PBS Special: School Sleuth - AIRING NOW

I had a blast back in February recording some saxophone tracks at Bass Hit Studios with Kelsey Jillette (voice), Brad Whiteley (piano), Scott Colberg (bass), and Jay Sawyer (drums).  The music, which included an original standard-type of tune, "I've Been Searching" composed by Kelsey and Brad, as well as incidental music for scenes and montages in a quasi-film noir vein, was composed for the PBS documentary/detective show, School Sleuth.  The show examines the effects of technology in classroom on children and educators, as well as the associated social and philosophical issues.  The episode is airing now on PBS stations across the United States.  It can also be streamed below.  

Next gig: Downtown Music Gallery with Beyond Sextet + Carman Moore


The Beyond Sextet will play at Downtown Music Gallery on October 18, 2015 at 6pm. The above photo and video come from the September 27 gig at ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side. This was my second gig with the ensemble.

In the foreground, Carman Moore conducts the improvisatioins. In the background, from L to R: Bern Nix (guitar), Cheryl Pyle (flute), William Ruiz (percussion), Gene Coleman (piccolo, flute, bass flute), David Tamura (tenor sax), Michael Eaton (soprano sax). The entire four part conduction is posted above, via Cheryl Pyle's YouTube channel. Photo by Haruna Fukazawa.

UPCOMING: October 27, Destiny Records showcase at Cornelia Street Cafe

The Michael Eaton Quartet is proud to be a part of Destiny Records' upcoming artist showcase at Cornelia Street Cafe on October 27, 2015.  The first set at 8:30pm will feature Destiny artists Cameron Mizell (guitar), Brad Whiteley (piano), and Kenneth Salters (drums).  The second set at 10pm will feature the Michael Eaton Quartet (Brad Whiteley, Daniel Ori, Shareef Taher) plus Jon Crowley (trumpet) performing music from Individuation.  

Michael Eaton and Adam Minkoff Present John Coltrane's Ascension

I'm pleased to present our June 8, 2015 performance of John Coltrane's Ascension at ShapeShifter Lab, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its recording.  Many thanks to Michaël Attias, Daniel Carter, Sean Sonderegger, James Brandon Lewis, Briggan Krauss, Dan Brantigan, Jonathan Finlayson, Graham Haynes, Anthony Coleman, Ava Mendoza, Calvin Weston, and Nick Anderson.  A special thank you to Adam Minkoff for all his help, advice, suggestions, and direction.  A big thanks to Dani Gros for realizing our Four for Trane homage photo and poster design - and for encouraging us to find a facsimile of Archie's pipe at the last minute, and a big thanks to Norihiro Kikuta for editing the video.  If you're a fan of the music, the musicians, or of John Coltrane, feel free to share.

The evening received coverage in the NY Times and the Village Voice.

Nate Chinen wrote in the NY Times:

 "'Ascension,' John Coltrane’s mid-1960s supernova, was a work of density and extremity, impossible to replicate under any conditions. But evocation is another story, and this tribute has enough heavy improvisers — like the trumpeters Graham Haynes and Jonathan Finlayson, the saxophonists James Brandon Lewis and Briggan Krauss, and the drummer G. Calvin Weston — to generate intrigue. Setting things in motion are Mr. Eaton, who will play tenor saxophone, and Mr. Minkoff, on electric bass."

The Village Voice's Jim Macnie highlighted the show as one of the top nine performances in New York City this past week:

"Coltrane's rip-snort, wham-bam, OMG opus was recorded fifty years ago this month, and it still packs the shit-just-got-real punch that it did back in the day. A collective roar from a feisty large ensemble, it embraced both political and spiritual overtones when it shook the world in the mid-Sixties. Saxophonist Michael Eaton and bassist Adam Minkoff have gathered their own mega-squad of improvisers adept at outcat exclamation, and from Michael Attias' alto to Briggan Krauss' bari, it should be intriguing to see where their pointed polyphony leads them. One thing's certain: the physical punch of the 14-member outfit will be its own reward. This is body music and head music. Fans of superb pianist Anthony Coleman might want to circle the date. He doesn't get his McCoy on very often."

August 2015, Bloomington, IN: The Music of Joe Henderson


I joined the Jazz Fables concert series at Bear's Place in Bloomington, Indiana on August 27 for a hard swinging and soulful tribute to Joe Henderson. The songbook spanned an overview of Joe's writing from his Blue Note and Milestone eras, with an emphasis on his more groove-oriented and intricately arranged tunes, including: No Me Esqueca, Jinrikisha, Mamacita, Inner Urge, The Kicker, Mo' Joe, A Shade of Joe, Mode for Joe, Caribbean Fire Dance, Black Narcissus, and Afro-Centric. We played arrangements transcribed off the original recordings as well as one of Jim Snidero's elegant sextet arrangements. I remember first hearing "Mode for Joe" on Blue Note in the late 90s and loving both the playing and tunes, so it was especially great to have a chance to explore some of that album's strongest cuts.

After the gig we had a mini IU reunion in the back room of Bear's. From L to R: Cam Collins, Tom Walsh, Luke Gillespie, Joel Kelsey, BJ Cord, and Michael Eaton.

Michael Eaton Group, Westport Coffee House, Kansas City

We had a blast playing at Westport Coffee House in Kansas City. Peter Schlamb (vibes), Jeff Harshbarger (bass), and Sean Mullins (drums) joined me to play tunes by John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, and Duke Ellington. Set list: Jean Marie (Ronnie Mathews) Land of Nod (Andrew Hill) The Big Push (Wayne Shorter) Una Muy Bonita (Ornette Coleman) A New Place (Michael Eaton) Video by Tom Ptacek.

Gig audio! Free improv from Rockwood Music Hall, July 5, 2015

This is a long free improvisation from Sunday, July 5 at Rockwood.  Adam Minkoff (acoustic bass) convened a quartet with me (tenor saxophone), Akie Bermiss (piano), and Bob Stander (drums).  There was no discussion or preparation.  Audio mastered by Bob Stander.

Grupo Rebolú on congahead.com

I had the pleasure of recording these songs with NYC based Afro-Colombian band, Grupo Rebolú, for the website www.congahead.com in May.  A big thank you to Rebolú for having me and to Martin Cohen and his team for the photographs and video.

Beyond Flute + Guests at ABC Norio, 5/31/15

I had the pleasure of sitting in with Cheryl Pyle and Gene Coleman's flute-based free improvised group, "Beyond Flute", on May 31.  Beyond Flute is comprised of an alternating cast of musicians, this time with guitarist Bern Nix as part of the core trio.  It was a real treat exchanging ideas and making music on the fly with them.

The first video is a short duet of me and Cheryl.  I thought our mutual approaches made for a natural musical flow.

The second video is a short improvisation at the end of the set.  From left to right: Cheryl Pyle (flute), Gene Coleman (flute), Michael Eaton (soprano sax), David Tamura (tenor sax), Bern Nix (guitar).

The show was recorded and is available for download through Cheryl's 11th St music label.  Visit Cheryl Pyle's website to savor her artistry and releases!

March 2015: AllAboutJazz's Dan Bilawsky and Benjamin Scholz review Individuation

Individuation received two reviews in AllAboutJazz recently.  Writer Dan Bilawsky delivers an insightful review:.  

Describing the music as "a program of distinctive originals," he praises the contributions of each band member, singling out Brad Whiteley's role in the musical architecture.  Special guest David Liebman "brings a characteristic sense of urgency to the music", but Liebman also "brings out the best in Eaton, as the younger player works and succeeds at holding his own against the veteran."  Bilawsky concludes that Individuation is "an auspicious debut that marks Eaton as one to watch".

Drummer/percussionist Benjamin Scholz also weighed in on the album:

"Even though the music on this album took months to complete, the material pops in a fresh and lively way without sounding over-rehearsed."


A HUGE THANKS to everyone who came out to see our performances this past week!  Having your support and energy was crucial for our success.  We saw friends, family, mentors, and jazz fans at the Bop Stop, Jerry's, Westport Coffee House, Bear's Place, and the High Hat Club.  It was a special treat to perform the music of Individuation five days in a row.  Every new set was a chance for adventure and discovery.   Thanks to Gabe Pollack at the Bop Stop, Benjamin Scholz and his Elec Tet, Cindy Svehla, Tom Ptacek at Westport Coffee House, David Miller at Bear's Place, Rob Ambrose, Joel and Alice Kelsey, Pete Wiegand, and to all our friends and IU alumni who gave us their time and attention.

Some photos of our sets are posted below.  

January 20 NYC Shrine Performance featured in Hot House Magazine, Nastos votes for Individuation in NPR 2014 Critics Poll

My quartet returns with our first gig of 2015!  Our January 20 show at The Shrine is profiled in the January edition of Hot House Magazine, available at news stands in New York City as well as area jazz venues.  Michael G. Nastos (All Music Guide, DownBeat, Cadence, Swing Journal) included Individuation in his top 25 albums of 2014 and also voted the album as his choice for "Best Debut" in the 2014 NPR Critics Poll for jazz. 

He writes in Hot House:

"Since collaborating with mentor David Liebman, Eaton is now doing his own original compositions and sounds like a darker, ebony-toned version of Liebman. Based on the release of his debut recording for the Destiny label, Individuation, Eaton's music has taken off."

Joining my quartet will be Jon Crowley (trumpet) and Dorian Wallace (piano).  The Michael Eaton Quartet performs two sets from 6-8pm, and l will join Dorian Wallace and the Free Sound Ahn-Somble directly after, performing from 8-10pm.


Individuation: The Video

Michael Eaton on Destiny Records

My debut recording as a leader, Individuation, is now out on Destiny Records!  The album is available in digital and CD format (in a beautiful 6-panel digipack design), and it can be ordered and streamed in its entirety at the Destiny Records website. You can also purchase and listen through digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon.

The album features all my original compositions, with my working band: Brad Whiteley (piano), Daniel Ori (bass), and Shareef Taher (drums), plus friends Jon Crowley (trumpet) and Scott Colberg (bass), and a very special guest, master musician David Liebman (soprano and tenor saxophones).

For more information about my previous recording projects as a co-leader or sideman, visit my Music page.

Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.


Photo by Luiz Ruiz, Larufoto.


Preparing the piano for the title track, "Individuation". Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.

In September, Adam Minkoff and I co-wrote and recorded a track for East London Radio's funky new theme song (click on player above).  Lots of fun!

Upcoming performances:


The Beyond Group

Downtown Music Gallery, 13 Monroe St, New York, NY 10002

Free improvisations with changing combinations of instrumentation.

Cheryl Pyle - flute Gene Coleman - flute Bern Nix - guitar William Ruiz - percussion David Tamura - tenor saxophone Michael Eaton - soprano saxophone



Michael Eaton Quartet

Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia St, New York, New York, 10014

Destiny Records Showcase - a special night celebrating and showcasing artists on the Destiny Records label! My band performs music from my release, Individuation, on the second set with special guest Jon Crowley on trumpet.

Michael Eaton - tenor and soprano saxes Jon Crowley - trumpet Brad Whiteley - piano Daniel Ori - bass Shareef Taher - drums




Three's Brewing, 333 Douglass St, New York, NY 11217

Featuring: Adam Minkoff - bass Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone Dan Brantigan - trumpet Brittany Anjou - keyboard Nick Anderson - drums

Part of a three band bill featuring the Brittany Anjou Trio, Ben Perowsky Group, and Vaalbara.




Bar Chord, 1008 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn

Part of the "Free Standards" series curated by Nicolas Letman Burtinovic. Performing in trio with Nicolas Letman Burtinvoic and Gernot Bernroider. First set is the trio, and second set is a jam session.

free Age limit: 21+



Tenth Intervention presents We Are Legion

Cell Theatre, 338 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

Dorian Wallace premieres a new immersive chamber work We Are Legion about the hactivist collective Anonymous in collaboration with LottDance and New Vintage Baroque.



Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives

Spectrum NYC, 121 Ludlow St #2, New York, NY 10002

I'm thrilled and honored to play a role in presenting Robert Ashley's avant garde opera, Perfect Lives, under the aegis of Dorian Wallace and Hajnal Pivnick's Tenth Intervention. Ashley (1930-2014) was a significant voice of the American avant garde, and John Cage said about Perfect Lives: "What about the Bible? And the Koran? It doesn't matter: we have Perfect Lives."

This concert will be presented at Spectrum NYC's Leap Year Weekend, but it will be abbreviated to 3.5 hours instead of the 7 hour full performance this past year at Firehouse Space in Brooklyn.