Born in Salford in 1962, Mike started relatively late in music at age sixteen, picking up his brother's guitar and re-tuning it to trace the lush chords that had initially caught his ear in early Joni Mitchell songs and Weather Report instrumentals.
He became an avid fan of Steely Dan and copped Larry Carlton solos by ear, as well as the rich harmonies and quirky melodic twists of Fagen and Becker.
The obvious jazz influence that permeates much of that music lead him to look back and dig deeper into the history and mystery of jazz and some of its major protagonists including Ed Bickert, Joe Pass and Jim Hall, as well as the great exponents of piano, sax and trumpet such as Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard.
Influenced in many directions from rock (his brother, Alan) song (his sister, Bet) and a broad spectrum of jazz (his brother, Paul), Mike became noted for his ability to be creative in a number of musical settings.
Mike has performed and recorded with Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Steve Rodby, Palle Danielson, Arild Anderson, Peter Erskine, Adam Nussbaum, John Marshall, Bob Moses, Bill Frisell, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Mike Gibbs, Mark Anthony Turnage, Tal Farlow, Palle Mikkelborg, Mica Paris and Norma Winstone.
He toured Europe and the United States and recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra with whom he was a member for eighteen years.
In May 2008, Mike released his debut album Madhouse and the Whole Thing There to wide critical acclaim. It features strings, French horn, piano, brass section and vocals. Also, in 2008, Mike was commissioned to write for the Manchester Jazz Festival. He wrote a suite called Ropes which featured a 22-piece orchestra and jazz quintet, with Adam Nussbaum on drums. The suite was performed at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester to a packed theatre and received a standing ovation.
He has also been writing for a new group he co-leads with the brilliant British piano player, Gwilym Simcock, called The Impossible Gentlemen which also features the fantastic pairing of Adam Nussbaum and Steve Swallow. They have toured extensively in Europe and the UK and have recorded two albums.
Fri 20th Dec
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