Cheryl Pyle - C flute, alto flute Gene Coleman - C flute, bass flute Michael Eaton - soprano saxophone
Cheryl Pyle - C flute, alto flute Michael Eaton - soprano sax Claire de Brunner - bassoon Gene Coleman - C flute, bass flute
Second Nature performs for the Jeff Harshbarger Presents: An Alternative Jazz Series at recordBar.
Second Nature ensemble is a contemporary classical/free jazz/electronic hybrid ensemble, featuring compositions by guitarist/composer Seth Davis and saxophonst/composer Michael Eaton.
September 29 - Kansas City Performing Media Festival at La Esquina Gallery
October 7, Bern Nix Jazz Festival
The first annual Bern Nix Jazz Festival, in honor of the late harmolodic guitarist, was held at St. Elizabeth's Church in Elizabeth, NJ on Sunday, October 8 from 6-9pm. Cheryl Pyle's Beyond Group was included, this time with Cheryl Pyle (flutes), Michael Eaton (soprano sax), Francois Grillot (bass), Reggie Sylvester (drums).
Beyond Group w/Judi Silvano at Dissident Arts Fest, 17 Frost Gallery
On Sunday, September 8, Beyond Group performed at 17 Frost Gallery in Williamsburg, BK. Organized and led by flutist Cheryl Pyle, the band's strategy is to mix up members and instrumentation for every concert, improvising freely as well as off miniature themes ("tunettes"). This particular formation featured Cheryl Pyle (C flute, alto flute), Judi Silvano (voice), Michael Eaton (soprano sax), Francois Grillot (bass), and Reggie Sylvester (drums). The concert was the first time for Silvano and Sylvester to perform with the ensemble, and this configuration led to some exciting and memorable music making.
2018 Individuation Minitour, Indiana concerts with Beneath the Paving Stones, Jazz Fables
The Individuation Quartet with Michael Eaton, Brad Whiteley, Daniel Ori, and Shareef Taher goes on a brief August tour in the Midwest! On Wednesday, August 29, we perform at The Blockhouse (205 S College Ave) for the Call & Response series in Bloomington, IN; on Thursday, August 30 at Jimmy Can't Dance in Louisville, KY; and Friday, August 31 at The Jazz Kitchen (tickets here) in Indianapolis, IN. We will perform original music from Individuation (2014) as well as the upcoming Dialogical, both on Destiny Records. Come experience our music live!
July 18: Daniel Ori Quartet at Sweet Sounds Jazz Festival - Westfield, NJ
July 15: Beyond Quartet at 6BC Botanical Garden
Brad Whiteley / Michael Eaton Duo, June 8 at iBeam
8 Bit Aesthetic plays "Stealth Operation", Tenor Triage plays "Parallax"
Individuation live at iBeam
Beyond Group at Tompkins Square Library
Cheryl Pyle's 65th Birthday Celebration at Downtown Music Gallery, April 8
Kyle Quass Trio + Michael Eaton, Jazz Fables, March 29, 2018
Michael Eaton, Adam Minkoff, and Disrupt Series Present: Interstellar Regions
On December 1, Adam Minkoff and I renewed our collaboration for the Disrupt Series at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, where we presented music from the late period of John Coltrane (ca. 1965-1967). In honor of the 50th Anniversary, we performed compositions from Interstellar Space (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) and Stellar Regions (Sunstar, Iris, Seraphic Light), recorded the final year of Coltrane's life on Impulse! Records, as well as a bonus song, Sunship, from 1965's Sunship.
The evening featured an incredible ensemble, including NEA Jazz Master David Liebman, guitarist Mark Ribot, pianist Jamie Saft, and drummers Nick Anderson and Anthony Cole. The venue was at or near capacity for both sets.
I want to express my deep and sincere thanks to all the musicians for their tremendous artistry, to Dani Gros for her poster and photography work, to National Sawdust for hosting us, and to all our friends who attended. This was for me a peak artistic happening that brought together all the different elements of the evening into one cohesive whole.
Sunday, November 19: Beyond Trio and Individuation
Summer 2017 events
Photos by Minneapolis based photographer Steve Peterson, taken from the 2017 Bloomington Jazz Festival in Bloomington, IN. I performed as a guest with David Miller (trumpet), Tom Walsh (saxophone), Luke Gillespie (piano), Neil Heidler (bass), and Chris Parker (drums). Thanks to Steve for the great shots!
Fresh listening: Paul Bertonlino's "Toy Box"
I'm pleased to appear on vocalist Paul Bertolino's newest album, Toy Box. Paul is a soulful vocalist and a dynamic performer and stage presence, and his work deserves your attention.
I join Paul's vocals, guitar, bass, and percussion on tenor saxophone; my homey Adam Minkoff plays keyboards; and Rob Pallotta plays drums.
Rest in Peace, Bern Nix (September 21, 1947 - May 31, 2017)
Owl Parlor, Brooklyn - June 2 - Individuation + Brittany Anjou's BEWAA with guest Alfred Kbepsaane!
Ammocake at Brooklyn Studio of Dance
Searching through the hypnotic blue skyline,
looking for signs of end times.
Clouds laugh loud in puffy white burst
breaking the still silence of things to come.
Groveling for a glimpse of something other than nothing,
there is no longer hope on earth,
there has to be more.
It has been written so many times before,
There has to be more.
There has to be more than this right?
Planet of panic looking for answers.
Pastors of promise preaching rewards.
What is really in store?
There has to be more.
Conspiracy deliver me from my ordinary life.
Let me live in this fantasy just a little longer,
let me be part of the bigger picture,
not just a forgotten nail on the wall
rusted and waiting to fall.
Part the blue and the glowing golden hue
let me see through the galaxy
Planet X awaiting visibility.
Hold breath anticipation and scientific calculation,
break the hold of human existence frustration.
please let there be more.
There has to be more than this right?
Too many if's and not enough when's,
guess I still have to go work today.
Three Tenors at Rockwood
Thursday, May 4 saw the debut of a fresh perspective in the classic "three tenors" format. James Brandon Lewis, Sean Sonderegger, and I played tenor along with Brad Whiteley (fellow Destiny Records recording artist, bandmate in Individuation) on organ. We had the pleasure of being joined by master musicians Bern Nix on guitar and Calvin Weston on drums, who played with Ornette Coleman in his 1970s Prime Time ensemble. I won't soon forget Ronald Shannon Jackson's metaphor, via Bern Nix, about playing with Ornette: once you cross the harmelodic event horizon, you never come back. More to come from this group.
I must give a special thanks to my friend, photographer Dani Gros, for her gorgeous work documenting the show!
2017 Midwest Minitour
A huge thanks to Palen Music Center for sponsoring the quartet's appearance and masterclass in Liberty; to Cindy Svehla, Shane Fuller, Eddie Owen, Marty Jacobs, and all the staff of Liberty Public Schools who made our visit so warm and inviting; to The Brick in Kansas City as well as all the outstanding musicians who brought Ascension and my music to life; to Seth Davis for being my co-creator and composer for large ensemble; to Tom Ptacek at Westport Coffee House for hosting creative music; to David Miller of Jazz Fables for hosting us as always; to brother Rob Ambrose for his support, and to all our friends and supporters in Bloomington.
Scott Yanow reviews Individuation
On his debut recording as a leader, Michael Eaton emerges as a distinctive and adventurous tenor and soprano-saxophonist and an innovative composer. A resident of Brooklyn since 2008, Eaton has performed in a wide variety of settings ranging from avant-garde and post bop jazz (including with Fred Hersch, Eugene Chadbourne and Ingrid Jensen) to a reinvented version of Stravinsky’s “Rite Of Spring,” new works for dancers and chamber ensemble, Afro-Colombian folk music, rock and soul projects.
Individuation features Eaton performing his originals with a group that also features pianist Brad Whiteley (a major asset throughout), either Daniel Ori or Scott Colberg on bass, and drummer Shareef Taher. There are worthy guest appearances on three numbers apiece by trumpeter Jon Crowley and Eaton’s former teacher the great Dave Liebman on tenor and soprano.
The music, eight compositions plus the five-part “Individuation,” is quite advanced and unpredictable but, due to often being catchy rhythmically, tends to be more accessible than expected. The opener, “Interior Designs,” has warm solos by Crowley and the light-toned Eaton along with some stirring drum breaks. “Guru” features the leader taking a high-powered tenor solo over the rhythmic patterns which are led by bassist Colberg. “Me, But Not Myself” starts with a somber melody before the theme becomes rhythmic and repetitive, inspiring a strong soprano solo from Eaton.
A four-note rhythmic pattern played by pianist Whiteley gives “Alter Ego” its foundation. On this piece Eaton holds his own with Liebman as they both take passionate tenor solos that are pushed by Taber’s assertive drums. “Prickly,” a pianoless outing with Liebman (who switches to soprano) features plenty of exciting interplay by the two saxophonists. “Centrifuge,” which has trumpeter Crowley in Liebman’s place, utilizes a fairly simple rhythmic pattern behind some heated solos. In contrast, “You’re My Mystery” is a tender ballad that Eaton takes as a duet with pianist Whiteley.
“Individuation,” which clocks in at over 24 minutes, is listed as having five parts although the first three are played as one continuous performance. An insistent rhythmic idea played by the pianist builds up, Eaton takes a nice spot on soprano and then, during “Part 3,” one hears Whiteley stretching out on prepared piano, sounding a bit like drums. “Part 4” and “Part 5” (which are played as one piece) feature new rhythmic patterns, a fine tenor solo and a very hypnotic final section. Dave Liebman rejoins his former student for the infectious “Lifecycle” which concludes the intriguing set.
Individuation is a rather impressive debut by Michael Eaton, the start of what will surely be a very significant solo career.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Doyle Bramhall II's "Rich Man" is November 2016 Downbeat Magazine Editor's Pick
Spectrum NYC, 11/5: Tenth Intervention + Beyond Quintet Double Bill!
Sunday, October 16 - Doyle Bramhall II at Bowery Ballroom
Tenth Intervention at The Greene Space - 40th Anniversary of the Golden Record!
Musicians: Dorian Wallace (piano), Hajnal Pivnick (violin), Michael Eaton (flute and soprano sax), Lathan Hardy (alto sax and bass clarinet), Charlie Kessenich (FX)
September 30: Doyle Bramhall II's "Rich Man" is released
Grupo Rebolu plays "Llorando" for Congahead.com!
Next album for Destiny Records, Dialogical, in production
I have to thank the Individuation Quartet and Quintet for going above and beyond in the preparation and execution of some difficult music. I am very grateful to all of them for their sustained interest and immersion in my musical world, and to Destiny Records for the chance to combine many facets of my artistic personality in one recording. There were some very special moments - recording the three tenors with James and Sean; documenting the free improvised chemistry between Cheryl Pyle and myself; realizing a 20 minute Reich-inspired piece; and recording with one of my favorite voices in modern jazz, Lionel Loueke. Hearing Lionel sing my melodies was a magical experience. Several pieces were written with his voice, both on guitar and as a vocalist, in mind. Everyone involved was riveted by his artistry, and hearing the melodies come out even beyond what I had imagined was a wonderful artistic experience.
New York Times review for David Kulma/Dorian Wallace "The Rest is Sh*t: Stories from the Microchasm" video opera
The Times' Anthony Tommasini writes, "[Kulma's] monologue is at once rambling and riveting, his words backed by music that blurs distinctions between jazz and contemporary classical styles."
2016 MIDWESTERN TOUR/DIALOGICAL ALBUM PREVIEW TOUR: March 18-24
A huge thanks to everyone who came out to support us and to all the fans, venues, and supporters who made this possible - it makes a difference!
Weekend in Indiana: Reflections on Barry Ashton Jazz Festival 2016 and Kyle Quass' Special Guests
First was the Barry Ashton Jazz Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had the chance to work with the students of Northrop High School under the direction of John VanPatten. Mr. VanPatten was a very gracious host who has an excellent music program happening at Northrup. The students all played very well, and they were a pleasure to work with. In total, 17 schools attended the festival on Saturday. Brad Whiteley, Daniel Ori, and Shareef Taher flew into Indiana during the afternoon, and we presented a masterclass to students, discussing rhythm section communication within the context of my music ("Lifecycle"), arranging lead sheets into basic arrangements, working with odd meters, and more. At 6:30, I was the guest with Northrop Jazz I, and at 7:30, the Individuation Quartet performed a focused set of originals (Alter Ego, Guru, Prickly, Juno). Thank you to all the students, faculty, and parents who made the event possible!
Heading back to Indianapolis, we drove to The Chatterbox, one of the longest running jazz venues in the city. I caught up with trumpeter Kyle Quass, who brought a killing quintet with Mark Tuttle (a tenor powerhouse and individualist), Adam Davis on guitar, Jesse Whitman on bass, and Ben Lumsdaine on drums. We played a mix of Kyle's original compositions as well as tunes by Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver. It was a great example of improvisers sharing a language that had certain similarities and commonalities, but also enough differences to create compelling variety and excitement. I felt it exemplified some of the best qualities that the music we call "jazz" embodies, which is to say the celebration of individuality and diversity and real time dialogue. We are reconvening to record the ensemble in mid August 2016.
Alex MacKinnon & The Whistleblowers, New EP: Imaginary Lines! Out now!
PBS Special: School Sleuth - AIRING NOW
Individuation: The Video
Michael Eaton on Destiny Records
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.