Michael Shirtz Quartet
The Michael Shirtz Quartet features Michael on piano/vocals, joined by Dwight Bailey on bass/vocals (Columbus, OH), Reggie Jackson on drums/percussion (Columbus, OH), and alto saxophonist George Michael (New York, NY). The group plays 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 working with such artists as Maureen McGovern, Ellen Winters, among others.
MEMBERS OF THE MICHAEL SHIRTZ QUARTET:
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.
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.
GEORGE MICHAEL, SAXOPHONE
NYC based saxophonist and educator George W. Michael holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from The University of Texas-Pan American (now known as The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley) and a Master’s in Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University. He has over 20 years of professional musical experience as a music educator, performer, clinician, composer and arranger.
George began his teaching career as a band director for both middle and high schools in the South Texas area. In his time there, many of his students earned numerous awards and went on to study at schools such as Berkeley College of Music, The Peabody Institute and the University of North Texas. Throughout this time, he remained active in the community, performing with a number of groups in a variety of settings throughout the south Texas and northern Mexico area. Upon completion of his Master’s degree, George was invited to join the faculty at Bowling Green State University where he taught jazz improvisation and applied jazz saxophone. In addition, he was also on faculty at Terra State Community College where he taught various courses in both music and humanities. Currently, George is teaching music at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), an Outward Bound school within the Department of Education in New York City. While spending the last ten years in first the South Bronx then upper Manhattan, he has curated an affinity for teaching students of high needs in an urban environment.
George can be heard at a number of venues around NYC including Carnegie Hall Music Educators Workshop, NYC Jazz Workshop, and the Michael Shirtz Quartet. George was also one of the founding members of the Washington Heights Jazz Festival which features numerous musicians from upper Manhattan and the surrounding New York City area. George serves on the board of the Prima Music Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which provides performance opportunities for aspiring young artists and builds community through music. George references Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock amongst his biggest influences.