Michal Urbaniak
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Michal Urbaniak

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Funk




""The legendary violin player"

"The legendary violin player shows here deep feelings through standards. It takes you to New York...like you were there...."
- "LA CD Review"

"Michal Urbaniak Quartet""

Michal Urbaniak Quartet"


Be Bop Be Bop Be Bop Be Bop Be Bop Be Bop It was not so long ago that I was reviewing a Columbia re-release of Urbaniak's Fusion. That recording found the violinist very much in a Jimi Hendrix/Miles Davis electronic mood (appropriate for the early '70s). While a landmark recording, Fusion did not age well. Uhm, what a difference 20 years makes because Urbaniak did age well. Urbaniak has grown all the way up and has chosen retrospection on the present disc. How fortunate.

The Evidence. The disc insert shows a photograph of a middle-aged Urbaniak sporting a red neckerchief, looking quite the gypsy (or the gypsy's fiddle-playing French friend). The music is beautifully arranged and performed. It is also transformed. It is very difficult not to think of Le Hot Club du France when listening to this disc with its hot Bebop and lilting ballads. In fact, I think it would be a safe comparison to say that today Michal Urbaniak is to Stephane Grappelli as Bireli Lagrene is to Django Rhinhardt (would that not be a dream pairing?).

"Orinthology" kicks off this festive collection with full quotations from its harmony parent "How High The Moon." Billy Drummond's ride cymbal and hi hat are crisp and exact, foreshadowing the remaining instrumentation on the piece. Urbaniak bows his way through the songbooks of Dexter Gordon ("Cheese Cake"), Thelonious Monk ("Ask Me Now" and "Little Rootie Tootie"), and Tad Dameron ("Ladybird"). However, Charlie Parker gets most of Urbaniak's attention. "Yardbird Suite" is deftly played with a gentle swing and spirit. "My Little Suede Shoes" is transformed from a Latin cha-cha to a gypsy dance. Urbaniak is very comfortable with this material and he has chosen sidemen who are as comfortable as he is.

The aforementioned Drummond's percussion is sensitive and specific, always providing the appropriate mood and rhythm. Jim Pryor provides both spirited accompaniment and soloing, particularly on "I Fall in Love to Easily" and "Moose the Mooch". Bassist Burno is steady as the foundation. Ask Me Now is a hearty and novel look at modern jazz by accomplished and experienced masters. A super release from Michal Urbaniak

C. Michael Bailey

- Billboard

""The legendary violin player"

"The legendary violin player shows here deep feelings through standards. It takes you to New York...like you were there...."
- "LA CD Review"


Still working on that hot first release.



The world's leading jazz violinist, band leader,
composer & arranger, Michal Urbaniak is one of the founder's of Fusion in the 70's and Acid Jazz of the 90's. There are symphonic works & film music for 25 full feature soundtracks to his credit and he has recorded over 50 albums in the He came to the U.S. in 1973 from Europe to New York after winning the Grand Prix at Montreaux Jazz Festival for best soloist.
He is a repeated winner of Down Beat Magazine's Reader's Poll's Best Violin Player and in the top 10 as Musician of the Year, Record of the year, Composer, Arranger, Electric Group of the year and the Misc. Instruments for the Lyricon. He toured around the globe playing at all of the top jazz festivals and an extensive list of clubs. He has made many television appearances worldwide including on the world famous Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" three times.
Michal Urbaniak has played and recorded with (Tutu), (The Wiz),, Toots Thielmans, Doc Sevrinson, Ariff Mardin, , , Jaco Pastorius, , , , , Sticks Hooper, , Philippe Catherine, , Kenny Garret, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Eumir Deodato, Stephane Grappelli,Oliver Nelson, , , John Hendricks, Joe , , , Joe Henderson, Johny Griffin, , Astor Piazzolla, Freddy Hubbard, Tom Browne, , Anthony Jackson, Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim, Bernard Wright, Marcus Miller and many others.
The Story:
As a boy prodigy violinist, he played many recitals and concerts with philharmonic orchestras. He took part in competitions for adults and was awarded a scholarship to study in with the famous David Ojstrach. At the same time he fell in love with American Jazz along with it's culture and a passion for this other musical life began to emerge. One might say that after he began to play Jazz he felt as though a second musical identity came to being. was the straight A student in music school practicing intensely everyday until the afternoon. After which Mr. Hyde would appear experimenting with the new sound of Jazz at local clubs and bars. He dreamed of a time in his life when these two musical identities of his could be combined. However, much time passed before his dream would become a reality. He made a promise to his mother that he would not take that scholarship for violin in Moscow. He put the violin aside altogether and began traveling the world as a young saxophonist. He left for good knowing that playing with promising young musicians who played real American Jazz there is more to learn than anywhere in Europe, at least at that time. So he finally came to live in the New York he dreamed of for years and the victory was sweet. Eight years after he thought he had given up the violin for good he dusted it off and arduously began to teach it to play Jazz as he had done with the saxophone. As a jazz violinist he started a band in which he began connecting the music of his youth and all his experiences of jazz, rock and funk. He was never indifferent to what he heard around him and that is how Fusion came to exist. The experimentation of many musical elements and seeing how they can be used to compliment and ignite each other was fascinating. In New York he discovered a group of incredible young musicians from Jamaica Queens whose innocence, passion, professionalism and profound precision enabled this experimentation to take place. After playing Fusion for a while his music began to evolve further into Acid Jazz; combining the melodic soul of Jazz with the then very fresh beats of Hip hop. Shortly after the release of Urbanator he felt the need to introduce his classical roots to the new sound of Hip Hop. An official meeting of both loves was due. So, on 27th of January 1995, for the first time in the , a rapper performed with a philharmonic orchestra. That day he had proved to himself that which he knew always to be true: "God created music and people divided it into categories".
"Don't Play the Music! Let the Music Play"

Band Members