Born: August 20, 1942 Primary Instrument: Piano
Michael was born in Columbus, Ohio and at the age of three his family moved to San Diego, California where he would start his musical career. At the age of five, Michael's parents purchased a spinet piano for his birthday. And, within a few months, he was learning to play the piano from recordings. Much to his father's chagrin, he gravitated toward the blues and boogie. By the time he was six, he had actually learned how to play a little of each. This however, appalled his Italian father, who had aspirations for his son to become a classical pianist. Michael's grandfather was from the old country and the family listened to opera and great classical pianists every Sunday at the family dinner. Michael, therefore, spent his next seven years taking classical lessons.
When he was in the ninth grade, he used to go to the choir room after school and play the piano. It was there that he met a tenor sax player named Ronnie who played in a rock and roll - rhythm and blues band. He asked Michael if he wanted to audition. After being accepted, he spent the next four-and-a-half years in heaven. The band was HOT, even opening for acts like Johnny Cash and Jimmy Durante. Mr. Durante's piano player didn't show up, and Jimmy was very gracious and asked Michael to play for him!
After high school, Michael enlisted in the Air Force Band, where he met John Kaufman, a musical genius, who mentored him for the next three years. For a total of six years, he was steeped in music and surrounded by wonderful musicians in the Armed Forces Bands. During this time, he performed for two U.S. Presidents, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, and numerous dignitaries.
Upon his discharge from the service, Michael played in clubs and hotels in the L.A. area with many distinguished musicians including: Bassists: Luther Hughes, John Pattitucci, John Clayton and Monty Budwig; Drummers: Jake Hanna, Jeff Hamilton, Carl Burnett, Art Rodriguez and Nick Martinez; Guitarists: John Paisano, Ron Eschete and Frank Potenza; Vocalists: Stephanie Haynes and Tierney Sutton. In 1988, he became Musical Director for the singer, Jack Jones. The gig with Jack was a real learning experience, very musical, and he had the privilege of conducting and performing with some of the finest musicians in the U.S. and Europe.
He gives thanks to the Lord for his gift and to the many fellow musicians, close friends and fans for their continuing encouragement and support.
At this time, Michael resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Emma and Baldwin.
- DON GORDON, KIPO-FM 89.3, Oahu, HI
Wonderful different arrangement of the standards, plus some Gene Harris-like blues and swinging bossas.
- JOE ROTHMAN, West Coast Jazz Party, Los Angeles, CA
Michael B swings like mad!
- HELEN BORGERS, KJAZZ (KKJZ-FM 88.1), Los Angeles, CA
There are a lot of jazz pianists out there these days, but here's one who has studied the masters, incorporated those influences into his own personal approach, and wraps it all (on Dem's Da Breaks) with a mighty fine ensemble.
- JIM SANTELLA, All About Jazz
Michael has captured the spirit of the music and artists who influenced him in his new CD, Dem's Da Breaks. He is an exquisite pianist with an obvious love of the music. I'm keeping this one right next to my CD player!
- JANIE HARRIS (Mrs. Gene Harris), radio show host
Michael B plays Jazz with sophistication and class. His influences are present--yet balanced--in his playing, which creates an enjoyable, unique sound. A splendid selection of tunes performed with controlled emotion, Dem's Da Breaks is a great break for us, the listeners. It is a welcome addition to my collection.
- BRUCE PULVER, writer, Jazzreview.com
Michael B excites with his chops while playing deep in the keys like the late Gene Harris. I think he has a Brazilian soul that likes to play the sensual style of bossa nova. Actually, I am convinced he can play any style he chooses and do it well.
- JEANNIE BLACK, bossa2nova
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.