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Mike Garson

From Bach to Bowie, east coast to west coast, piano keyboards to computer keyboards, Mike has worked to make the world a more creative, compassionate and compelling place. He remains a man of many talents and limitless inspiration. No artistic medium is off-limits to this avant-garde individual to whom the word "no" is quickly - and seemingly effortlessly - transformed into the word "now."

Best known for his impressive skills as a pianist, he is a respected composer and a budding computer artist. Embracing the idea of the "Renaissance Man," Mike continually experiments with new ways through which he can communicate his humanistic ideals.

Mike's story begins at the age of seven, when he began to study the classics. He was drawn magnetically to the piano and by his fourteenth birthday Mike was modifying complex Chopin and Mozart compositions to suit his ear for embellishment.

By his late teens, Mike discovered jazz and the allure of improvisation - a pivotal moment in his artistic development. Mike is now considered one of the greatest musical improvisers of his era.

In fact, his exceptional improvisational abilities were a highlight of the January 2004 Keyboard Magazine cover story featuring Mike.

Mike's love of improvisation is most evident in the signature style of musical composition he has developed under the NOW! MUSIC® brand. Unveiled in 1995, this innovative approach to contemporary composing transfers his knowledge of improvisation into the classical realm. Using a Yamaha Disklavier piano, Mike composes sonatas, nocturnes, ballades and concertos in real-time. The result is refreshing, inspirational and always original music.

Mike's inaugural NOW! MUSIC® album, released in 1998, was followed by the 2004 release of "Homage to My Heroes," another independent album recorded in a similar style. He has also recorded twelve traditional solo albums including "Admiration," "Avant Garson," "Gershwin Fantasia," "Jazzical," "Mystery Man," "The Oxnard Sessions, Volumes I and II," "Serendipity" and "Remember Love."

Beyond his NOW! MUSIC® pieces, Mike has many years of traditional composing to his credit. Over the course of his career, Mike has written several thousand pieces of music in a variety of genres. While many artists prefer to remain within one genre, Mike remains open to artistic expression in any format.

"If I am truly passionate about what I do, that feeling can inspire people who receive my art," Garson believes. "As a musician I'm not concerned with whether I play jazz, rock, classical, or pop so long as it's creative."

It stands to reason that, when Mike sits down at a keyboard, the result is usually a passionate musical performance. However, while touring with the Smashing Pumpkins in late 2000, Garson discovered another creative outlet: the computer keyboard. Using various programs on his MAC laptop, Garson has designed imaginative imagery in much the same way that he composes his NOW! MUSIC®. On April 12, 2004, Portland's Brian Marki Fine Art Gallery hosted a premiere reception of his avant-garde artwork.

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David Bowie
It is pointless to talk about his ability as a pianist. He is exceptional. However, there are very, very few musicians, let alone pianists, who naturally understand the movement and free thinking necessary to hurl themselves into experimental or traditional areas of music, sometimes, ironically, at the same time. Mike does this with such enthusiasm that it makes my heart glad just to be in the same room with him.

Billy Corgan, Alternative Press (October, 1999)
Of the whole lot, Mike is the true genius; we are all just toys in his atonal wonderland.

Billy Corgan, Addicted to Noise (September 5, 1999)
He's a master piano [player]... he was the first person who probably introduced my young mind to the concept of atonality. Bowie's music at the time in the '70s was the first music I ever heard that I thought, 'This is different, where did this come from?'

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Conversations With My...

Resonance Records
2008

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Reflections

Love Records
1985

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Jazzical

Love Records
1982

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The Mystery and the Awe

From: Conversations With My Family
By Mike Garson

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