“Something about the sound Mike DiRubbo elicits from the alto saxophone - deep, dark, immense, with a machete edge that denotes a ready-for-anything urban sensibility - immediately grabs the ear. It’s a sound familiar to the cream of New York’s hardcore jazz community since the mid-‘90’s” writes Ted Panken.
Connecticut-born, New York-based alto saxophonist/bandleader/composer/educator Mike DiRubbo was born on July 25th, 1970. His first instrument was the clarinet, which he started playing in the fourth grade. He switched to alto saxophone at the age of twelve. Largely self-taught, his interest in jazz was sparked when he performed with the Dwike Mitchell/Willie Ruff duo in high school. After graduating high school, DiRubbo enrolled in the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz of the Hartt School, University of Hartford, where legendary jazz alto saxophonist Jackie McLean – who played with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers – personally instructed DiRubbo, who also studied with pianist Hotep Galeta, bassists Nat Reeves and Rick Rozie and classical saxophonist Ken Radnofsky. DiRubbo graduated from college in 1992 with a Bachelor of Music degree, stayed in his home state for a few years, gigging with fellow Hartt School alumnus, trombonist Steve Davis, and later moved to New York City in 1997.
In New York, DiRubbo worked with a wide variety of artists including Eric Alexander, Joe Farnsworth, David Hazeltine, Brian Lynch, Michael Weiss, John Swana, Ronnie Matthews, Essiet Essiet and Harold Mabern. DiRubbo appears as a sideman on Steve Davis’ eight recordings: The Jaunt; Crossfire; Vibe Up!; Systems Blue; Outlook; Live at Smalls, Images and Gettin’ It Done. His other recorded sideman work includes dates with Mario Pavone, Jim Rotondi, Lauren Sevian, Andrew Adair, Dezron Douglas, Brian Charette and Hiromi Kasuga, and can be heard on the Fresh Sounds, Criss Cross, Double Time Jazz, Steeplechase and Knitting Factory labels.