Michael Shirtz Quartet/Quintet
The Michael Shirtz Quartet is a jazz ensemble that plays traditional jazz with a blend of contemporary textures such as funk, rock, singer/songwriter, blues, and gospel. A nontraditional and percussive approach to the keyboard, mixed with his vocals and interests in polytonality and improvisation, Shirtz’s quartet sound has developed strong Brubeckian and Previn-like influences. These influences have allowed MSQ to function as a revolving host to many musicians, even featuring the sounds of harmonica, cello, vibes, and violin. The quartet has provided Michael with a foundation for compositional ideas and unique arrangements of American Songbook standards. After a retreat in performance from 2004-2012, Shirtz began incorporating MSQ back into his musical interests and activities. Today, MSQ accompanies Shirtz in his jazz gigs as well as plays in his shows AMERICA, Our Way, Blue Skies, and In Finding Faith.
In 2014, Michael began focusing on MSQ as his primary performance group incorporating a diverse membership featuring Michael on piano/vocals, joined by Douglas Neel on guitar/bass/trombone/vocals, Dwight Bailey bass/vocals, Reggie Jackson on drums/percussion, and Danny Bauer joining on keyboards to round out the group as a quintet for various performances. This unique instrumentation has created the perfect accompaniment for Shirtz's shows and performances in which Michael moves effortlessly from singing and playing jazz, to almost any contemporary style.
MEMBERS OF THE MICHAEL SHIRTZ QUARTET/QUINTET:
DWIGHT BAILEY, BASS/VOCALS
Dwight Bailey was born in Detroit but credits much of his musical development to the heavy influence of musicians based in Central Ohio. During his teenage years he began playing predominately gospel and working with artist like Bobby Jones, LaShaun Pace & Douglas Miller, he learned that playing bass with a spiritual conviction would be the tool that would serve him well in years to come. It wasn't until his college years, at The Ohio State University, that he was inspired to learn more about jazz and other styles of music. He began to study the double bass with several teachers such as Dr. Milton Ruffin, Dr. Solona Lee, Dr. Paul Robinson, Doug Richeson & Roger Hines. Dwight has spent the last several years touring all over the world and has performed on some of the most prestigious platforms in music, such as the Monterey Bay Blues/Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, The London Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Primivera Music Festival, to name a few. He has held down the low end at the world famous Hollywood Bowl for artist like the Blind Boys of Alabama, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sandoval, Anthony Hamilton, TelMary, Marcus Belgrave and his boss of 2 years, 6-time grammy award winner, Dr. John. Today, Dwight continues to tour with various artist and enjoys playing the local scenes in both Ohio and Michigan.
DOUGLAS NEEL, GUITAR/VOCALS
Douglas J. Neel is a multi-instrumentalist from Columbus, OH, who specializes in performance and education. As a freelance musician, Douglas has performed with numerous artists/ensembles/groups throughout the region, including Trio NOT, the Michael Shirtz Quartet, The Harmony Project, The Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Walt Sanders & The Cadillac Band, Canta BRASIL, The Pinup Project, The Conspiracy Band, Yumbambé, Paul Brown’s Science Gravy Orchestra, Central Ohio Brass Band, The Dominion Brass, the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra, the Student Loan, Soul Kitch’n, Matt King & The Roustabout Band, and the Broadway touring shows of Hairspray, A Chorus Line, and Chicago. Additionally, Douglas has shared the stage with such greats as Melissa Manchester, Mary McClendon, Jay Ashby, Elizabeth Von Trapp, Ernie Krivda, Aretha Franklin, Mark Gridley, and continues to lead his own Trio/4tet on a variety of performances. Currently, Douglas is on the Adjunct Faculty at Capital University- Conservatory of Music (Instructor of Jazz/Contemporary Guitar and Rock Ensemble director), Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (Instructor of Guitar, Bass, and Low Brass), and the Univ. of Findlay (Instructor of Guitar & Electric Bass). Douglas has also served on the faculty at Bowling Green State University and Terra State Community College during his career. In addition to being an Affiliated Educator for Benedetto Guitars, Douglas is also an Edwards Trombones Affiliated Artist, and performs throughout the region as a trombonist, 7-string guitarist, and bassist. As an emerging recording producer, Douglas has recently released two albums, his own BALANCE (2017) and Michael Shirtz's BLUE SKIES (2018). He holds degrees from the Capital University- Conservatory of Music (BM, Music Performance) and Bowling Green State University- College of Musical Arts (MM, Dual Specialization).
REGGIE JACKSON, DRUMS
Reggie Jackson is equally at home to both the jazz and the pop/commercial music scenes. Based in Columbus, OH, Reggie built a reputation from an early age as a powerful drummer who could cover many styles such as be-bop, Latin, big band, fusion, pop and gospel. Over the last two decades Reggie expanded his reach beyond the Columbus scene through worldwide tours with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dr. John as well as the Grammy Award winning jazz singer Diane Schuur. Throughout these tours, Reggie has performed in many legendary jazz clubs such as The Blue Note and can be heard on Diane Schuur's CD "Live in London" which was recorded at the famous Ronnie Scott's jazz club. Reggie continues to stay busy balancing work in music and family. In Columbus alone, Reggie can be found working with many great players like Bobby Floyd and Derek DeCenzo. His work covers a wide variety of situations such as educational workshops, church gigs and weekly jazz jam sessions.
DANNY BAUER, KEYBOARDS/PIANO
Danny Bauer is a freelance performer, educator, composer and arranger. Born into a musical family, Bauer’s parents started him with piano lessons at the age of five, and by age twelve, Bauer had formed several bands that he led throughout his high school career. Bauer attended Lakota East High School in West Chester, Ohio, where he played piano in the jazz band, trombone in the concert bands and marching band, sang in the choirs, and performed in the school musicals. Bauer was awarded the John Philip Sousa award upon graduating from high school. After high school Bauer attended Capital University to pursue studies in jazz piano performance. He has performed with many groups and musicians, including the Pete MillsQuartet, Canta Brasil, Blue Water Kings, Maxwell Button, Derek DiCenzo, Zakk Jones’ Screeching Owl, Josh Hill, Bryan Olsheski, Michael Shirtz, Jim Rupp, and Cedric Easton. He has played at many venues, including the Jazz and Ribs Festival, Easton “Sounds on the Town” Series, Comfest, Brothers Drake, Rumba Cafe, Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, Park Street Tavern, Dick’s Den, The Walrus, and a myriad of others. He is the founder and musical director of the 10-piece jazz-fusion band Safety Squad, and he put together several other bands to play the music of Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Chris Potter, Dave Holland, and others.