Michelle Shocked – Ready to Rumba

Gary Topp presents Michelle Shocked featuring Max Pollak and Nicki Denner.

November 16, 2019: Shows at 6p.m. & 9p.m.

An awfully authoritative-sounding internet rock guide insists that Michelle Shocked’s life must be fiction. But if it seems like an incredible road movie, a tall tale, a legend, it is no mystery. Michelle Shocked set forth on her adventure ever so young but ever so determined to jump past, jump through, jump beyond any boundary that held her back.

Shocked received her first international exposure, in Europe, in 1986, with her debut, The Texas Campfire Tapes, a bootleg recorded around a festival campfire on a cassette recorder. She signed a contract in 1987 with (now) Universal, retaining ownership of her masters, (likely preventing them from being burned in the 2008 vault fire.) Her U.S. debut came with The Mercury Trilogy; her 1988 studio album, Short Sharp Shocked; vignettes of her early life in rural East Texas. Captain Swing, released in 1989, and Arkansas Traveler, released in 1992. She maintains all these intellectual property rights, In 1995, “Quality of Mercy” was on the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning film Dead Man Walking. In 1996, she released a studio version of an underground release, Kind Hearted Woman. In 2002, she launched her own Mighty Sound label and released Deep Natural. In 2003-04 she reissued her Mercury Trilogy. In 2005 she released a new trilogy, Threesome (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Mexican Standoff, Got No Strings) simultaneously. In 2007, a bootleg recording, ToHeavenURide, was officially released. Her most recent studio release was in 2009, Soul of My Soul. In 2013, Shocked launched her performance art ‘epic exploit’ Truth Vs Reality, and her most recent studio effort, Musical Chairs: A Comparsa for Artist Rights is due for release in late 2019. Shocked continues her creative endeavours as an independent artist and currently lives in Manhattan.

Max Pollak is a virtuoso tap dancer from Austria, has been rummaging in Afro-Cuban rumba rhythms since 1996. He became known for his work in percussive dance, world music, tap dance, and choreography. He created "RumbaTap", which merged American Rhythm Tap with Afro-Cuban music and dance. Max is the only non-Cuban member of the Afro-Cuban Rumba and folklore ensemble, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.

Pianist/composer/arranger Nicki Denner has been a part of the New York Latin and jazz music scene since 1999. She has performed around the world with artists ranging from Sheila E, tap star Savion Glover to Cuba's percussionist Cándido and is the musical director of the all-female salsa band, Cocomama.


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