Originally from Kingston Ontario, Mike kicked off his performing career in Montreal winning the 1987 Lowenbrau Quebec Jazz Search as a member of an exciting hard bop sextet comprised of jazz alumni from McGill University. During ten years on the Montreal scene he performed hundreds of gigs including dozens of concerts at the Montreal Int. Jazz festival with top musicians Jon Ballantyne, Pete Magadini, Jan Jarczyk, Andre White, Dave Laing, Avishai Cohen and Ted Warren. Mike also recorded albums and radio shows with Kenny Wheeler, Don Thompson, Kevin Dean, Knut Haugsoen, Don Friedman and Peter
Leitch. His big break came in 1990 when he was invited to join his idol Canadian guitar-legend Sonny Greenwich’s group, an honour made even more significant by the fact that Sonny hadn’t chosen to have a tenor player in his group since the mid-1970s. The Sonny Greenwich Quintet of the early 1990s went on to perform sold-out concerts at the Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa jazz festivals. The band then recorded Standard Idioms, an album which was nominated for both JUNO and FELIX awards as Best Jazz Album of 1993 and is considered by many to be one of Sonny’s finest. It was as a member of Sonny’s band that Mike’s playing began to crystallize into what Joseph Blake (Victoria Times) calls “organically constructed tangents of inspired improvisation…economical statements with an emotive power”; for that and many other reasons Sonny’s music and friendship continues to be an important source of inspiration to Mike. Mike left Sonny’s band in the mid-1990s to move to New York City and study with Joe Lovano, then continued on to San Francisco to work with Joe Henderson to further refine his sound. Since settling in Vancouver in 1995 he has become a force on the west coast jazz scene where he has held regular gigs at several jazz venues and hosted the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s official nightly jam session for over 15 years. As jam session host he has performed alongside hundreds of visiting international jazz stars including Wynton Marsalis, Chris Potter, Dave Liebman, Antonio Sanchez, and Chucho Valdes among others. He regularly tours throughout Canada, performs in the US and Europe, and has recorded 14 albums as a leader. His groups have performed for Princes Charles, William and Harry of England (during their Royal Visit to BC in the late 1990s) and for Prime Minister Jean Chretien and President Bill Clinton. Mike is featured in Mark Miller’s “Companion to Jazz in Canada” and has a
Masters degree in Jazz Performance from New York University.