Michael Bates “serves up melodic modernism and contrapuntal elegance”
(“Time Out, New York”).
Michael Bates is a compelling example of what it means to be a musician in the new millennium. He is a near virtuoso double bassist, visionary composer, active bandleader, curator and educator who thrives in many musical worlds. With an eye to the future, his music draws from jazz, classical, world music, rock and blends them into a lyrical, visceral and cinematic style. For over a decade he has been performing cutting edge music and “simply put, Bates has the ability to make a huge impact on the existing state of modern jazz”– (Glenn Astarita). He has been called “a charismatic player who manages to navigate that most difficult and rarely traveled road leading to accessible experimentation… “(Chris Watson, “The View”).
His five recordings as leader: “Outside Sources”( 2004), “A Fine Balance” (2006), “Clockwise” (2008) and “Live in New York (2009)” and Acrobat (2011) have been recorded for Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music, Sunnyside Records, Between the Lines and Pommerac records. All been released to wide acclaim and publications such as Downbeat, Jazztimes, Jazzman, Double Bassist, Signal to Noise, Jazz Podium and many more have lauded him as an emerging innovator.
His 2011 release on Sunnyside Records, “Acrobat: Music for, and by, Dmitri Shostakovich” showcases a brand new quintet with Chris Speed-saxophone, Russ Johnson-trumpet, Russ Lossing-piano and fender rhodes and Tom Rainey-drums and is clearly Bates’ most important release to date. It features the band filtering pieces by one of the great Russian composers through a fender rhodes driven band and 7 other compositions written by Michael in tribute to one of his musical heroes.
He grew up in Vancouver, Canada and even though he was exposed to musicians such as Sun Ra, Thomas Chapin, the Clusone Trio and Dave Holland, Michael began playing music in hardcore and punk rock bands before turning to jazz and classical music. He studied with the principal bassist of the Tokyo Symphony, Yoshio Nagashima, Don Thompson, Dave Young, Mark Helias and Tony Falanga. In 2002, he relocated and began performing with many of the New York’s best including Michael Blake, JD Allen, Tom Rainey, Chris Speed, Jeff Davis, Donny McCaslin, Russ Johnson, Dave Douglas, Michael Sarin, Gerald Cleaver, Russ Lossing and Marty Ehrlich. He has performed on dozens of recording as a sideman and Michael has toured all over Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. As an educator, he has taught at the Banff Centre of the Arts and several universities worldwide.