Mike Jones

Mike Jones

Instrument: Piano | Location: Las Vegas

The most remarkable pure technique of any piano player working in jazz today…
—Neil Tesser, Chicago Music

Updated: January 21, 2021

Born: August 11, 1962

Specifically, Mike Jones performs music from what’s become known as the Great American Songbook for more people each year than any jazz pianist in the world. Really. This is because, as music director for the enduringly popular Penn & Teller Show in Las Vegas and other venues across the globe, he plays these classic standards in the “warm-up” hour – and during and between the onstage magic – for the millions of visitors who attend the show. In a career spanning four decades, Jones has wowed audiences with his virtuoso skills and stylistic flair – nowhere to greater acclaim than at the sold-out houses in New York that marked Penn and Teller’s 2015 six-week return to Broadway.

In general? Mike Jones plays the piano as if had more than 88 notes and as if each of his fingers were Usain Bolt.

How He Does It Mike Jones is a thoroughly modern throwback to what used to be called the “two-handed pianist,” which is not as obvious as it sounds. The term describes a jazz pianist who makes full use of the entire range of the instrument, and whose left hand prowess matches that of his right. Early jazz styles such as Stride and classic Swing offer prime meat for such virtuosic pianists, and when it comes to most effectively demonstrating the durable beauty of these idioms, Mike Jones has drawn plenty of praise as the modern master of these styles. Small wonder, since Jones used two of history’s greatest such pianists – the peerless Oscar Peterson and the latter-day stride exponent Dave McKenna – as his early models.

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Mike Jones- “Stretches Out” “As a jazz pianist, Jones commands a lavish arsenal of formidable weapons: the rumbling bass lines of an Erroll Garner or Dave McKenna, the meteoric right-hand phrasings of an Art Tatum or Bud Powell, the awesome chops of an Oscar Peterson or McCoy Tyner, the natural rhythmic swing of a Hampton Hawes or Horace Silver, the unerring taste and sensitivity of a Kenny Barron, Hank Jones or Bill Evans.” - Jack Bowers, Cadence Magazine ”Even if pianist Mike Jones provided nothing but the keyboard virtuosity for which he is developing a national reputation, he would be well worth hearing. But Jones brings much more to this tour de force recording, which places him in a league with such superior solo pianists as Dick Hyman and Dave McKenna.” -Howard Reich, Los Angeles Times

“The Most remarkable pure technique of any piano player working in jazz today...over the course of three solo albums, Mike Jones has quietly established himself as the successor to the stupefyingly virtousic Oscar Peterson, in much the same way Peterson took the baton from the previously peerless Art Tatum in the 1950's.” -Neil Tesser,

“Mike Jones is a true virtuoso, a two-handed pianist who often recalls Oscar Peterson while throwing in some heated stride now and then, along with basslines worthy of Dave McKenna” -Scott Yanow, Cadence Magazine

“He displays a ferociously driving independence of right and left-hand lines...and a reflective lyricism tastefully distant from the floral bouquets of other chops-endowed pianists.” -Jack Sohmer, JAZZ TIMES

“He is after (Dave) Mc Kenna, the great living Mainstream Monster of jazz piano, with great taste in standards and a sense of swing strong enough to rock the reading room of the British Museum

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Primary Instrument

Piano

Location

Las Vegas

Clinic/Workshop Information

Mike talks about the history of jazz piano including demonstrations of different styles, and most specifically about solo playing. Students are encouraged to play in a master class environment, with Mike providing insight and helpful ideas to improve their playing.

Links

ALL VIDEOS

Mike Jones Albums