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Michael McKinney

Pianist; listener; researcher; star-gazer.

About Me

I'm Michael. I've been playing, listening to, researching, and following jazz in its various forms for most of my life. In the past few years, I've grown most interested in modern jazz that focuses more on texture than structure, but a lot of my favorites do precisely the opposite: Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum, Hancock (when he's a sideman). Jazz has been in my bones forever, and finding my way in it has proven incredibly rewarding.

My Jazz Story

I was first exposed to jazz by playing it. I first played jazz piano in a combo in middle school; I fell in love immediately. No other style of playing had been so based on the chemistry between musicians, on the energy in the room, on reacting to and pushing each other. It's that push and pull that kept me going, even as I fumbled through chord notations I didn't understand. Jazz has been in my bones since: playing in big bands or combos; obsessively researching histories of playing styles; listening to classics and contemporary combos pushing the genre in exciting new directions.

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