In 2012, after years of performing mostly Brazilian and Latin influenced original music, guitarist Michael Joseph Harris began studying and playing the music of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt which led to the creation of The Hot Club of Baltimore later that same year. Harris then formed the band Ultrafaux in 2014 to perform his original Gypsy Jazz compositions. In 2015, Harris founded and remained Artistic Director for Charm City Django Jazz Fest which is the only annual Jazz festival in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael was named one of the top ten musicians by Baltimore Style Magazine and he was featured on a full spread article in The Baltimore Sun Weekend Section as well as Baltimore Magazine.
Harris has self-produced 8 full-length Reinhardt-inspired recordings with both groups since 2014. Harris’ songs Latcho Dromo and Signs of Struggle were chosen to be included on an International compilation of the best Gypsy Jazz in the world produced by Jon Larsen called Django Festival #9 & #11. Hot Club of Baltimore’s recording of Place de Brouckere was featured on Django Festival #10 making Harris one of the only artists featured consecutive years. Michael’s most recent album Tangent introduces a larger Ultrafaux Ensemble, comprised of top guest artists from the jazz, folk, and bluegrass scene including Jason Anick, Patrick McAvinue, Giacomo Smith, Connor Stewart and Dallas Vietty.
Michael Joseph Harris and Ultrafaux have performed at Festival Django Reinhardt in Fontainebleau, The Kennedy Center in DC, Charm City Django Jazz Festival in Baltimore, Django by the Sea in Maine, Django-A-Gogo in New York, The Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival in Wisconsin, Napa Valley Jazz Society in California, Djangoary in Virginia, Django Birthday Festival in Asheville North Carolina, Valhalla Boathouse Theater in South Lake Tahoe, Red Poppy Arthouse in San Francisco, Jazz Club Lyon St. Georges in Lyon France, Art Base in Brussels, and IMT Folk Series in Maryland, and they continue to tour the United States, Europe, the UK and Canada. In 2018, Harris performed at Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival in England with violinist Daniel John Martin and will be returning to perform again there in June, 2020.
Michael began playing guitar at the age of 12 and quickly became skilled in jazz by age 16, winning accolades as guitarist with the Downbeat Magazine award-winning Chantilly High Jazz Band. Harris learned many styles of guitar playing by ear and through private instruction with guitarist Rick Whitehead of the Airmen of Note during high school, then later with the legendary Jazz educator Jack Petersen at North Texas State University. The young guitarist favored learning by experience to the structure of formal education and soon began performing non-stop with his own projects in various styles including straight ahead jazz, original rock, funk, fusion, blues, Latin, Brazilian, and jam band music influenced by the style of Congolese guitarist Franco.