Mike LeDonne

Mike LeDonne


While playing music that is very much of today, and looking forward to tomorrow, my bands remain strongly rooted in the tradition of swinging jazz that's based in the blues.


Pianist Mike LeDonne was born in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1956. He was
raised in his parent's music store and by the age of 10 his father, a jazz guitarist, began booking him on gigs. At age 21, Mike graduated from New England Conservatory and moved to New York City with the Widespread Jazz Orchestra. In 1981, he left Widespread to travel to the UK with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans. On returning, he began a two-year stint as the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan's, then one of New York' s oldest jazz clubs. It was there that he came under the influence of and played with many old masters such as Roy Eldridge, Papa Jo Jones and Vic Dickenson. He spent 1982-1983 with the Benny Goodman sextet and went on to play with Buddy Tate, Al Grey, Ruby Braff and many others. Later he worked with the Art Farmer-Clifford Jordan Quintet, went to Paris with Grady Tate, and played with James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Charles McPherson and Sonny Rollins. He also
spent time as accompanist to singers Ernestine Anderson, Annie Ross and Etta Jones. In 1988 he started
playing with the Milt Jackson Quartet (along with Mickey Roker and Bob Cranshaw). Mr. Jackson recorded Mike's compositions and arrangements. Mike also became the band's musical director. In the fall of 1992, Mike was chosen to be part of a group of top young musicians for the Phillip Morris Superband World Tour. Mike served as musical director for that group, which featured Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone, Jesse Davis on alto saxophone, Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash at the drums. Around this time, Mike toured with the Newport All-Stars in lineups that
also featured Harry "Sweets" Edison and Clark Terry. Mike has been playing and recording with Benny Golson since 1997. He has also been leading trios which have included Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Pete LaRoca and Louis Hayes. Most recently, he has worked with Bobby Hutcherson. Mike has played concerts and clubs around the world since 1981. Along with his many
recordings as a sideman, he has five CDs on Criss Cross Jazz and three on Doubletime Records. The first two, 'Bout Time and The Feeling of Jazz are quintet projects with Tom Harrell, baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Kenny Washington. His third CD, Common Ground is a trio recording and also features Irwin and Washington. The fourth CD, Soulmates, includes Ryan Kisor, Joshua Redman, and Lewis Nash, with Peter Washington on bass and Jon Gordon on alto saxophone. 'Bout Time
was one of the recordings selected as "Record Of The Year" in the 1989 Jazz Journal Critics Poll. The Feeling of Jazz was chosen as one of the "Top Ten Records of 1991 " in the Jazz Times' Critics Poll. Soulmates came in second in the "Best 12 Recordings of 1994" WBGO Poll (WBGO is the leadingjazz radio station in the New York area). Waltz For An Urbanite features vibraphonist Steve Nelson and guitarist Peter Bernstein, along with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington. Waltz For An Urbanite won "Record Of The Month" in its first month of release on WBGO in Newark. Mike's sixth CD, To
Each His Own, is on the Doubletime label. It's a trio featuring Peter Washington and Mickey Roker on
drums. This disc received four stars in a Downbeat review. Mike's seventh CD Then And Now, also on Doubletime, is a quintet recording featuring Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Jim Rotondi, trumpet, Peter Washington on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums. The latest CD Bags'Groove, is a tribute to Milt
Jackson which features Steve Nelson on vibes, along with Jim Snidero on flute, Steve Wilson on alto flute, Jim Rotondi on flugelhorn, Steve Davis on trombone, and a rhythm section including Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker. This CD also received 4 stars in Downbeat magazine. Mike is the co-author of Jim Snidero's Jazz Conceptiom for Piano and Piano Comping
books, on Advance Music. In Sept. 2002 Mike joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music. He has won praise not only from critics but from master musicians: Oscar Peterson picked him as one of his favorite pianists of today.



1988 - ‘Bout Time Criss Cross
1989 - The Feeling of Jazz Criss Cross
1990 - Common Ground Criss Cross
1993 - Soulmates Criss Cross
1996 - Waltz for an Urbanite Criss Cross
1998 - To Each His Own Double Time
1999 - Then & Now Double Time
2001 - Bags Groove (Tribute to Milt Jackson) Doubletime
1974 - Scott Hamilton Concord Heritage Series
1978 - Widespread Jazz Orch. Downtown Uproar - Stash piano
1979 - W.J.O. w/ Bob Wilbur- Rockin’ n’ Rhythm- Chiarascuro- piano
1980 - W.J.O. Time to Jump and Shout Staah -piano
1983 - W.J.O. Paris Blues Columbia- piano
1988 - Duke Robillard Swing- Rounder piano/ organ
1989 - Chris Flory For All We Know Concord- piano/ organ
1990 - Michael Hashim Lotus Blossom Stash - piano
1990 - Tad Shull Deep Passion- Criss Cross- piano
1991 - Michael Hashim- A Blue Streak -Stash organ
1991 - Tad Shull - In The Land Of The Tenor Criss Cross-piano
1992 - Michael Hashim Guys and Dolls-Stash - piano
1992 - Stash Sampler- Stash piano
1992 - Concord Jazz Guitar col. Vol. 1 -Concord- piano
1993 - Joshua Redman - Joshua Redman Warner Bros.-piano
1994 - Scott Hamilton - Organic Duke-Concord- organ
1996 - David Schumacher- Every Corner Amosaya -piano
1996 - Gary Smulyan - Saxophone Mosaic-Criss Cross -piano
1997 - Duke Robillard -Plays Jazz : the Rounder Years -Rounder- piano/ organ
1997 - Clifford Jordan -Mellow Side of Clifford Jordan-Maleshade- organ
1998 - Akira Sakurai - New York All Stars piano
1998 - Milt Jackson - Sava Bella-Quest piano
1998 - Benny Golson-Remembering Clifford Milestone-piano
1998 - Benny Golson -Thank You John/ Our Tribute - Arkadia - piano
1998 - Anthony Wilson-Goat Hill Junket MAMA- piano/ organ
1998 - Benny Waters-Live at Birdland- Enja piano/ organ
1998 - Jim Snidero- Standards Plus Doubletime - piano
1999 - David Lahm -Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell -Arkadia organ
1999 - Michael Hashim - Multi Colored Blue Hep-piano
1999 - Jon Gordon -The Things We Need Doubletime -piano
1999 - Ernie Andrews - Ernie Andrews & Frank Wess- Muse piano
2001-Craic Wueper- The Returnsman Doubletime- piano
2001- Mike Dirubo -Keep Steppin'-Criss Cross-piano