Mike Erickson Band
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Mike Erickson Band

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There is a long list of musicians who move a lot of air in their lines, who weave in and out of rhythm masterfully, with impeccable command of time. Michael Erickson comfortably fits in this category. This doesn't refer exclusively to chordal or rhythm playing, but playing the linear line, the single notes, as a rhythm, at times locking with the dominant rhythm and at others interlacing, or speeding ahead and then throttling back, connecting perfectly to the lock of Bill Ferri’s bass and John Francis’ drum.



Put another way, Erickson’s notes are not merely that: they have their own groove. His rhythmic style is something very few other players display, or even have at their disposal. And if they do have it, they cannot use it as consistently and as stunningly as he can.

All too often sessions with multiple rhythm sections end up sterile because there’s insufficient opportunity for everybody to loosen up and create a cohesive sound—and that's all the more reason to marvel at Michael Erickson. The band’s collective sense of commitment, engagement and energy creates its own focus despite as a consequence of the multiplicity of Michael’s musical universe, which remains uncannily singular in its personal vision. - Ativ S. (Metal Haven)


Mike Erickson of Attleboro set out to go to art school at Vermont’s Goddard College, but he does all his painting with his guitar.
“I only went ther for a year,� said Erickson, who had been bitten by the jazz bug long before he picked up a brush. “In the end, I couldn’t stand not playing.�
Erickson, a colorful jazz guitar player and adventurous composer will be performing with his band Sunday at the Bullfinch Yacht Club in Boston. Erickson would also like to see a live jazz venue somewhere in the Attleboro area. Of two local clubs that had offered jazz until recently, one went out of business and a second changed ownership and musical formats.
“It would definitely be a plus,� says Erickson, who plays a playfully jazz-funk style with leads frequently exploding in unexpected directions.
While art school didn’t work out, Erickson hooked on with guitar guru Craig Najjar of Westwood who put Erickson through a “guitar boot camp� in which the aspiring jazz man spent 6-8 hours a day practicing.
“If you spend that much time studying, something’s bound to happen,� says Erickson. One of them was a love of musical composition, which often finds the 25-year-old sitting down for 5-6 hours working on a song. Erickson also teaches at T.J.’s Music in Fall River.
Erickson’s band is composed of Fall River bassist Bill Ferri, Jon Francis of Lakeville on drums and Adam Go of Woonsocket, R.I. playing sax.
The Mike Erickson Band plays 8 p.m. Sunday at the Bullfinch Yacht Club. For more information, visit www.thebyc.com or www.mikeericksonband.com.
- Rick Foster, The Sun Chronicle


It’s hard to say who makes a bigger impression on jazz audiences: Mike Erickson, the hard-working lead guitarist with a playful jazz-funk style or Mike Erickson, the freewheeling composer whose eclectic tunes seem to span the distance from L.A. to Montego Bay.
Fans will get a chance to decide for themselves Sunday Night, when Attleboro-based Mike Erickson Band kicks of the Jazz in June series at 7 p.m. at Steve’s Backstage Pass in Taunton.
Erickson and his quartet will be presenting their innovative but highly-accessible music in a couple of sets to lead off a wide-ranging Sunday series that will include Dixieland, swing and modern jazz in coming weeks, Organizers are hoping that if the series receives a favorable response it could lead to a continuing venue for jazz beginning in the fall. Admission to the opening show is $6.
Originally, the 25-year-old set out to study art at Goddard College but couldn’t abide being estranged from his guitar and playing in bands.
He made connections with jazz guru Craig Najjar of Westwood, who set Erickson on an inspired but demanding course that included 6-8 hours a day of practice.
Erickson nurtured a love of creating music by studying musical composition and pouring hour upon hour into experimenting and arrangements. His debut album in 2006 featured a wide range of original songs reaching from urban funk to Caribbean themes.
The Jazz in June series follows up on June 10 with the Dixie Diehards Dixieland Band, June 17, an Evening with Aaron Roberts and Friends and June 24 with jazz guitarist Andy Solderberg and his band. For additional information call 508-824-3634 or visit www.thedessertclub.com.
- Rick Foster, The Sun Chronicle


When Mike Erickson is asked to describe his music, he takes a sip of his black iced coffee and crinkles his nose.

Then, unsure of his answer, he says, "Most people would say that it's jazz, but if you ask a jazz musician what it is, he'd say it's definitely not jazz. It's jazz, funk, blues and rock combined." Then, more confidently, he says, "It's fusion."

Fusion seems to be a tad vague, but simultaneously it's all encompassing, much like the sounds of the Mike Erickson Band.

Music was always important to the Attleboro-bred songwriter and guitarist, especially with two older, musically talented brothers. Erickson, 26, attended School One in Providence, R.I., a prestigious art school, and nurtured his love of music there. It was during this time he met and began working with Craig Najjar, a professor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and the man who would go on to produce the band's self-titled first album.

When college rolled around, though, Erickson saw art as the way to go. After attending a few different universities, he received an associate's degree in studio art from Dean College in Franklin. He didn't give up his guitar studies, though, and was continually pushed by his teacher. In fact the CD was Najjar's idea.

"He said, 'I want you to write and I want you to record.' So that's what I did," Erickson recalls.

Erickson came up with 15 tracks that, with Najjar's help, he narrowed down to eight. And finding a group of musicians to play those songs was a lot easier than one would think.

"I played in a lot of bands. Either I knew someone or I knew someone who knew someone," Erickson says. Adding Bill Ferri on bass, John Francis on drums and Jason Miele on tenor sax gave Erickson what he likes to call "a high-quality business card."

It took only three days to lay down the tracks on the album, which has many musical influences Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Led Zepplin are a few popular artists. Erickson also gives credit to his high school obsession, Blind Melon (known best for the popular video for the 1993 chart-topper "No Rain").

"I used to listen to them over and over again," Erickson says.

The CD was a great asset to the band as it provided the blueprints for their live shows, which range from 45-minute sets to two-hour jam sessions.

"The songs are never the same live, especially the solo sections. They're totally different every performance," says Erickson.

Erickson spends his time teaching private guitar lessons in the Attleboro area and playing sets with his band, but he knows that in the future, he wants to be able to pursue his music career wholeheartedly. Already he's got ideas swarming about a live CD and a horn section.

"It's definitely something I want to do," Erickson says. "It's an insane amount of work, but I really see it growing. There are people out there who listen to this stuff and when they hear us, they realize we're pretty freakin' good."

THE ESSENTIALS:

* Friday, Aug. 31, 9 p.m. - The Lincoln Lounge, 467 Moody St., Waltham
* Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 p.m. - The Beehive, 541 Tremont St., Boston
* Sunday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. - Steve's Backstage Pass, 15 School St., Taunton

For more information, visit www.mikeericksonband.com - Elizabeth Valerio, Metrowest Daily News


Discography

Mike Erickson Band - Mike Erickson Band

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Bio

With the release of their self-titled debut CD in September 2006, the Mike Erickson Band is a constantly evolving musical experience and serves as an excellent introduction to Erickson’s songwriting prowess.

The Mike Erickson Band is clearly not your average jam band. With a long list of influences including the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Modeski Martin and Wood, John Schofield, Wes Montgomery, Led Zeppelin, Carlos Santana and Blind Melon, Erickson’s music is constantly evolving. Blending numerous genres while giving equal emphasis to ‘the song’ and ‘the jam’, the music of The Mike Erickson Band appeals to a wide range of listeners.

In 2000, the chain of events that would eventually lead to The Mike Erickson Band were set into motion. Having realized that art school wasn't the right road, Erickson began studying under former Berklee College of Music professor, Craig Najjar. Soon, every preconception Erickson held of what being a successful musician is about, was challenged. Spending endless hours each day on the guitar, transcribing solos that seemed impossible, writing and rewriting song after song, the sound of MEB began to form. Weekends were spent in band rooms, and bars creating new ideas, reinventing old ones, and taking songs to places that once seemed impossible.

After several bands that couldn't satisfy Erickson's thirst for playing real music at all costs, auditions and rehearsals began for recording his debut cd. Finding some of the best musical talent in the area to play behind his guitar work, Erickson's songs took on a life of there own. Under the watchfull eye of Najjar, each track was meticulously recorded and performed in Mix One Studios in Boston by engineer Ted Padduck, then sent to NYC to be mixed and mastered by the best ears in the business: Mike O'Reilly (who engineered for the likes of Eric Clapton, BB King, Aretha Franklin, along with many other industry legends) and Angelo Montrone in Majestic Studio at Avatar Studios.

Today, the ground work has been laid, the band has been formed, the music recorded, people are starting to notice. With a deep repertoire of originals, classic covers, and standards, The Mike Erickson Band is versatile enough to play a short 45 minute set to stretching out and playing for hours, keeping you grooving the whole time.