Michael Eckroth is an American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer from Phoenix, Arizona, particularly known for his work in Latin jazz. He was a member of jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield's New Quartet from 2010-2012. Currently, he is the co-writer, arranger, and pianist for Cuban and American mambo big band Orquesta Akokán, whose self-titled debut album from Daptone Records was nominated in the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Michael Eckroth performing in 2019
|Origin||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, pianist, arranger|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboards, vocals|
|Labels||Daptone Records, SteepleChase Records, Positone Records|
|Associated acts||Orquesta Akokán, John Scofield, Ron McClure, Paul McCandless|
Early life and educationEdit
He formally studied jazz throughout his career, receiving his B.A. at the University of Arizona and receiving his M.A. at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He began pursuing his Ph.D. at New York University in 2006. During this time, he was the recipient of the Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant at Florida International University under a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant in 2012 to conduct research on Cuban music. He later completed his Ph.D. in 2016, writing his dissertation on Cuban piano solos of the 1940s.
While studying at New York University, Eckroth became involved in a number of musical projects as a pianist. While Eckroth was a student in an ensemble class led by jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield, Scofield invited Eckroth to join his New Quartet with drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Ben Street from 2010-2012. Eckroth appears in the live concert DVD of the group's 2010 concert in Paris, France at jazz club New Morning.
Eckroth formed the Latin vocal trio La Voz de Tres with Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal and guitarist Jason Ennis in 2008. The group released their self-titled debut album in 2010 and their second album Sueños y Delirios in 2015. Around this time, Eckroth also performed with jazz multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless and Brazilian guitarist Aliéksey Vianna. The trio released a live concert DVD from Brazil in 2009 titled Ebano. Additionally, Eckroth appeared on Morrie Louden's album Time Piece, which featured singer Gretchen Parlato and guitarist Lionel Loueke.
In 2015, Eckroth released a solo album of Cuban music titled Piano and Rhythm. Later in 2016, Eckroth released a duo album with bassist Ron McClure titled Hello Stars. Eckroth appeared on Ron McClure's Trio album Hope and Knowledge as well. Eckroth also appeared on saxophonist Dan Pratt's Quartet album Hymn for the Happy Man with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Greg Hutchinson.
Starting in 2016, Eckroth formed the Cuban and American mambo big band Orquesta Akokán as its co-writer, arranger, and pianist with singer José "Pepito" Gómez and composer Jacob Plasse. The group is a collaboration of musicians from Cuba and the United States that formed after the normalization of relations between the two countries in 2014. The band recorded their debut album in Havana, Cuba at the historic EGREM state-run Areíto Studios, where notable musicians like Buena Vista Social Club, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, and Frank Sinatra have recorded. The group's debut album was released by Daptone Records in 2018, and it was the record label's first all Spanish-language recording. The album was nominated for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in the "Best Tropical Latin Album" category.
Awards and honorsEdit
- Orquesta Akokán (2018)
- Piano and Rhythm (2015)
- Sombrío (2010)
Ron McClure & Michael EckrothEdit
- Hello Stars (2016)
La Voz de TresEdit
- Sueños y Delirios (2015)
- La Voz de Tres (2010)
Calle Mambo ProjectEdit
- See The Light (2018)
- Bushwick'd (2014)
As a band member/session artistEdit
- Ron McClure: Hope and Knowledge (2017)
- Dan Pratt Quartet (with Christian McBride and Greg Hutchinson): Hymn for the Happy Man (2016)
- Ron McClure: Crunch Time (2012)
- Ron McClure: Dedication (2011)
- John Scofield New Quartet: New Morning: The Paris Concert (DVD) (2010)
- Paul McCandless and Aliéksey Vianna: Ebano (DVD) (2009)
- Morrie Louden (with Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke): Time Piece (2007)
- "As Cuba Changes, Orquesta Akokan Revives The Golden Age of Mambo", NPR, Washington D.C., 15 April 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "Daptone Taps Cuban Soul on Upcoming Release", Billboard, New York, 4 January 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "Artist Profile: Michael Eckroth", "Latin Jazz Network", Toronto, 15 April 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- “2019 Grammy Awards: Complete list of nominations”, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles, 7 December 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "New Directions", "Boulder Weekly", Boulder, 14 November 2018, Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
- "Award-winning Khani Cole performs with Rachel Eckroth", "The Verde Independent", Cottonwood, 22 November 2013, Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
- "Sounds of Brazil", "Tucson Weekly", Tucson, 1995, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- “Dave Loeb and the Jazz Studies Program at UNLV”, “Jazzed Magazine”, Las Vegas, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- “NYU State of Mind: First Billy Joel Scholarship Winners Announced”, “NYU News”, New York, 10 August 2006, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grants", "Florida International University", Miami, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "John Scofield: New Morning - The Paris Concert", "All About Jazz", Philadelphia, 27 September 2011, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "La Voz De Tres At Tempe Center For The Arts", "All About Jazz", Philadelphia, 31 October 2014, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "La Voz de Tres: Sueños y Delirios", "World Music Report", Toronto, 21 April 2015, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "Mike Eckroth", "All About Jazz", Toronto, 2 October 2015, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "Morrie Louden: Time Piece", "All About Jazz", 19 July 2007, Retrieved on 4 February 2019.
- "Mike Eckroth: Piano and Rhythm", "Latin Jazz Network", Toronto, 27 July 2015, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "BP Recommends: New Releases from Rex Brown, Paul Simon, Rancid, and More", "Bass Player Magazine", Bath, 31 August 2017, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "New jazz releases to comfort your soul in times of trouble". "AXS", Los Angeles, 13 June 2016, Retrieved on 15 January 2019.
- "Turns out recording an album in communist Cuba isn’t easy", "New York Post", New York, 29 March 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "Orquesta Akokan, Echoes Of A Cuban Past Recorded In Havana", "NPR", Washington D.C., 19 January 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "U.S./Cuba partnership: Orquesta Akokan will perform Sunday at SECCA", "Winston-Salem Journal", Winston-Salem, 5 September 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "Calle Mambo Project: See The Light". "Latin Jazz Network", Toronto, 15 April 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.
- "'Keep Your Values At The Heart Of Your Art': Art Awardees Hear From Acclaimed Alum Filmmaker", "Hop Backstage", Hanover, 30 May 2018, Retrieved on 14 January 2019.