Mike started in music relatively late, at the age of 16
After picking up his brother's guitar and re-tuning it to trace the chords that had caught his ear in early Joni Mitchell songs and Weather Report instrumentals, he soon became an avid fan of Steely Dan and picked up Larry Carlton solos by ear, as well as the rich harmonies and quirky melodic twists of Fagen and Becker.
The obvious jazz influence that permeates much of that music led him to dig deeper into the history and mystery of jazz and some of its major protagonists, including Ed Bickert, Joe Pass and Jim Hall, as well as great exponents of piano, sax and trumpet such as Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard.
Influenced in many directions, from rock (his brother Alan) and song (his sister Bet) to a broad spectrum of jazz (his brother Paul), Mike became noted for his creativity in a number of musical settings.
Mike has performed and recorded with Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Steve Rodby, Palle Danielsson, Arild Andersen, Peter Erskine, Adam Nussbaum, John Marshall, Bob Moses, Bill Frisell, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Mike Gibbs, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Tal Farlow, Palle Mikkelborg, Mica Paris and Norma Winstone.
He toured Europe and the USA and recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra, of which he was a member for 18 years.
In 2008, Mike released his debut album Madhouse and the Whole Thing There to wide critical acclaim. It features strings, horn, piano, brass section and vocals. In the same year, Mike was commissioned to write for the Manchester Jazz Festival. He wrote a suite called Ropes, which featured a 22-piece orchestra and jazz quintet with Adam Nussbaum on drums. The suite was performed to a packed theatre at the Royal Northern College of Music, and received a standing ovation.
Mike has also been writing for The Impossible Gentlemen, a group he co-leads with the brilliant British piano player Gwilym Simcock and which also features Adam Nussbaum and Steve Swallow. They have toured extensively in Europe and the UK and have recorded two albums.