Shannon is a featured critic in the documentary UNIVERSE, the rediscovered orchestral suite written by Wayne Shorter over 50 years ago for Miles Davis. It was left unrecorded and untouched until now by Davis' protégé, the late trumpeter Wallace Roney.

UNIVERSE made its North American premiere on November 11th as an official selection of DOC NYC.

About Shannon

Shannon Ali (Shannon J. Effinger) has been a freelance arts journalist and cultural critic for over a decade. Her writing on all things jazz and music regularly appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR Music, Pitchfork, Bandcamp, EBONY, Jazziz, Jazzwise, and Downbeat, among others.


Recent Work

Shannon penned the liner notes for the new album LIVE by Angel Bat Dawid and Tha Brothahood. Recorded mainly at Haus der Berliner Festspiele during JazzFest Berlin in fall 2019, the performance was an impassioned response to the racism both she and her bandmates faced on the first stop of their European tour. This 140-gram vinyl release includes a gatefold cover, featuring a translation of her notes into German, courtesy of journalist Julian Brimmers.

Writing by Shannon

5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Ornette Coleman

New York Times | November 2, 2022

Mal Waldron, sideman to jazz greats, gets a solo retrospective

The Washington Post | September 30, 2022

By Shannon J. Effinger

Somi pays tribute to Miriam Makeba, on album and on stage

The Washington Post | May 19, 2022

By Shannon J. Effinger

Reflecting on the wisdom of our jazz elders

NPR | December 21, 2021

by Shannon J. Effinger

Melanie Charles knows the impact Black women have had on jazz

The Washington Post | November 12, 2021

by Shannon J. Effinger

Lee Morgan’s ‘Live at the Lighthouse’ was a masterpiece that turned out to be a farewell

The Washington Post | August 27, 2021

by Shannon J. Effinger

The continued impact of jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove

The Washington Post | July 16, 2021

by Shannon J. Effinger

How George Benson Turned an Early ‘No’ Into a Career of ‘Yes’

The New York Times | November 12, 2020

By Shannon J. Effinger