (3,10) Skip Elliott Bowman: Bass Michael Shoehorn Conley has been described as a Neo-Vaudevillian Jazz Master. He was inspired to develop his special combination of talents by his love of various forms of musical expression, from folk and blues to jazz, musical comedy and world music. While he occasionally forays into free jazz and hard bop, the instincts of a true entertainer permeate all that he does. This also enables him to interface with variety performers of various stripes, for whom he improvises intricately timed live soundtracks in theatrical performances. In addition to various saxophones and clarinets, he plays harmonica, fife, keyboards, percussion & drums, sings in 3 languages, and writes poems and lyrics. He also invented and built his own tap dance interface for electronics, the TAPPERCUSSION MARK VI e-tap instrument TAPPERCUSSION, e-tap, and Cafe Cirque are trademarks of Michael Shoehorn Conley Track list: all songs by Michael Conley, kutsubera music, except as noted 1. Okonomide (Shiina Ringo, Kronekodow ) 2. Carbon Footprint 3. Wet Foot Blues 4. When it’s Sleepy Time Down South (Rene, Rene & Muse) 5. La Lluvia (the Rain) 6. Waking Up in Mexico 7. Isezaki-cho Blues (Youichi Suzuki, Victor Japan) 8. The Strawberry Waltz Isabel Sakura Conley 9. Fuego Azul (Silk Road) 10.Raptapsody in Blue 11.Remember My Forgotten Man (Harry Warren) 12. Wilt’s Walk Recorded to analog tape, mixed and mastered by Billy Oskay at Big Red Studio in Oregon, January and February 2008. Thanks to Klaus Heyne & Alan Garren for providing customized microphones and vintage electronics. Acknowledgements: Shoehorn would also like to thank Kurumi Conley, Eileen Konomi & Isabel Sakura, Dr. Olando Tognozzi, Bert Wilson, Bob Mover, Joe Donato, Rhys Thomas, David Lichtenstein, David Carlos Valdez, Pere Soto, Prince Spencer, Savion, Dianne Walker, Brenda Buffalino, Roxy and Max, Artis, Baby Gramps, Curtis Chamberlain, Chuck et al at Wally’s Music Service, Stevie G., “William Batty”, Jeri Doud, Gerry Slate, Mark Z., Hiroko, Mampei and Oka-a-chan, Multnomah County Library, and last but not least, Kristin, Jeffrey, and William & Elizabeth Conley

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