The Michael Weiss Trio

After more than 25 years as a musician's musician in the trenches of the New York jazz scene, pianist and composer Michael Weiss is finally getting a measure of the attention his talents so richly deserve. His quintet made a critically acclaimed debut at the Village Vangard in 2006, followed by a successful return engagement at the club in 2007. Now Weiss is bringing a star-studded trio back to the Vangard with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash on April 1-6, 2008.
The engagement marks a new peak for Weiss but also a full-circle return to the format, inspiration and personnel associated with the first flush of his success in New York. Reviewing Weiss' 2006 performance, New York critic Nate Chinen praised Weiss' composing, playing and band leading skills, noting that "he demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and organization." Chinen also wrote that Weiss was "a confident and sometimes sparkling presence on the piano" and that his playing exhibited "sensitivity and logic, along with crisp control."

Weiss's extensive resume includes work with Johnny GriffinArt Farmer, Frank Weiss, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, The Jazztet, Lou Donaldson, Charles McPherson and many more. Weiss was awarded the BMI/Monk Institute Composers Competition Grand Prize, presented by Wayne Shorter for his piece, "El Camino," which appears on Weiss' latest CD, "Soul Journey." With influences as varied as Scriabin, Szymanowski and Shorter, Weiss' compositions focus on extended forms, thematic development and attention to detail. In 2003 Weiss was a recipient of the Doris Duke/Chamber Music America New Works Grant, for which he wrote the suite "Three Doors."

While Weiss still loves to draw from his unusually deep knowledge of jazz tunes and standards, his repertoire since the min 1990's has leaned toward his original compositions, which favor a meticulous attention to detail, rich harmonic schemes, formal ingenuity and imaginative melodic and rhythmic development. Still, while his writing has become fleshed out with a broader range of ideas and influences, Weiss will focus on his originals with a number of standards mixed in.

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