is one of the most in-demand percussionists in the state of Michigan. Well versed in
the styles of jazz, world, folk, rock, and classical music, he continually proves to be a valuable asset to
any musical project. Graduating from Western Michigan University in 2006 with a Bachelor's Degree in
Music Performance, Michael studied under the instruction of Judy Moonert, Billy Hart, and Keith Hall.
In 2007 he was awarded the Irving S. Gilmore Emerging Artist Grant from the Kalamazoo Arts Council,
which allowed him to begin studies with world-renowned percussionist, Jamey Haddad. In this ongoing
relationship, Michael continues to study drum set, hand percussion, and rhythm.
While still in music school, Michael joined his first major professional musical project: Millish, an Ann
Arbor-based Irish-fusion group. Millish introduced Michael to performing at major music festivals across
the country, studio recording, and multitude of international performances (including tours in Germany,
Ireland, and Scotland).
At the same time, Michael was playing percussion in Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet, a group formed at
Western Michigan University. Founded by saxophonist Aaron Kruziki, the ensemble played a mix of
Piazzolla-inspired tangos, middle-eastern music, and American jazz. The group was awarded with multiple
DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, including "Best Jazz Group," and "Best Classical Chamber
Ensemble", and was invited to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in
New York City in 2006, and at a concert in Tunis, Tunisia in 2008.
Around 2005, Michael met Michigan musicians Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, when Millish was invited
to play at Bernard's Earthwork Harvest Gathering music festival. Michael was blown away by the duo's
live performance. In 2006, he was asked by Bernard to play with him in Kalamazoo, MI, which soon led
to Michael being invited to play drums on Erlewine's upcoming album ("Mother Moon"), and almost all
of Seth and May's releases since (all of which appear on Earthwork Music--a Michigan based musical
collective that not only acts as a record label, but promotes raising community and self-awareness through
the power of music). On the Earthwork label alone, Michael has performed on almost 20 albums with over
10 groups, and has earned a reputation as "the guy who plays with everybody" in the Michigan music
scene, and still is touring regularly with Seth and May.
From 2008-2012, Michael was a member of the Kalamazoo based band The Red Sea Pedestrians. Mixing
original folk music with Eastern-European styles and rock n roll, the music of this group allowed Michael
to utilize his own style of combining drum set and hand percussion. He can be heard on the releases
"Adrift", and "The Electromagnetic Escape".
In 2008, Michael was recruited by Ann Arbor based harmonica legend Peter Madcat Ruth to play in the
acoustic blues quartet Madcat, Kane, & Maxwell Street. This group released their first CD, "Live at
the Creole Gallery" in 2009 and has been performing regularly since. Michael also currently plays with
Madcat in a louder, electric setting called Madcat Midnight Blues Journey.
The most recent project is "the olllam" with fellow Millish band mate Tyler Duncan, and Irish uilleann
piper/whistle player John McSherry. In February 2012 the trio wrote and recorded an original album
together, overcoming the Atlantic divide by means of the internet - they rehearsed and composed live
on Skype and built the tracks back and forth one part at a time between emails. The group was signed to
Compass Records and plans on touring in the U.S. and Europe in 2013.
And the latest, not-to-be-overlooked news is that Michael was just invited to play percussion for Aretha
Franklin in her concert at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, MI!
What's next? Stay tuned...