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Profile

Michael Janisch is an electric & double bassist, composer, bandleader, producer, professor of music and record label owner originally from the USA currently based in London, England. His multitude of talents across the music industry have seen him become one of the leading artists of his generation in contemporary improvised and experimental music.

As a bassist he’s known for his versatility, full-toned sounds and passion for playing time and groove with authenticity and dedication, no matter the context. A keen improviser, he has been described as “virtuosic and emphatic” (The Guardian) and Bass Musician Magazine asserts “Janisch is one of the few bass players out there who plays both electric and upright with equal facility, passion and musicality.”

As a composer and bandleader Janisch has released five critically-acclaimed albums to date: The TransAtlantic Collective’s Traveling Song (co-led with Patrick Cornelius) in 2008, Purpose Built (debut solo album) in 2010, Banned in London (co-led with Aruan Ortiz) in 2013, and First Meeting: Live in London, Volume 1 (co-led with Lee Konitz, Dan Tepfer & Jeff Williams) in 2014. His debut solo album Purpose Built established his international reputation as one of the premier bassist-bandleaders-composers working in contemporary improvised music, and drew together his sure-footed bass work (both electric and acoustic), original compositions, and arranging skills along with some characteristically strong performances from a group comprised of prominent musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, including Jim Hart, Walter Smith III, Mike Moreno, Jason Palmer, Paul Booth, Aaron Goldberg, Phil Robson and Johnathan Blake. JazzTimes Magazine called it “the complete package” while Jazz Journal noted it was a “perfect blend of tradition and modernity” and was received with high critical acclaim by fans, press, musicians and fellow bassists, while making a number of ‘Best of the Year’ critics’ lists. Purpose Built was also the impetus for the creation of Janisch’s new record label, Whirlwind Recordings, which has been described as “the new label of the moment, releasing a diverse cross section of excellent music.” (BBC Radio 2) and “one of Europe’s busiest and most creative independent labels.” (The Irish Times) with features in Downbeat, Jazz Thing and Record Collector Magazines as well as The New York City Jazz Record.

Since the formation of Whirlwind in January of 2010, Michael has become an in-demand producer with over 70 credited sessions to date. As a seasoned performer, session musician, composer and arranger, bandleader and record label owner who understands both the artistic and business elements of releasing music in today’s world, he brings a unique set of skills to any project. London Jazz states: “Contributions like Janisch’s – both as bassist and as producer – to the musical life of our great city are beyond price.”

On October 2, 2015 Janisch released his second solo album Paradigm Shift, an ambitious double-disc album featuring an almagam of electro-acoustic, genre-bursting music melding the worlds of contemporary jazz and free improv with future-funk, multi-metered groove, punk and electronica. Already with spins on BBC Radio 2 / 3, Gilles Peterson Worldwide, JazzFM, and WDR Radio, the album has been described as “Brilliant” (The Guardian), “Sheer Dynamism” (All About Jazz), “Wide ranging, creative and thrilling, a suberb achievement” (Jazz Views), “An electro-acoustic mix of dazzling improvisations, post-processed electronics, with unique and creative compositions.” (URB Magazine) and “Exceptional” (Musik Reviews), while Jazzwise Magazine states it’s a “highlight of Janisch’s eventful career to date” and Music an Sich exclaims “Surely this double album is one of the truly successful works in this year within this genre.”

Janisch’s new electro-acoustic six piece band Paradigm Shift has been thrilling audiences across Europe and Jazz Mann notes it’s a “stellar international sextet… catch them if you can,” while The Jazz Breakfast states “A wealth of imaginative, engaging jazz has been produced by bands that expertly bridge the styles of free-flowing acoustic jazz and electronic styles, but Michael Janisch’s Paradigm Shift must surely be one of the most accomplished.” Perhaps Mumble Music sums it up best with their experience of Janisch’s band in Glasgow, Scotland: “Paradigm Shift finished off the night with a tour de force display of instrumental firepower that ranks alongside any jazz gig I’ve been to in the past and I’m including some very big names in that list.”

In addition to performing Michael is an adjunct Professor of Double Bass at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and regularly gives private lessons and music career consultations from his own studio in London while performing masterclasses at universities and festivals around the world.

Michael endorses D’Addario Strings for both double and electric bass, Planet Wave Cables, Fender Basses, Ashdown Amps and AMT Microphones. Michael is a member of the Musician’s Company in London (a livery company that dates back to the 1500s) and was their medal winner in 2007 for Young Jazz Musician.

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Performance Credits (selected list)

Gary Burton, Quincy Jones, George Garzone, Roy Hargrove, Joe Locke, Phil Robson, Mark Turner, Shirley Horn, Dianne Reeves, Tim Warfield, John Taylor, Joe Lovano, Jaleel Shaw, Perico Sambeat, Tommy Smith, Hal Crook, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Vincent Herring, Evan Parker, Clarence Penn, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Donny McCaslin, Walter Smith III, Sir John Dankworth, Stan Sulzman, Ingrid Jenson, Leon Parker, Mike Moreno, Gwilym Simcock, Jason Palmer, Donna Lewis, Till Brönner, Will Vinson, Christine Tobin, John Taylor, Ambrose Akinmusire, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Patrick Cornelius, Ralph Alessi, Jeff Ballard, Jeremy Pelt, Jason Rebello, Logan Richardson, Tim Garland, Aruan Ortiz, Alex Garnett, Jon Irabagon, Gary Husband, Greg Osby, Aaron Parks, Martin Taylor, Kurt Elling, Richard Galliano…

 

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Highlight Press Quotes

“Awesomely virtuosic double bass”
The Guardian

“Michael Janisch is a commanding bassist, who brings a sinewy thrust to the ensemble with masterful agility.”
Downbeat Magazine

“Janisch leads his quintet on a rip-roaring ride, doling out heavy grooves, tasty walking lines and melody by the bucketful. Like all good bassists, he knows when to sit back and let the lead instruments have their spot.”
Bass Guitar Magazine

“Michael Janisch is a virtuoso on the bass.”
Jazzthetic

“Janisch is one of the few bass players out there who plays both electric and upright with equal facility, passion and musicality.”
Bass Musician Magazine

“The bassist Michael Janisch, outstanding throughout in partnership with the drummer Jeff Williams, is featured at length on “Bilbao Song”, showing himself to be one of a new breed of player (along with Thomas Morgan and Larry Grenadier) whose renunciation of the desire to play faster, higher and ever more intricate lines acts to the great benefit of the music.”
The Blue Moment

“Janisch seizes the instrument with a blend of speed and energy as if he wants to be melody, harmony and rhythm all at once.”
The Telegraph

“A very great bassist and composer, providing a wealth of ideas and musical command of his instrument, both the acoustic and electric bass.”
Musik Reviews

“A bassist everyone with ears seems to want.”
The Buffalo News

“Janisch himself is a tower of strength, as he always is, providing the harmonic core, some of the most melodic bass playing in jazz.”
Bebop Spoken Here

“A very great bassist and composer, providing a wealth of ideas and musical command of his instrument, both the acoustic and electric bass.”
Music Reviews

“Michael Janisch has created the music of “now”—that is music in the immediacy of the present. Mr. Janisch is articulate in his muscular opening and what follows his challenge to dig deep is as mighty a response to his consonant and dissonant overture. Of course, this is the Michael Janisch that is heard throughout the record, pushing the drummer and the pianist to throw down gauntlets to the other soloists.”
Latin Jazz Network

“Janisch’s Purpose Built seamlessly marries the highest virtues of jazz – intricate yet purposeful rhythm, colourful harmonic language, compelling melody and high- level improvisation together with those often underused qualities of light and shade… a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.”
Jazz Journal

“One of the most inventive cross-border bandleaders to have recently arrived on the scene.”
The Guardian

“Exceptional creativity, brilliant musicianship and compositional intensity are what bassist/composer Michael Janisch is all about, [Purpose Built] is the complete package.”
JazzTimes Magazine

“Impressive from beginning to end, Purpose Built goes a long way to building a sturdy foundation from which Janisch will undoubtedly carve out a long career in jazz. Excellent musicianship, intelligent compositions and an authoritative approach to the music, makes this recording an unquestionable success. Hopefully there is more where Purpose Built came from, because intelligent, full-bodied music like this is what jazz needs to succeed in this new century.”
All About Jazz

“Contributions like Janisch’s – both as bassist and as producer – to the musical life of our great city are beyond price.”
London Jazz

“American bassist Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind label is fast becoming a major player.”
The Guardian