The Michael Shirtz Jazz Quartet will present "An Evening with Dave Brubeck" at the Musical Arts Series in Port Clinton on Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 E. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton. The quartet features Michael Shirtz (piano/vocals), Doug Neel (guitar/trombone/bass), Dwight Bailey (bass), and Reggie Jackson (drums/percussion). Their program will include music, background and stories on Brubeck, for an enlightening as well as entertaining evening. Shirtz himself remains deeply influenced by Brubeck's innovative piano style.
This Earl E. Warnke Memorial Concert is sponsored by Crown Battery. Following the performance, the audience will be invited to a reception to welcome and meet the performers. Tickets will be available at the door for $15; student admission is free. Further information about the Musical Arts Series is available at: www.musicalartsportclinton.com
Michael Shirtz – piano/vocals
George Michael – saxophone
Dwight Bailey – bass
Dylan Moffitt – drums/percussion
Arica Pfirsch – manager
Michael Shirtz is a jazz performer, conductor, and composer whose performances reach out to audiences of all generations. His vocal style captures the warmth and lyricism of a Mel Tormé on smooth ballads, and up tunes with energy, drive, and a hint of blues. As a pianist, Shirtz has remained deeply influenced by the innovation of Brubeck’s keyboard styles, which are infused into Michael’s music. After a concert, an audience member once commented, “It’s like listening to Mel Tormé meets Dave Brubeck!”
A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Shirtz began his musical career while in high school fronting small house bands to leading variations of big bands and jazz ensembles. As grandson to former Big Band leader and producer Tommy Weldon, it wasn’t long before Michael was traveling, producing, and performing popular themed concerts and tribute shows. These unique programs have reached out to a diverse audience, creating a unique following that embraces music lovers of all ages to Michael’s music earning him the nicknames “Michael Cool” and “Young Brown Eyes”. After a nine-year break to pursue other musical interests, Shirtz returned to performing in 2013 and expanded his interest in composing and arranging music; from performing traditional jazz styles and moving effortlessly into Blues, Funk, Rock, Gospel and Singer/Songwriter material.
Shirtz returned to presenting theme shows by releasing As I’ve Learned It in 2013 and launched his now popular JAZZ@8 Series hosted at venues throughout the Midwest. In 2015, Shirtz launched his show, AMERICA OUR WAY: An American Songbook Story that highlights the music and performers of the 20th Century. In 2017, he developed three new shows that include his exploration into faith and composition called In Finding Faith, We Will Arise with Maureen McGovern, and symphony pops show An Evening with Michael Shirtz. Though a studio artist and producer for nearly 20 years, Shirtz released his first album BLUE SKIES in February of 2018.
Shirtz has worked with such artists as Dave Brubeck, Melissa Manchester, Mary McClendon, Elizabeth von Trapp, Ernie Krivda, Ellen Winters, among others, and currently writes, produces and performs with Maureen McGovern. His work as a composer comprises music for choirs, orchestra, and jazz bands; including the oratorio In God’s Light, the cantata The Solemn Blessings, large-scale works Hymn to the Earth, Shades of Blue, West Coast Portraits, Jazz Impressions on Reflections, and musical scores for theatre and film.
Having served on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, American Music Academy, Terra State Community College, and Tri-C JazzFest & Performing Arts Series, Shirtz remains active as a guest conductor, educator, and clinician in jazz and vocal music. Currently, he serves as the Senior Vice President of Programming with Lakeside Chautauqua, conductor of the Firelands Symphony Chorale, and associate producer with the global Jazz Education Network. Shirtz holds music degrees from Capital University and California State University, Los Angeles.
George Michael – saxophone
Saxophonist and educator George Michael holds degrees in Music Education from The University of Texas-Pan and a Master’s in Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University. George began his teaching career as a band director for both middle and high schools in the South Texas area. Throughout his time there, many if his students earned numerous awards and went on to study at schools such as Berklee College of Music, The Peabody Institute and the University of North Texas. Throughout college and teaching, he remained active in the community, performing with a number of groups in a variety of settings throughout south Texas and northern Mexico. Upon completion of his Master’s degree, George was invited to join the faculty at Bowling Green State University where he taught jazz improvisation and applied jazz saxophone. In addition, he was also on faculty at Terra State Community College where he taught various courses in both music and humanities. Currently George is a music educator in New York City. While spending the last four years in the South Bronx, he has curated an affinity for teaching students of high needs in an urban environment. George is also keen to point out that everything he listens to directs his musical development in some way. However, he would certainly reference Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock amongst his biggest influences. George is associated with the Washington Heights Jazz Festival, WaHi Weekly Jam in NYC, and continues to collaborate with artists in jazz and American Music performances.
Dwight Bailey – bass
Dwight Bailey was born in Detroit but credits much of his musical development to the heavy influence of musicians based in Central Ohio. During his teenage years he began playing predominately gospel and working with artist like Bobby Jones, LaShaun Pace & Douglas Miller, he learned that playing bass with a spiritual conviction would be the tool that would serve him well in years to come. It wasn't until his college years, at The Ohio State University, that he was inspired to learn more about jazz and other styles of music. He began to study the double bass with several teachers such as Dr. Milton Ruffin, Dr. Solona Lee, Dr. Paul Robinson, Doug Richeson & Roger Hines. Dwight has spent the last several years touring all over the world and has performed on some of the most prestigious platforms in music, such as the Monterey Bay Blues/Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, The London Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Primivera Music Festival, to name a few. He has held down the low end at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl for artist like the Blind Boys of Alabama, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sandoval, Anthony Hamilton, Tel Mary, Marcus Belgrave and his boss of 2 years, 6-time Grammy award winner, Dr. John. Today, Dwight continues to tour with various artist and enjoys playing the local scenes in both Ohio and Michigan.
Dylan Moffitt – drums
Dylan Moffitt, is often recognized for his versatility as a percussionist in the classical and world music genres. In 2009, Moffitt appeared as a soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra alongside renowned artists Alisa Weilerstein and Jamey Haddad in performances of Golijov’s, Azul for cello and orchestra. He currently serves as principal percussionist and frequent soloist with the Firelands Symphony where in 2013, founded his “Drumming with Dylan” educational outreach program. The program has since been recognized by the Cleveland Orchestra and was featured in the orchestra’s “At Home” residency. Dylan performs regularly with the Wheeling Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera, Ohio Valley Symphony, Blossom Festival Band, Apollos Fire, the Cleveland Chamber Collective and has in past years appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra. Having recently returned from travels to Cuba, South India, Dylan specializes in various styles of world music, particularly Brazilian percussion. Following multiple trips to Brazil, Dylan began directing the Cleveland-based samba school, Samba Joia. In 2013, Moffitt joined the percussion faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and has since served on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned both his undergraduate and Masters degrees. Dylan’s principal teachers have included Richard Weiner, Paul Yancich and Jamey Haddad.