Mike LeDonne

Michael Arthur LeDonne (born October 26, 1956) is a jazz pianist and organist known for post-bop and hard bop. He has worked with Benny Golson since 1996 and performs under his own name all over the world.

Mike LeDonne
Denmark (2012)
Denmark (2012)
Background information
Birth nameMichael Arthur LeDonne
Born (1956-10-26) October 26, 1956 (age 65)
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
GenresJazz
InstrumentsPiano, Hammond organ
Years active1988–present
LabelsCriss Cross, Savant, Double-Time

Early lifeEdit

LeDonne was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on October 26, 1956.[1] His parents ran a music store.[2] His father was a jazz guitarist, and LeDonne started performing locally around the age of ten.[1] He also had lessons with John Mehegan for four years.[1] After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Jaki Byard in 1978, he moved to New York City and joined the Widespread Depression Jazz Orchestra.[1]

Later life and careerEdit

LeDonne left the Widespread Depression Jazz Orchestra in 1981 and toured the UK with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans[1] Back in New York, LeDonne became the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan's, where he played with some big names in jazz during 1981–83.[1][2] He was also part of Benny Goodman's Sextet in 1982–83.[1]

LeDonne joined Milt Jackson's quartet around 1987; he also composed for and recorded with the band and eventually became musical director. He stayed with Milt Jackson until Jackson's death in 1999. [1][2] His first recording as a leader was in 1988.[2] It was released by Criss Cross, and LeDonne went on to record several more albums for them in the 1990s.[2] "As a sideman he played in the Art FarmerClifford Jordan Quintet and toured Paris with Grady Tate (both 1988), performed with Charles McPherson (1992), James Moody (1992), Sonny Rollins (1995), and Benny Golson (late 1990s to present), and served as an accompanist to Ernestine Anderson, Annie Ross and Mary Stallings."[1] In 1998 LeDonne began recording for Double-Time Records.[2] In 2000 LeDonne started his organ band called "The Groover Quartet" as the result of a weekly Tuesday night gig at Smoke Jazz Club in NYC. This brought his organ playing to prominence and the band went on to record many CD's for the Savant label as well as tour the world. He continues to split his time between the organ and the piano recording several #1 recordings as well as winning the Downbeat Rising Star Poll and being nominated for Best Keyboards by the Jazz Journalist Association in 2012. As a sideman he played organ with Lou Donaldson, George Coleman and David "Fathead" Newman.

Playing styleEdit

Grove wrote: "A level of understatement in LeDonne's style reflects the playing of Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. Predominantly a bop pianist, he introduces a strong left hand into his work and reveals an understanding of swing piano playing".[1] Major influences also include Wynton Kelly, Cedar Walton and McCoy Tyner. His Hammond Organ playing shows influences ranging from Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Charles Earland to Melvin Rhyne and Larry Young.

DiscographyEdit

As leader/co-leaderEdit

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1988 'Bout Time Criss Cross With Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax), Dennis Irwin (bass), Kenny Washington (drums)[3]
1990 The Feeling of Jazz Criss Cross With Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax), Dennis Irwin (bass), Kenny Washington (drums)[4]
1990 Common Ground Criss Cross Trio, with Dennis Irwin (bass), Kenny Washington (drums)[5]
1993 Soulmates Criss Cross Sextet, with Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Joshua Redman (tenor sax), Jon Gordon (alto sax), Peter Washington (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)[6]
1995 Waltz for an Urbanite Criss Cross Quintet, with Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Peter Washington (bass), Kenny Washington (drums)[7]
1998 To Each His Own Double-Time Trio, with Peter Washington (bass), Mickey Roker (drums)[8]
1998 Then & Now Double-Time Quintet, with Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Washington (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums);[9] released 2000
2001 Bags Groove: A Tribute to Milt Jackson Double-Time Octet, with Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Steve Davis (trombone), Steve Wilson (alto sax, soprano sax), Jim Snidero (alto sax, flute), Steve Nelson, vibes), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Mickey Roker (drums)[10]
2003 Smokin' Out Loud Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[11]
2004 You'll See! (Live at The Cellar) Cellar Live Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)
2005 Night Song Savant Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[12]
2006 On Fire (Live at Smoke) Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[13]
2007 Five Live (Live at Smoke) Savant Quintet, with Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Eric Alexander (tenor sax), John Webber (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[14]
2008 Let It Go GoFour Blue Duo, with John Webber; released 2013
2009 The Groover Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[15]
2011 Keep the Faith Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[16]
2012 Speak (Live at The Cellar) Cellar Live Trio, with John Webber (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums)
2013 I Love Music Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums)[17]
2015 Awwl Right! Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums); 3 tracks with guest: Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) added, 2 tracks with guest: Bob Cranshaw (bass) added[18]
2016 That Feelin' Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums); 3 tracks with guest: Vincent Herring (alto sax) added[19]
2018 From the Heart Savant Quartet, with Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums); 2 tracks with guest: Mike Clark (drums) added[20]
2019 Partners in Time Savant Trio, with Christian McBride (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)[21]
2021 It's All Your Fault Savant Groover Quartet (3 tracks), 17-piece big band (5 tracks)

As sidemanEdit

With Eric Alexander

  • Gentle Ballads (2004) Venus
  • The Battle (Live at Smoke) [with Vincent Herring] (2005) HighNote
  • Gentle Ballads II (2006) Venus
  • Gentle Ballads III (2007) Venus
  • Lazy Afternoon: Gentle Ballads IV (2008) Venus
  • Revival of the Fittest (2009) HighNote
  • Friendly Fire (Live at Smoke) [with Vincent Herring] (2011) HighNote
  • Live Encounter [New York All-Stars] (2018) Ubuntu Music

With Mike DiRubbo

  • Keep Steppin' (2001) Criss Cross

With Chris Flory

  • For All We Know (1988) Concord
  • Word on the Street (1996) Double-Time
  • For You (2007) Arbors

With Benny Golson

With Wycliffe Gordon

  • Boss Bones (2007) Criss Cross
  • Cone and T-Staff (2009) Criss Cross

With Scott Hamilton

  • Organic Duke (1994) Concord

With Michael Hashim

  • A Blue Streak (1991) Stash
  • Guys and Dolls (1992) Stash
  • Multi Coloured Blue [a tribute to Billy Strayhorn] (1998) Hep

With Milt Jackson

  • Sa Va Bella (For Lady Legends) (1997) Qwest/WB

With Clifford Jordan

With Hendrik Meurkens

With Alvin Queen

  • I Ain't Lookin' at You (2005) Enja
  • Mighty Long Way (2008) Enja

With Duke Robillard

With Scott Robinson

  • Jazz Ambassador: Scott Robinson Plays the Compositions of Louis Armstrong (2004) Arbors
  • Forever Lasting: Scott Robinson Plays the Compositions of Thad Jones (2007) Arbors

With Jim Rotondi

With Tad Shull

  • Deep Passion (1990) Criss Cross
  • In the Land of the Tenor (1991) Criss Cross

With Greg Skaff

  • Blues For Mr. T (2003) Khaeon [note: reissued in 2004 as Ellington Boulevard on Zoho]

With Gary Smulyan

  • Saxophone Mosaic (1993) Criss Cross
  • Gary Smulyan With Strings (1996) Criss Cross
  • The Real Deal (2002) Reservoir
  • More Treasures (2006) Reservoir
  • Smul's Paradise (2011) Capri

With Jim Snidero

  • Standards Plus (1997) Double-Time
  • Tippin' (2007) Savant

With Benny Waters

  • Birdland Birthday: Live at 95 (1997) Enja

With Cory Weeds

  • Big Weeds (2008) Cellar Live
  • Up a Step: The Music of Hank Mobley (2012) Cellar Live
  • Condition Blue: The Music of Jackie McLean (2014) Cellar Live
  • Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire (2017) Cellar Live
  • O Sole Mio! Music From the Motherland (2019 [rel. 2021]) Cellar Live

With Laura Welland

  • Dissertations on the State of Bliss (2004) OA2/Origin

With Saori Yano

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kennedy, Gary W. (2003), LeDonne, Mike [Michael Arthur], Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J621000
  2. ^ a b c d e f Arcone, Alex. "Mike LeDonne". AllMusic. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "Criss Cross Jazz 1033 CD". crisscrossjazz.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Criss Cross Jazz 1041 CD". crisscrossjazz.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Criss Cross Jazz 1058 CD". crisscrossjazz.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Criss Cross Jazz 1074 CD". crisscrossjazz.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  7. ^ "Criss Cross Jazz 1111 CD". crisscrossjazz.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Adler, David, R. "Mike LeDonne: To Each His Own". AllMusic. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Adler, David, R. "Mike LeDonne: Then and Now". AllMusic. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Adler, David, R. "Mike LeDonne: Bags Groove: A Tribute to Milt Jackson". AllMusic. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott. Mike LeDonne: Smokin' Out Loud: Review at AllMusic. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  12. ^ Yanow, Scott. Mike LeDonne: Night Song: Review at AllMusic. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "Savant CD 2080". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  14. ^ "Savant CD 2091". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  15. ^ "Savant CD 2100". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  16. ^ "Savant CD 2114". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Savant CD 2135". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "Savant CD 2148". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  19. ^ "Savant CD 2159". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  20. ^ "Savant CD 2168". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Savant CD 2174". jazzdepot.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.

External linksEdit