Mike’s musical journey began on the north shore in Massachusetts. Having always loved music as a child, he sang in grade school groups whenever possible, and made his first noises on an instrument when he followed his older stepbrother on drums. Becoming a major fan and researcher of music from the Woodstock generation, Mike soon found himself enthralled by the sounds of the guitar, as introduced to him by his dad, who had played in ’60’s bands, providing Mike his first serious outlet for making emulating his blues and rock heros of the previous decades. At 12 years old, he had his first guitar, a nylon-strung acoustic guitar, which he dabbled on, but preferred the drums for the time being. From a modest junior high school introduction to music, Mike then became serious about the guitar, bought an oldies book, learned a myriad of chords and songs, and found himself with his first electric guitar before the next school year. He was introduced to jazz in junior high school after being drafted into the school’s jazz band. This led to a new world of friendships and connections to peers who had been studying and practicing their own instruments for probably a a third of their lifetime (3-4 years at least!). Mike’s interest in music quickly ramped up to take part in the only rock band in the high school, playing behind the school chorus on rock numbers, being a featured soloist in the high school jazz band, singing in the general chorus as well as the extra-curricular elite singing group. There was certainly no other choice for Mike as he finished high school but to head for Berklee College of Music for intense music training. Discovering new influences such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, John McLaughlin, Kenny Burrell, etc., much of the next decade was spent adding his stylings to many of the New England area’s top function bands, improvising bluesy lines with the rhythmic and harmonic diversity found in jazz. The improvisational concepts of jazz and blues became key in his discovery of New Orleans funk, along with phrasing and groove. In the spirit of this newfound groove, Mike collaborated with a few local music legends, founding Trick Bag, New England’s favorite New Orleans-inspired funk ensemble. Mike continues to work around the New England area freelance, playing funk, blues, reggae, latin, rock, and jazz styles.
- Jessica Van
- Gabriela Sepulveda