Michael Janisch (recently nominated for a MOBO Award) has established himself as a tireless creative force across the developing international spheres of contemporary improvised and experimental music. Based in London (originally from the USA), he successfully traverses this creative topography as electric & double bassist, composer, bandleader, producer, session musician and record label owner; and with an infectiously enthusiastic and influential spirit, he continues to energize and shape the current, bustling, international scene.

His current cross-­genre project as composer and bassist, Paradigm Shift – which ambitiously combines electro-­acoustic, contemporary jazz, free improvisation, future-­funk, multi-­metered groove, punk and electronica – has seen the release of the eponymous, far­reaching double album (Whirlwind). This world­class sextet line­up of Paul Booth (reeds), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Leonardo Genovese (keys), Colin Stranahan (drums) and Alex Bonney (electronics/effects) has garnered airplay on BBC Radio 6’s Gilles Peterson Worldwide, JazzFM, BBC Jazz Line UP, NPR, WGBO and WDR Radio, and continues to prompt glowing responses from the music industry and fans alike.

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 sure­footed bass work (both double and electric), 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 made an immediate impact on both sides of the Atlantic. 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), Whirlwind has been featured as a label in Jazz Journal, 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 in­demand producer with over 90 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 has become a sought after producer for bringing 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.”

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 masterclasses and group workshops 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.


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…


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.”

“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

“​Michael Janisch is simply a monster player. His bass skills on both electric and acoustic seem monumental and at the same time, effortless. He obviously loves a groove, though his grooves are more complex than your average funk/R&B bassist. His soloing is thematic and takes in the entire range of the instrument, often contrasting high note melodic statement with low note grooves.​”​
What’s On

“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



Production / Credits

Michael in Studio (1)

Coming soon…