Pianist and composer Michael Weiss returns for his fourth solo appearance at the 2023 DJF to celebrate Detroit’s own Barry Harris (1929-2021), a legendary pianist and educator revered around the world. Weiss is joined by two longtime collaborators, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. The trio has performed at such notable venues as the Village Vanguard. Since arriving in New York in 1982, pianist and composer Michael Weiss has forged a formidable career working in the bands of jazz legends Johnny Griffin, Frank Wess, Art Farmer, Charles McPherson, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, the Jazztet, Lou Donaldson, the Junior Cook/Bill Hardman Quintet, and Slide Hampton. Weiss’ 15-year association with Griffin yielded four recordings and annual tours. He has also performed with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Clifford Jordan, Gary Bartz, Phil Woods, Pepper Adams, Joe Lovano, Nancy Wilson, Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell and Wynton Marsalis. As a bandleader, Weiss has headlined at every major New York jazz venue, including the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Bradley’s, Iridium, Sweet Basil, Dizzy’s, and Smoke. Reviewing his Vanguard debut, the New York Times wrote that Weiss “demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and organization” exhibiting “sensitivity and logic, along with crisp control.” Television appearances include CBS-TV’s Nightwatch and PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center: The City of Jazz. NPR radio appearances include PianoJazz with Marion McPartland. Weiss’ latest release is Persistence (Cellar Live). His previous recordings as a leader are on the Criss Cross, DIW, SteepleChase, and Sintra labels. In addition to his recordings with Griffin, Weiss appears as a sideman on recordings by Charles McPherson, Frank Wess, Steve Grossman, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Ronnie Cuber, and Louis Smith.
Weiss was the grand prize winner of the 2000 BMI/Thelonious Monk Institute’s Composition Competition presented to him by Wayne Shorter. Weiss was also a 1989 prizewinner in the Thelonious Monk Institute’s International Piano Competition. “He can focus the intensity in a tune as well as any pianist in mainstream jazz.” – New York Times “a nimble and inventive keyboard artist who couldn’t play an inelegant note if he wanted to.” – Chicago Tribune “One of the most fluent and flexible pianists of his generation.” – BMI Music World “Weiss has a rich palette of composing devices at his command” – Downbeat “Warmth, integrity and above all, originality” – JazzTimes “Combines the wonder of spontaneity with a workmanlike acknowledgment of his materials: art and craft in delightful balance.” – Chicago Reader