Last September, The Loston Harris Trio spent an amazing week in Melbourne Australia at Bird’s Basement. I just discovered this edited video from that engagement. It Features Loston Harris on piano and Gianluca Renzi on bass. Enjoy!
One crazy thing about this quarantine life is that we’re all feeling it. We might be tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, but no-one is immune from the effects. News today about another dear friend passing breaks the spell of this isolated world. Spending my days playing music with my wife and children is a dream come true, but it is spoiled by the horrific nightmare that rages on around us.
Here are several recent videos family videos from the last month of quarantine. From my family to yours.
In light of our current state of isolation due to Covid-19. A lot of us are having more time to practice. Here is my recent YouTube post about 5 elements around which you can organize your daily practice. This is directed primarily towards improvising saxophonists, but will hopefully be useful for all musicians. Take a listen!
Peter Lin is an exceptional trombonist and budding entrepreneur. Since he came on the scene over a decade ago as a student at William Paterson he has distinguished himself as a forward thinking contributor to the jazz community. I was so honored that he asked to interview me as part of his jazz business series produced by his company, Yardbird Suite Entertainment.
This was done on March 10th, just a few days before we all went into isolation because of Covid -19. The last segment about “Mike’s perfect day” is a little too prophetic. I didn’t mean like this! This interview was a long one. We’ve known each other for so long, there was so much to talk about and Peter let me talk! I was surprised with what came out of my own mouth. The interview is indexed so you can bounce around to topics that interest you (See below the video). Enjoy.
Master drummer and producer, Lenny White turns 70 today, December 19th. I’ve been an admirer of Lenny’s since I started listening to jazz. He appears on many albums that have been influential to me. About five years ago I started playing with him in Wallace Roney’s Orchestra and we did several Wallace Roney Quintet gigs together as well. He plays on my newest CD “A Song For All of Us” and has done several gigs supporting this project.
This January Lenny celebrates his milestone birthday with two weekends of performances at Made In New York Jazz Club in Brooklyn. He as a different band each night. I’m beyond excited to be performing with him on January 5th (sets at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm). We’ll be featuring music from my CD on this evening along with Ed Howard, Dave Stryker, and, of course, Lenny White. Check out the full schedule of bands that will be performing for this landmark run of gigs. Other musicians featured will be Buster Williams, Christian McBride, Chris Potter, Dave Liebman, and other luminaries.
I’ve spent a lot of time at Dizzy’s over the last couple of years. Most often I’ve been on my way home from my steady gig at the Carlyle with Loston Harris when I stop into the jam session which was for a long time was hosted by my son, Julian. I have also performed at Dizzy’s with Oliver Lake, Josh Evans, Loston Harris, and even played one week as Julian’s sideman for the late set when he was the late night featured artist. But on March 25th at 9:30 – one set only! – I will be debuting as a leader at the famous Jazz at Lincoln Center night club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-cola in celebration of my new CD “Song For All Of Us” on the IYOUWE record label.
The gig, like the CD, will feature the iconic drummer, Lenny White (Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Chaka Khan), as well as master musicians George Colligan on piano, and Ed Howard on bass. Julian Lee will be joining me in the front line. Please join us for this wonderful evening by reserving tickets here. The video below shows some short snippets from our New Jersey CD release at Clement’s Place last month.
Since my relatively slow schedule this week has allowed me a half a second to take a breath, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on two inspiring tours in Europe to start the year. Thanks to my dear friend the amazing bassist, Gianluca Renzi, we were able to spend most of January and the first half of February in Italy, France, Switzerland and even a pass through London. It’s amazing how strong the love for this American art form is throughout the world and it was a real treat share this music in an intimate trio format (tenor saxophone, bass, and drums) in wonderful venues with exceptional fans.
For the last three years I have been lucky enough to bring the Jazz House Kids Ambassadors combo to the prestigious Charles Mingus competition. Through this process, my love of Charles Mingus’ music has grown exponentially as I study it more deeply to teach it to the members of the group. The event itself allows our students to gain more insight into the music by getting instruction and feedback from the members of the Mingus Big Band. There are panel discussions for us directors in which we gain further insight into the compositions and the genius of Mingus.
On the day of the competition, this past Sunday, we performed “Reincarnation of a Lovebird”, “Portrait”, and “Peggy’s Blue Skylight”. And low and behold they won their category. To make the day complete, our Jazz House Kids Big Band under the direction of Abraham Burton won as well!