My latest cd “Vol 2: Milessong The Music Of Miles Davis” has been playing on the Jazz After Hours show, hosted by Jeff Hanley, on Public Radio International. The show airs weekly on 49 different station across stye U.S.
Trumpet player Michael Morreale is a Staten Island native born to a musical family; both parents were Julliard graduates and four uncles were professional musicians. Michael started out playing in jazz-rock inspired horn bands in high school and then fell in love with jazz. He attended CCNY where he was especially inspired by musician Ed Summerlin, graduating with honors in 1979.
Professionally, Michael was busy with commercial work in the NY Metropolitan area and started leading his own jazz group at various Staten Island venues. 1983 was especially fruitful; he took leadership of the Staten Island Chamber Music Players Jazz Quartet. This organization featured annual Summer and Winter concert series as well as school outreach programs. Michael was able to develop his composing during this time; many works were presented in concert and he was fortunate to feature guest performers jazz legends Chuck Wayne, Don Joseph, and Turk Van Lake. The time with Joseph and Van Lake became a dear friendship as well, and they were both beloved musical mentors to Mike. The gig with the Chamber players lasted 25 years, ending only with the organization’s dissolution in 2008.
The other event from 1983 was the beginning of a ten-year association with performing/recording artist Joe Jackson. Michael is featured on six of Jackson’s albums, and two world tours in support of the Body and Soul and Blaze of Glory albums. In 1994 Michael went back to school, earning a Master in Composition from Brooklyn College. A year later he began teaching as an adjunct at College of Staten Island (CUNY), eventually running the jazz department and becoming a full-time Lecturer of Music in 2009.
As a sideman there have been other highlights. In 1997 Michael was invited to play and record with the group Straight Up, (led by fellow Staten Island native John Trentacosta) based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an association that continues to this day. The first recording, Live Jazz in the Desert (1997), was recorded live at the Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos, NM. Michael’s sound and style were captured perfectly, especially on the tune I’ll Close My Eyes, where his Don Joseph roots are especially evident. The second recording from 2002 was called No Need For Words, and two original compositions (May Ann, and One Winslow) were recorded. Cadence magazine described Mike’s playing; “By all indications a devotee of Clifford Brown’s work, Morreale can push the group during the lead chorus of ‘A Horace of a Different Color’ eventually leading into a solo reminiscent of some of the hard bop masters, and then slow down to bring out the vocalistic qualities of the ballad ‘Blame it on My Youth.” In addition to performing with Straight Up for the New Mexico Jazz Festival, Michael has also led concerts at prestigious New Mexico venues such as the Outpost Performance Space and Santa Fe’s Museum Hill for the Santa Fe Jazz Collective.
Other important associations include saxophonist Jerry Vivino, and Michael is featured on his 2006 release Walkin’ With The Wazmo. In 2007 and 2008 he performed with the legendary vocalist Keely Smith at the Café Carlyle, Birdland, and the Tribeca Arts Center as part of the Highlights in Jazz series. His big band sideman work includes the orchestras of Turk Van Lake, Loren Schoenberg, Bob Alexander, (in the NY area) as well as Lou Anderson’s All American Band and Tommy Igoe’s Friday Nite Big Band at Birdland.
Michael maintained a presence in the Staten Island area with his quartet and also as a big band leader. He has written and arranged for Jazz Quintet, Brass Quintet, and big band ensembles. His first CD as leader, Love and Influence (2017), features all original material for quartet and sextet, most of the music composed in the past five years. Michael also performs on piano for two of the tracks. Michael’s trumpet playing owes a debt to his uncles Jimmy Morreale and Jack Morreale for sound. Jack and Carmine Caruso were his two primary trumpet teachers. His jazz approach was mostly realized by listening to and learning from Don Joseph, although Clifford Brown and Art Farmer are big influences as well. The biggest influence however is Miles Davis, and all periods of his career are of great inspiration. Michael’s next CD, which will be released later in 2017, will be called Milessong, The Music of Miles Davis.
A review of my latest CD “MilesSong”:
“…The trumpeter with chops to spare finds every sweet spot that can be mined on this double album, volume two to what might well turn into a series seeing how much music Miles Davis left to be explored and re-evaluated. Utterly tasty stuff throughout, this 14 song sideways glance at his entire career gives you all you need to feel what Morreale feels and dig deeper. Hot stuff that’s a helluva gateway drug.”
– Midwest Record 03/05/18
This music has been a part of my performing for long time, usually in quartet form, For me the totality of Miles’ career is of value and this concept is reflected in the 14 selections on the two disc set.
Recorded and engineered by Chris Sulit at Trading 8’s Music in Paramus, N.J.on February 17, 19, March 8, and 15, 2016, the CD include musicians Tony Regusis – Steinway piano and Fender Rhodes, Bill Moring – acoustic bass, electric bass on “Spanish Key” and Tim Horner – drums, percussion on “Spanish Key” and “Bitches Brew” and myself on trumpet, keyboards on “Bitches Brew”
MilesSong was produced and arranged by myself with “Bitches Brew and “Spanish Key” produced by myself and Chris Sulit
Executive Producer: Nino Morreale.
Michael Morreale: Love and Influence (2013-16 , Blujazz, 2CD): Trumpet player, also some flugelhorn and piano, based in New York. I don’t know of any previous albums, but hype sheet says he’s been active thirty-some years, and I’ve seen a number of side credits, especially with Joe Jackson. Mainstream, with Jon Gordon on alto sax, lots of piano. First disc is brighter and sharper; second includes a vocal. B+(*) [cd]
On The Web
My new CD, is entitled, Love And Influence.
Most of the music on this album was composed and performed in concert at the College of Staten Island’s Recital Hall from 2009 included Vinnie Ruggieri on piano, Bill Moring on bass, and Tim Horner on drums.
I put quotes on the word “working” because in recent years we played rather infrequently, usually just for the concert performances. The four of us had been playing together since 2000, when Tim Horner joined the group. Bill Moring is the next senior member from 1991, Vinnie Ruggieri and I played together since 1983.
The Quartet was originally formed as the Staten Island Chamber Music Players Jazz Quartet, under my direction from 1983 to the organization’s disbanding in 2008. We also played in SI clubs and other venues.
Vinnie died suddenly about two weeks before this recording. At that moment I wanted to quit, period, but at his service I decided this recording had to go on. I am so thankful to Tony Regusis for stepping in on the piano chair. His commitment to this project on short notice will always be treasured.
I had decided adding two other horns would benefit the project greatly, and therefore I am indebted to Jon Gordon and John Allred for playing up to their impressive reps for this endeavor.
Chris Sulit’s ears and talent from the engineering chair was invaluable; he’s a part of the band on this album. One of the compositions also included wordless vocal. I wrote the melody with the voice of Linda Soria in mind and in person she certainly did not disappoint.
Michael Morreale Quartet-“Laura”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“With You, I’m Born Again”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“God Only Knows”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“Ash Wednesday Blues”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“439 Ave. C”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“Leonard Schiller”-11-17-2015
Michael Morreale Quartet-“Hot House”-11-17-2015
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