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Since arriving in New York in 1982, pianist, composer, arranger and educator Michael Weiss has firmly established his reputation working with numerous jazz legends. Perhaps best known through his fifteen year tenure as pianist with Johnny Griffin, Weiss has also been a member of the bands of Art Farmer, the Jazztet, Slide Hampton, Frank Wess, Charles McPherson, Lou Donaldson, Junior Cook/Bill Hardman Quintet, Mingus Epitaph, and Jon Hendricks. He is currently a regular member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Weiss has also performed with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, George Coleman, Clifford Jordan, Pepper Adams, Cecil Payne, Nancy Wilson, Donald Byrd, Randy Brecker, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Gary Bartz, Wynton Marsalis and Ron Carter among others.
As a leader, Weiss has headlined at the Village Vanguard, Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit Symphony Hall, Smithsonian Institution, and major New York venues such as Merkin Concert Hall, the Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Bradley's and Sweet Basil. Reviewing his Vanguard debut, the New York Times wrote that Weiss “demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and organization” exhibiting “sensitivity and logic, along with crisp control.” Television appearances include CBS-TV’s Nightwatch with Charlie Rose and PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center: The City of Jazz. Radio appearances include PianoJazz with Marion McPartland, Making the Music with Wynton Marsalis, Jazzset and the Jazz Piano Christmas Special. Weiss is a 1989 prizewinner in the Thelonious Monk piano competition.
Weiss has also earned recognition as a composer. He is a two-time Chamber Music America grant recipient and was the grand prize winner of the 2000 BMI/Thelonious Monk Institute's Composition Competition presented to him by Wayne Shorter.
Weiss has recorded for the Criss Cross, SteepleChase, and DIW labels. The press were unanimous in their praise of Weiss’ latest release, "Soul Journey" (Sintra), a collection of original compositions for septet:
"Weiss’ shrewd writing and arranging skills are as clearly in view as his sleek piano work." – The New Yorker
"Weiss has a rich palette of composing devices at his command." – Downbeat
"warmth, integrity and above all, thought-provoking originality." – JazzTimes
“the song simply smoke” – Detroit Free Press
Weiss also appears on recordings led by Johnny Griffin, Charles McPherson, Frank Wess, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Steve Grossman, Ronnie Cuber, Dick Oatts and Louis Smith.
As an educator, Weiss has held faculty positions at Queens College, Juilliard, Indiana University and the Hartt School of Music. He presents workshops and master classes for students and professionals throughout the world.