Michael Janisch is an award-winning electric & double bassist, composer, bandleader, producer, promoter, record label owner and educator who works across a broad spectrum of traditional, experimental, improvised and popular music. An American based in London, England, his multitude of talents across the music industry have seen him become one of the most active and in-demand musicians of his generation, as well as a lynchpin figure between US & European artists.
As an instrumentalist, critics, audiences and musicians alike know him for his warm and powerful bass sounds, virtuosic yet unorthodox technique, engaging improvisations and a very open yet supportive approach towards ensemble playing. Janisch can be heard as a bassist on over two hundred albums to date and he regularly performs as a session musician with multiple radio & television credits to his name. Michael currently holds the Professor of Jazz Double Bass position at the Trinity Conservatoire of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and is very active in giving masterclasses and lectures on all aspects of music making (as well as music business) at universities and festivals around the world.
Janisch has released three critically acclaimed albums to date as a bandleader and each project was accompanied by substantial touring in his native US, the UK, Mainland Europe and the Far East: 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 2012. His debut solo album Purpose Built established him internationally as one of the premier bassist-bandleaders working in contemporary improvised music, and drew together his sure-footed bass work (both electric and acoustic), original compositions and some characteristically strong performances from a gun-slinging group of new stars from both sides of the Atlantic. Jazz Times 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 2010’ Critics' lists. Purpose Built was also the impetus for the creation of Janisch's new record label, Whirlwind Recordings.
Since the formation of Whirlwind Recordings in January of 2010, Janisch has become known for his work as a producer, and to date has produced over 40 sessions by world-class artists he has signed to his label, as well as other freelance projects. As a seasoned performer, session musician, bandleader and now successful record label owner, Janisch brings a unique set of skills, knowledge and motivation to any musical project, whether just producing a session on recording day, or helping an artist conceive an idea for a project and seeing it all the way to the release date. As a promoter, Janisch has singlehandedly produced and curated dozens of critically acclaimed live events, tours and festivals with some of the most potent names in the creative music world, performing at major venues and festivals on five continents.
On the horizon, Janisch will be releasing two albums as a leader, a co-led project with the iconic Lee Konitz (2013 date tbc) as well as a new solo project titled Paradigm Shift which will be available sometime in 2014.
Michael has had the privilege to perform or record with: 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, Will Vinson, Christine Tobin, 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, Greg Osby.
Session Bassist Highlights (selected list): The Hollywood Bowl, MTV, Michael Parkinson Show, David Letterman Show, BBC Documentaries, Strictly Come Dancing, The Brit Awards, Paramount Studios L.A., The O2, Avatar, Angel, and Abbey Road Studios.
"Michael Janisch is a commanding bassist, who brings a sinewy thrust to the ensemble with masterful agility."
"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
"Janisch seizes the instrument with a blend of speed and energy as if he wants to be melody, harmony and rhythm all at once."
"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
"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
"One of the most inventive cross-border bandleaders to have recently arrived on the scene."
"Exceptional creativity, brilliant musicianship and compositional intensity are what bassist/composer Michael Janisch is all about, [Purpose Built] is the complete package."
"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."
“American bassist Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind label is fast becoming a major player."