When New York was being set ablaze by a hungry group of upstart musicians with names like Brecker, Gadd, Tee and Lee, there was an unassuming yet voracious musician named Michael Abene among them writing voluminous stacks of top shelf charts. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he was the product of a large, warm and passionately musical Italian family. A prodigy as well as an academic wiz, Abene graduated from high school two years early to grace the music world with the expansive range of his artistic gifts. Learning by trial and error while working with the finest musicians known and unsung Michael is primarily self-taught as a pianist and as a composer/arranger. From big band writer to commercial jingle composer, from the Village Vanguard to Carnegie Hall, from Liza Minnelli to B.B. King, from the GRP All-Star Big Band of New York to the WDR Radio Big Band of Cologne, Germany - Michael Abene has been a one-man whirlwind. And his current primary interest is compositions of length for big band and symphony...simultaneously.
Michael Abene (pronounced uh-BAY-NAY) is an intuitive and unusually imaginative composer, arranger, keyboardist and producer whose work has resulted in scores of awards and accolades, including several Grammy nominations for arranging. His music also resulted in Grammy wins for The Duke Ellington Orchestra's Digital Duke, The GRP All-Star Big Band's All Blues and, most recently, Patti Austin's Avant Gershwin. Immensely respected by his peers, Michael has not been as widely recognized outside of this circle if only because his focus has always been on the music - supporting the many talented artists with whom he collaborates with the utmost of musical empathy - instead of publicity and the media spotlight. In his 50 years as a professional musician, he has only recorded one album of his own titled You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby in 1984 (on the Stash label), preferring to work his magic at the service of others.