Upcoming Midwestern dates! August 12 and 27

I will be back visiting my native Midwest this summer.  

The first stop is my home city of Kansas City, MO, where I'll convene a quartet of NYC + KC musicians on August 12 from 8-10pm at Westport Coffee House.

After appearing at Westport Coffee with my NYC Individuation quartet, this concert will feature some of my favorite tunes from the rich history and repertoire of jazz, including music by Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, and Bud Powell.  We'll also do some earlier original tunes recorded in 2007 for the (x)tet album, Strange Visitation (Watercourse Records).  

The Michael Eaton Group will be:

Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone
Peter Schlamb - vibraphone
Jeff Harshbarger - bass
Sean Mullins - drums

Then on August 27, I'll be back home again in Indiana at Bear's Place performing with the Jazz Fables Sextet for the 26th Anniversary of the Jazz Fables concert series.  That concert takes place from 5:30-8pm, and it will explore the music of one of my long time heroes and pillars of the modern saxophone tree, Joe Henderson.  

Jazz Fables Sextet will be:

David Miller - trumpet
Tom Walsh - tenor saxophone
Luke Gillespie - piano
Josh Roberts - drums
plus IU jazz alums:
Michael Eaton (NYC) - tenor saxophone
Joel Kelsey (Chicago) - bass

Video: Michael Eaton Quartet at Rockwood Music Hall

The Michael Eaton Quartet performs "Alter Ego" live at Rockwood Music Hall on May 27, 2015.  With Brad Whiteley (piano), Daniel Ori (bass), and Shareef Taher (drums).

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.

Ascension 2015 in the NY Times and Village Voice

On Monday, June 8, Adam Minkoff and I celebrated John Coltrane's iconic 1965 recording Ascension with a stellar cast of improvisers at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn.  This was a special occasion for me to celebrate a prime influence as well as convene a group of people I wanted to play with.  It was also the second time to explore the piece, after a prior 2006 performance in Bloomington, Indiana.

MANY THANKS to all the amazing musicians who lent their voices to the music!  Audio and video will be posted in the very near future.  

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

Nate Chinen writes 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."

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!

Video: Firehouse Space with Michael Eaton Quartet

The Michael Eaton Quartet performed a joint concert with Brittany Anjou's BEWAA ensemble (featuring her arrangements of Ghanaian xylophone music via her master teacher, Bernard Woma).  Brittany joined my band as a guest on four hands piano on "Me, But Not Myself" and on "Individuation".

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.  

February 12, 2015: Recording music for PBS's School Sleuth

I had a blast recording some saxophone tracks at Bass Hit Studios with Kelsey Jillette (voice), Brad Whiteley (piano), Scott Colberg (bass), and Jay Sawyer (drums).  The music included an original standard-type of tune composed by Kelsey and Brad, as well as incidental music for scenes and montages in a quasi-film noir vein.  You can hear us in an upcoming documentary on PBS called "School Sleuth" which will be broadcast nationally. 

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.


WDEE-TV picks Individuation as a Top 25 CD of 2014

Critic Michael G. Nastos picked Individuation as one of the top 25 releases of 2014.  He discusses me and the recording on WDEE-TV (around the 15:30 mark) and plays a bit of "Prickly"; watch here.

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:


Michael Eaton Group

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Westport Coffee House, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111

I'm happy to appear in Kansas City at the Westport Coffee House with an excellent group of KC improvisers and Brooklynites.

In contrast to my NYC quartet's presentation of music from Individuation, this gig will feature great tunes drawn from the jazz repertoire (Coltrane, Shorter, Monk, Ellington, Ornette Coleman, Woody Shaw, Andrew Hill) as well as standards and select originals.

The band will be:

Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone Peter Schlamb - vibraphone Jeff Harshbarger - bass Sean Mullins - drums



Jazz Fables Sextet Tribute to Joe Henderson

 —  —

Bear's Place, 1316 E 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47401

I'm performing with the long runnied Jazz Fables Quintet for the Jazz Fables series in Bloomington at Bear's Place. I'm very happy to return. The concert's theme will be the music of Joe Henderson, one of my all-time heroes.


David Miller - trumpet Tom Walsh - alto saxophone Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone Luke Gillespie - piano Joel Kelsey - bass TBA - drums



The Beyond Group

ABC Norio, 156 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002

I'm delighted to appear again with Cheryl Pyle's flute-based free improv ensemble, featuring various configurations of improvisers in free dialogue.


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




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+



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.