Born: September 11, 1946 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
After a recent performance at Yoshi’s, a reviewer enthused that “Michael O’Neill’s saxophone work is extraordinary. He plays with orchestral diction, yet classic jazz chops. It makes him a rare treat.”
A San Diego native, Michael began studying clarinet at age eight. He took up the saxophone at thirteen and performed in school bands and orchestras, later studying composition and arranging in college. After graduate school in Texas, he returned to the Bay Area and studied with the great Joe Henderson.
Michael’s has created several groups of outstanding musicians that feature his original music.. In addition, he has composed scores for documentaries, feature films and television for which he has a long list of credits.
Michael has performed and/or recorded with many jazz greats including Idris Muhammad, Joe Locke, Michael Wolff, Giacomo Gates, Eddie Fisher, Rodney Jones, Kim Nalley, Jackie Ryan, Tony Lindsay, Margie Baker, Akira Tana, Faye Carol, Brenda Boykin, Nicolas Bearde, Jeff Chambers, Rob Schneiderman, Mark Levine, Frank Jackson, Frank Martin, Larry Dunlap, Bobbi Norris, Peter Horvath, Matt Clark, Smith Dobson, Don Haas, Dave Matthews, Michael Bluestein, Omar Clay, Scott Morris and many others.
There are two major Michael O’Neill Quintet CDs, both featuring Kenny Washington’s great vocals, and one with special guest Joe Locke.