picture of Mike LeDonne
photo by Gene Martin
Mike LeDonne
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 York¹s 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. In the fall of 1992, Mike was chosen to be part of a group of top young musicians for the Phillip Morris Superband World Tour. Mike served as musical director for that group, which featured Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone, Jesse Davis on alto saxophone, Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash at the drums. Around this time, Mike toured with the Newport All-Stars in lineups that also featured Harry 'Sweets' Edison and Clark Terry. Mike has been playing and recording with Benny Golson since 1997. He has alsobeen leading trios which have included Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Pete LaRoca and Louis Hayes. Most recently, he has worked with Bobby Hutcherson.
 
Mike has played concerts and clubs around the world since 1981. Along with his many recordings as a sideman, he has five CDs on Criss Cross Jazz and three on Doubletime Records. One of them was selected as 'Record Of The Year' in the 1989 Jazz Journal Critics Poll. His long awaited first CD as a leader on Hammond organ, "Smokin' Out Loud" made it to #1 in national airplay. It features his regularly working band which includes Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein and Joe Farnsworth.
 
Mike is the co-author of Jim Snidero's Jazz Conceptions for Piano and Piano comping books, on Advance Music. In 2001 he was asked to join the faculty of the Juilliard School as part of it's Jazz Studies Division. His Hammond organ playing got him selected as Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in the 2002 Downbeat Critics poll and Oscar Peterson picked him as one of his favorite pianists of today.
contact: mledonne@earthlink.net
homepage: www.mikeledonne.net
on tour Click on the logo to see Mike's tour dates.

 

Discography
Organic Duke
Concord Jazz CCD-4623
recorded may 1994 in New York, NY/USA
Scott Hamilton, tenor sax
Mike LeDonne, organ
Dennis Irwin, bass
Chuck Riggs, drums
Word On The Street
Double-Time Records DTRCD-119
recorded september 1996 in New York/USA
Chris Flory, guitar
Mike LeDonne, organ
Mark Taylor, drums
Birdland Birthday
Enja Records ENJ-9321 2
recorded live at Birdland in New York City/USA
Benny Waters, alto sax, vocals
Steve Blailock, guitar
Mike LeDonne, Hammond organ
Earl May, bass
Ed Locke, drums
Goat Hill Junket
Mama MMF1022
recorded april 1998 in New York/USA
Anthony Wilson, guitar
John d'Earth, trumpet
Art Baron, trombone
Jerry Dodgion, reeds
Ted Nash, reeds
Joe Temperley, reeds
Mike LeDonne, piano, B3 organ
Danton Boller, bass
Jeff Ballard, drums
Smokin' Out Loud
Savant SCD 2055
recorded november 2003 in Englewood Cliffs, NJ/USA
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
On Fire
Savant SCD 2080
recorded may 2006 live at Smoke in New York City/USA
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
Blues for Brother Ray
Posi Tone 8045
recorded 2009 (?)
Jim Rotondi, trumpet
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
The Groover
Savant SCD 2100
recorded october 2009 in River Edge, NJ/USA
Mike LeDonne, organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
Keep The Face
Savant SCD 2114
recorded april 2011 in USA
Mike LeDonne, organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
I Love Music
Savant SCD 2135
recorded july 2013 in USA
Mike LeDonne, organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
AwwlRIGHT!
Savant SCD 2148
recorded 2015
Mike LeDonne, organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
Bob Cranshaw, bass
Jeremy Pelt, trumpet
That Feelin'
Savant SCD 2159
recorded 2016
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Vincent Herring, alto sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
From The Heart
Savant SCD 2168
recorded 2018 (?) in USA
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums
Mike Clark, drums
Cobb's Pocket
Scholz Productions
recorded in New York City/USA
Hendrik Meurkens, harmonica
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Mike LeDonne, organ
Jimmy Cobb, drums
O Sole Mio!
Cellar Live CM100619
recorded october 2019 in Vancouver/Canada
Cory Weeds, alto sax
Eric Alexander, tenor sax
Mike LeDonne, Hammond B3 organ
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Joe Farnsworth, drums

 
Sound Samples
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