Mike Melvoin Trio at Scullers Jazz Club
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The last date listed for Mike Melvoin Trio was Tuesday February 10, 2009 / 8:00pm.
Over a period of 40 years, Mike Melvoin has firmly established himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished pianists and composers in Los Angeles. As a studio musician alone, he has been frequently heard on major recordings, and has composed and conducted many television and motion picture soundtracks. He has arranged for Lou Rawls, Bill Henderson, Peggy Lee, Joe Williams, Billy Ekstine, Barry Manilow, Pat Boone, The Four Freshmen, Jon Davidson, The Partridge Family, Tom Waits, Wayne Newton and many others. He was last year’s Music Director for the Grammy Awards and this year filled that role for the Emmy Hall of Fame celebration.
Melvoin’s work has been spotlighted on such significant recordings as Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” which garnered a Grammy “Record of the Year” award; The Beach Boys Grammy Hall of Fame recordings “Good Vibrations” and “Pet Sounds,” Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” and the first hit by the Jackson Five "ABC.”
Most recently he is heard on Tony Bennett’s Grammy nominated new blues album, “Singin With My Friends,” playing Hammond B3, which includes duets with Ray Charles, Kay Starr, and Bonnie Raitt. He is also the featured piano soloist on Terry Gibbs new CD tribute to Lionel Hampton, and as an arranger/pianist, he contributes to the debut hit CD by young singer Michael Bublé.
Mike returns to Scullers with Jay Leonhart on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums in support of his 2008 CD “The Art of Conversation” A Work By Mike Melvoin And Kim Park. (City Lights Entertainment, 2008).
Mike Melvoin was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on May 10, 1937 but grew up in Milwaukee. He began playing piano at the age of 3 and made his professional debut at 13 with local dance bands. At Dartmouth College in New Hampshire he led The Barbary Coast, a jazz/dance band as well as a jazz quintet called The Sultans which the English publication The Melody Maker cited as the best college jazz band in the U.S. In 1959 he graduated from Dartmouth with a BA in English Literature.
The next three years proved to be extremely formative in his career as he gigged with numerous jazz, dance, and Latin bands all over the New York area as well as on the road. He further honed his piano-playing abilities in Harlem jam sessions. Sensing greater opportunities for himself, in 1962 he moved to Los Angeles where he formed a trio and worked with such important jazz artists as Leroy Vinnegar, Gerald Wilson, Bud Shank, Red Mitchell, Paul Horn, Joe Pass, Frank Rosolino, Oliver Nelson, Milt Jackson, Shelly Manne, Plas Johnson, Herb Ellis, Sweets Edison and Terry Gibbs. His talent as an accompanist became apparent during stints accompanying the late Joe Williams, Gene McDaniels, Bill Henderson, Nancy Wilson, and Diane Schuur. He also arranged and conducted a series of albums for the late great Peggy Lee while serving as her musical director.
Among the hundreds of album projects he has participated in are those of Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Barry Manilow (for whom he also arranged several tracks on his “Tribute to the Big Bands” CD), Bette Midler, Tom Waits, Wayne Newton, Michael Jackson, Glen Campbell, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine, John Lennon, John Williams, Andy Williams, Burt Bacharach, Dean Martin, Herb Alpert, Mel Torme, Paul Anka, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ann Margaret, Carol Burnett, Frankie Laine, Patti Page, Liza Minelli, Diana Ross, The Monkees, Ray Charles, The Fifth Dimension, The Partridge Family (Melvoin arranged all the Partridge family records), Manhattan Transfer, Laura Nyro, Stan Getz, Roy Rogers, Betty Carter, Steve Allen, Burl Ives, Les Brown, and the current jazz sensations Kurt Elling and Jane Monheit.
He continues to have a successful career as a composer for film and TV that includes features, movies for TV and series. Notable soundtrack recordings at the keyboard include the films “Rocky,” “The French Connection,” and “Play Misty for Me.” In television, he played on Lolo Schifrin’s theme for the television show “Mission: Impossible” which also won a Grammy for “Record of the Year.” He also composed and conducted the scores to Streisand’s “The Main Event,” Michael Caine’s “Ashanti,” and Matt Dillon’s “The Big Town” and soundtracks for the television series “Early Edition,” “Lou Grant,” “Beretta,” “MacGyver,” and “Fame.”
He is the first active musician to have served as the National President of the Recording Academy (which presents the Grammy Awards) in 1984 and 1985. Melvoin continues to serve the Academy on the Board of Directors of MusiCares, the Academy’s charitable foundation. He has also been involved in the production of the Grammy show itself, in some cases composing, arranging, and playing as well as assisting in the production of segments such as the salute to Louis Armstrong and the All-Star Jazz tribute during the mid 1980s. He also produced the salute to Duke Ellington for the 1999 Grammys. He composed and conducted original music serving as music director of the 1993 “Grammy’s Greatest Moments,” a two-hour special that aired on CBS. Further, as a featured member of, and writer for Jack Elliott’s Orchestra, he contributed to the underscores for the Grammy Awards shows from 1994 through 2000.