Upcoming performances: Scott Sharrard Brickyard Band, Dorian Wallace's "We Are Legion", Michael Eaton Group at Record Bar

2015 closes out with gigs spanning several associations.

I am joining guitarist Scott Sharrard's Brickyard Band for three performances: The Falcon (Marlboro, NY) on November 27, Bar Chord in Brooklyn (Ditmas) on December 3, and finally a big show at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on December 15.  Scott is a smoking guitarist (musical director of the Greg Allman Band) with whom I played at Rockwood this past year performing the 70s Blue Note music of Grant Green.  

On December 8, I will be performing with the Tenth Intervention Ensemble for the premiere of "We Are Legion",  a new immersive chamber work by composer Dorian Wallace in collaboration with choreographer Jennifer McQuiston Lott and chamber group New Vintage Baroque.

Wallace writes: "This piece, inspired by the hacktivist collective, Anonymous will have it’s premiere during a time in the United States when weekly news reports are plagued by police brutality, gun violence, and government surveillance.  Represented at the core of this work is the group's mission to uphold freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Anonymous actively fights against corporate, civic, and religious extremism and oppression."

Finally, I will be in Kansas City at Record Bar in Westport on December 20 with a great ensemble of musicians.  The Michael Eaton Group will feature Peter Schlamb (vibraphone), Jeff Harshbarger (bass), and John Kizilarmut (drums) for an evening of all my original music.  

I join Scott Sharrard's band on tenor saxophone at The Falcon (11/27), Bar Chord (12/3), and Rockwood Music Hall (12/15).


I perform tenor saxophone on Dorian Wallace's original work "We Are Legion" at The Cell (12/8).

Destiny Records showcase at Cornelia Street Cafe

The Michael Eaton Quartet performed at Destiny Records' artist showcase on October 27, at Cornelia Street Cafe.  The first set at 8:30pm featured the music of Cameron Mizell (guitar), Brad Whiteley (piano), and Kenneth Salters (drums), with guests Michael Eaton (saxophone), Jon Crowley (trumpet), and George Shalda (trumpet).  The second set was the Michael Eaton Quartet (Brad Whiteley, Daniel Ori, Shareef Taher) performing "Alter Ego" and "Me, But Not Myself" as well as Laura Otero's "From Noche to Night" and "A Paso Lento", as well as Crowley's tune "Still Here". Special thanks goes to Mike Shields, Cameron Mizell, and George Shalda of Destiny Records for their attendance and support.

Beyond Sextet with Carman Moore at Downtown Music Gallery

Cheryl Pyle's Beyond Sextet played a second concert with Carman Moore conducting on Sunday, October 18 at New York's Downtown Music Gallery.  This was my first occasion to perform at DMG.  The absence of piano, bass, and drum set and combined woodwinds lends the group a lighter touch and more chamber group-like orchestration than many freely improvised groups.  Video from the entire concert is above, and the audio is available (with beautiful digital art by Pien van der Beek) for purchase from 11th Street Music by visiting Cheryl Pyle's home page.   

October 8: The Jazz Hole on BreakThru Radio

Whether you live outside or within the NYC area, you can take listen to some of my band's latest live performances, right off the soundboard from Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1!   Recordings from May 27 and July 12, 2015 are featured this week on Linus Wyrch's show, The Jazz Hole, on BreakThru Radio.  The show does a great service to the jazz community by broadcasting work from a spectrum of artists in improvised music, both well and lesser known.  A big thank you to Linus for getting the music out there!  To hear the set, go here.

Set order (all compositions by Eaton):
Alter Ego
A New Place
Individuation Part IV

Michael Eaton - tenor and soprano saxophones
Brad Whiteley - piano
Brittany Anjou - vibraphone
Daniel Ori - bass
Shareef Taher - drums

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, composed for the PBS documentary/detective show School Sleuth, included an original standard type of tune by Kelsey and Brad, "I've Been Searching", as well as incidental music in a quasi film noir vein for cuts and montages.  The show examines the effects of technology in classroom on children and educators, as well as associated social and philosophical issues with how it is implemented.  The episode is airing now on PBS stations across the United States.  It can also be streamed below.  

Michael Eaton and Adam Minkoff Present John Coltrane's Ascension

I'm pleased to present the 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.  Another 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 from his tribute to Joe on Double Time Records. Joe is one of my strongest influences as an improviser. I remember in the late 90s first hearing "Mode for Joe" (and all of Joe's classic Blue Note albums), and I loved both the playing and tunes, so it was especially great to have a chance to explore some of that album's music.

After the gig we had a mini IU Jazz Studies 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

These improvisations come from a completely free improvised set on Sunday, July 5 at Rockwood, Stage 1.  Adam Minkoff (acoustic bass) convened a quartet with me (tenor saxophone), Akie Bermiss (piano), and Bob Stander (drums).  There was no discussion or preparation, although to my ears the music sounds a little like late Coltrane meets late 60s Andrew Hill.  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, the "Beyond Group", on May 31.  Beyond Group is comprised of an alternating cast of musicians, this time with guitarist Bern Nix as part of the core trio.  I played soprano (on request) along with saxophonist David Tamura on tenor.  The improvisations were short vignettes with instrumentation mixed and matched each time to give players a chance to react to the new orchestration and personality combinations.  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 quintet 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:


Scott Sharrard Band

Bar Chord, 1008 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218

Stoked to play with Scott Sharrard (Allman Band) and his band.

Scott Sharrard - guitar Dan Brantigan - trumpet Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone others TBA



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.



Michael Eaton Group

Record Bar, 1020 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111

Playing all my original music with a group of Kansas City musicians including the one and only Jeff Harshbarger (bass).

Don't miss it!

Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone Peter Schlamb - vibraphone Jeff Harshbarger - bass John Kizilarmut - drums



Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives

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

I'm thrilled and honored to once again play a role in presenting the legendary composer Robert Ashley's 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 the performance will be abbreviated to 3.5 hours instead of the 7 hour full performance this past year at Firehouse Space in Brooklyn.



Michael Eaton Quartet

Blujazz, 47 E Market St, Akron, OH 44308

Debut performance of the Michael Eaton Quartet at Blujazz, on tour in anticipation of recording our next album for Destiny Records.



Michael Eaton Quartet

 —  —

The Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220

Delighted to be performing at one of the best jazz clubs in the Midwest, The Jazz Kitchen. We'll be on tour in anticipation of recording our next album for Destiny Records. Performing compositions from Individuation and new material to be recorded.



Michael Eaton Quartet

BB's, 700 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102

Debut performance at BB's in St. Louis, on tour in anticipation of recording our next album for Destiny Records. Performing compositions from Individuation and new material to be recorded.



Michael Eaton Quartet

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

Debuting new compositions in preparation for our next recording. This show will feature the great vibist, Peter Schlamb, with the quartet.

Michael Eaton - tenor and soprano saxophones Brad Whiteley - piano Daniel Ori - bass Shareef Taher - drums + Peter Schlamb - vibes