Dem's Da Breaks
Biography Michael was born in Columbus, Ohio and at the age of three his family moved to San Diego, California where he would start his musical career. At the age of five, Michael's parents purchased a spinet piano for his birthday. And, within a few months, he was learning to play the piano from recordings. Much to his father's chagrin, he gravitated toward the blues and boogie. By the time he was six, he had actually learned how to play a little of each. This however, appalled his Italian father, who had aspirations for his son to become a classical pianist. Michael's grandfather was from the 'old country' and the family listened to opera and great classical pianists every Sunday at the family dinner. Michael, therefore, spent his next seven years taking classical lessons. When he was in the ninth grade, he used to go to the choir room after school and play the piano. It was there that he met a tenor sax player named Ronnie who played in a rock and roll - rhythm and blues band. He asked Michael if he wanted to audition. After being accepted, he spent the next four-and-a-half years in heaven. The band was HOT, even opening for acts like Johnny Cash and Jimmy Durante. Mr. Durante's piano player didn't show up, and Jimmy was very gracious and asked Michael to play for him! After high school, Michael enlisted in the Air Force Band, where he met John Kaufman, a musical genius, who mentored him for the next three years. For a total of six years, he was steeped in music and surrounded by wonderful musicians in the Armed Forces Bands. During this time, he performed for two U.S. Presidents, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, and numerous dignitaries. Upon his discharge from the service, Michael played in clubs and hotels in the L.A. area with many distinguished musicians including: Bassists: Luther Hughes, John Pattitucci, John Clayton and Monty Budwig; Drummers: Jake Hanna, Jeff Hamilton, Carl Burnett, Art Rodriguez and Nick Martinez; Guitarists: John Paisano, Ron Eschete and Frank Potenza; Vocalists: Stephanie Haynes and Tierney Sutton. In 1988, he became Musical Director for the singer, Jack Jones. The gig with Jack was a real learning experience and very musical. He left Jack in 1993 due to pressing family reasons. Michael's wife, JoAnne passed away in late October 2005. She was his greatest fan and her wish was for him to continue playing, recording, composing and teaching music. Michael dedicates his accomplishments to her memory. He would like to thank his close friends and fellow musicians for their encouragement and support. At this time, Michael resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Emma and Baldwin.
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