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Mike LeDonne

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Pianist Mike LeDonne was born in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1956. He was raised in his parent’s music store and by the age of 10 his father, a jazz guitarist, began booking him on gigs. At age 21, Mike graduated from New England Conservatory and moved to New York City with the Widespread Jazz Orchestra.

In 1981, he left Widespread to travel to the UK with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans. On returning, he began a two-year stint as the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan’s, then one of New York’ s oldest jazz clubs. It was there that he came under the influence of and played with many old masters such as Roy Eldridge, Papa Jo Jones and Vic Dickenson. He spent 1982-1983 with the Benny Goodman sextet and went on to play with Buddy Tate, Al Grey, Ruby Braff and many others. Later he worked with the Art Farmer-Clifford Jordan Quintet, went to Paris with Grady Tate, and played with James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Charles McPherson and Sonny Rollins. He also spent time as accompanist to singers Ernestine Anderson, Annie Ross and Etta Jones.

In 1988 he started playing with the Milt Jackson Quartet (along with Mickey Roker and Bob Cranshaw). Mr. Jackson recorded Mike’s compositions and arrangements. Mike also became the band’s musical director.

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