Mike Bastian hit NYC in 1956, from the small Midwestern farming community, Galena, IL, via a tour in Japan with the Marines. On his very first night in town, he found The Five Spot Café where Thelonious Monk was playing with Charlie Rouse, Shadow Wilson, Dave Amram, and a young Jimmy Scott sitting in on vocals. He struck up an immediate friendship with noted NY drummer Chick Foster, who became his teacher and life-long friend. Mike was soon working in several Greenwich Village venues with bands made up of musicians from the disbanded Lunceford and Glen Miller organizations.
It was a time when loft jam sessions abounded. The clubs in the Village–Café Bohemia, The Village Vanguard, The Five Spot and others–featured Miles, Monk, Brubeck, and Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross, while midtown featured Birdland with the Basie Band, Coleman Hawkins, Horace Silver, Joe Williams, Bobby Timmons, and Art Blakey. A block over on Seventh Avenue at the Metropole, such historic figures as drummer Zutty Singleton, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, and Clarinetist Pee Wee Russell could be heard through the open doors, or watched through the window. A short ride on the A-Train landed you at the legendary Apollo Theatre where for a couple of bucks you could see shows emceed by Redd Foxx and Pigmeat Markham, and where Sammy Davis, Jr. played five shows a day with the Basie Band, while Symphony Sid played all the ‘new’ music on KLIB radio.
It was a happy time for a young drummer, learning his craft, playing with luminaries like Eddie Wilcox, Ernie and Pini Caceres, and Pee Wee Russell in a three year-stint at the Café Riviera; and having the opportunity to sit in with musical greats like Cecil Taylor and Slam Stewart.
Mike was recommended to Juilliard by Aubrey Brooks–Sonny Payne's teacher. There he studied percussion with Moe Goldenberg of the NBC Orchestra, and harmony with Peter Schickele, who went on to found PDQ Bach. Under Moe Goldenberg's direction, Mike taught in the Juilliard summer extension program. He added in vocal lessons with Teddi Hall and tap lessons with Honi Coles. It was then that he met dancer/painter, Silvia Carballo, who had danced with the Ballet de Cuba, and then as a showgirl in the famous Tropicana in Havana. While touring with a flamenco troupe, she became stranded in New York during the final days of the Cuban Revolution. Mike having sung around the Village, most notably with Mabel Godwin who held forth at Arthur's Tavern for many years, took this opportunity to form a song and dance act which toured up and down the East Coast and Canada, in addition to performing at the Manhattan Center in New York.
Mike left the business and spent the next quarter-century or so raising a family, and starting his own recruiting business. But the lure of music never left him, and for the past 15 years he has played both classical and jazz, studying with Anthony Cirone of the SF Symphony, composer Lou Harrison, Dan Sabanovich, the head of jazz studies at S.J. State, and Akira Tana, a Bay Area drummer of international renown. After five years of playing with most of the Bay Area's community orchestras (Santa Cruz Symphony, Nova Vista, Winchester Symphony, Santa Clara University Symphony, Saratoga Symphony, San Jose State Percussion Ensemble,) Mike has returned to his first love, jazz. Armed with conservatory training and a New York jazz ethos from 'greats' that were like uncles to him, Mike presents a musical pentimento with the rhythms and repertoires from a golden age. Add to that the beats that began in New Orleans and the Caribbean, and you've got Mike Bastian's Pentimento Jazz. In addition to his performing schedule, Mike teaches privately, and is on staff at The Music School in Sunnyvale, CA.
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