“Blues Then and Now.” Lydia Harrell and Mark Shilansky perform a set of original compositions and arrangements of early 20th century American songbook tunes and traditional folk melodies. They all incorporate the blues in some way, from an emotional standpoint, in their musical form, or in their instrumental and vocal embellishment. In moods ranging from intimate and empathetic on the ballads to funky and kinetic on the faster tunes, Shilansky’s piano and Harrell’s voice (and ukulele) create a sound that is larger than the sum of their parts.
Mark Shilansky, who many PBNers will know from previous engagements as VIP pianist in both the Taylor Haskins Quartet AND Fugue Mill, would like to introduce us to a new collaborator – the outstanding vocalist Lydia Harrell. Both Mark and Lydia are the quintessential gig musicians who regularly and seamlessly move from one dynamic group to the next, skillfully blending their personal creative styles into new and exciting textures. Their originality, flexibility, and resourcefulness are the traits that musicians train their entire lives to learn. And the Piano by Nature audience will reap the rewards of their refinement in this extraordinary concert! And once again, all you have to do to enjoy this special event is to press the link.
On February 6th at 7PM Piano by Nature will present a zoom concert free of charge to all that wish to join us, including a live appearance of Mark Shilansky and Lydia Harrell. All you have to do is sign-up to our email list located on our website www.pianobynature.org. And if you cannot join us on the 6th, or if you’d like to watch it again, just go to our website and enjoy the link as many times as you want for 2 weeks after the zoom event. We look forward to seeing you on the 6th!
And for those who have not met Mark Shilansky and Lydia Harrell, below is some additional information to give you just a peek into their fascinating musical spheres!
About Mark Shilansky
Inventive, modern mainstream jazz pianist” (Jon Garelick, Boston Globe) Mark Shilansky provides melodic improvisation and infectious compositions on his own and to a host of jazz luminaries, such as Luciana Souza and the New York Voices, as well as to the classroom, as a professor at Berklee College of Music and the University of New Hampshire. Shilansky’s six recordings as a leader include 2007’s “Join the Club,” a mostly Latin Jazz affair featuring David Bowie saxist Donny McCaslin and Westport, NY’s own Taylor Haskins, and 2013’s “Fugue Mill,” the eponymous debut of his Jazz/Bluegrass/Celtic project featuring violin phenom Sara Caswell, and he is featured on over 60 recordings as a keyboardist, vocalist, composer/arranger, or producer. As an artist he embraces the history of the styles in which he works, while seeking connections between them as a way of expressing a personal musical vision, characterized by lush harmonies, the exploration of the line between composition and improvisation, and an ever-present sense of humor. His works have been recorded by Robin McKelle, Kim Nazarian, and by Jazz All-State and College ensembles around the world.
About Lydia Harrell
Lydia “The LovelySinger” Harrell is one of Boston’s finest musical treasures. Her sultry, soulful voice and evocative songwriting have garnered her the attention and respect of the nation’s finest musicians and venues. Jazz/Soul is where her heart is, however, Lydia has shown an unbreakable ability to mold herself into any musical situation. Be it performing with the Boston Pops, serenading NBA fans with America’s National Anthem, or lending her vocal talents to a chart-topping deep house singles by British record label, Reel People Music, Lydia’s dedication to extracting the pure essence of song goes virtually unmatched.
Lydia consistently performs in more than 150 shows a year not only as a solo act, but also in collaborations with other artists such as world-renowned jazz musician, Bobby Floyd and as one-half of the duo “The Lady Parts” providing backing vocals for Zap Mama, Ryan Montbleau, Albert Cummings and more.
Her most recent musical accolades include singing lead on a Bob Marley Tribute Album distributed by Sony Music Latin, winning the 2015 Duke Ellington Jazz Vocal Competition, performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC (2016), winning the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Voice Competition and winner of the “Best Of” awards for Best Song at the 48 Hour Film Project Boston.
In addition to her accomplishments as a musical artist, Lydia is a film/TV, voiceover and theatre actress. She has appeared in many commercials, films and theatre productions. She is currently, postponed restrictions due to the pandemic, in the New Repertory Theatre production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” playing the role of the one and only Billie Holiday. She is also a Voice instructor at, one of the top music colleges in the world, Berklee College of Music.