Biography

Exciting news – Michael is now based in London for the indefinite future!

Michael McQuaid plays jazz and swing from the 1920s and 30s with remarkable energy and originality. He is an Australian multi-instrumentalist, regularly performing on clarinet, saxophones, trumpet and even occasionally piano. He has recently relocated to London from Melbourne, Australia, and currently plays with the incredible Vitality Five, amongst others.

Born in 1981, McQuaid began performing with professional bands at the age of 15. He was mentored by many of Australia’s finest jazz musicians, including Ade Monsbourgh, Tom Baker and Paul Furniss.

Since moving to Melbourne in 2003 from his native Canberra, he has established himself as an acclaimed artist at top jazz events around the world, including appearing as a bandleader at the prestigious Wangaratta Festival Of Jazz aged just 21. He was nominated for the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist Of The Year 2006 by Graeme Bell AO, MBE, after whom the awards are named.

In 2004, he formed ‘Michael McQuaid’s Red Hot Rhythmakers’ to play vintage big band jazz from the swing era and beyond. This band toured Europe in June/July 2008 to widespread acclaim, and has released two albums. In November 2015, they performed at Hamer Hall, arguably Victoria’s finest concert hall – they will reprise this appearance in October 2017.

McQuaid also performed regularly with the captivating swing quartet the ‘Sweet Lowdowns’. This group is in demand throughout Australia, and received the Bell Award for Classic Jazz Album Of The Year 2008 for their second album, Cuttin’ Capers.

‘Michael McQuaid’s Late Hour Boys’, a band showcasing the music of Aussie jazz pioneer Ade Monsbourgh, toured Europe in 2010, appearing at the acclaimed Jazz Ascona festival in Switzerland, Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival in the UK, and the Riverboat Jazz Festival in Silkeborg, Denmark. They also appeared in Holland during October 2015, along with Italian guest multi-instrumentalist Mauro Porro.

McQuaid has toured the world as a featured artist and bandleader, featuring with his own groups and with the US/Australian collaboration the ‘Hot Jazz Alliance’. He has performed with the contemporary greats of 1920s and 1930s jazz – Keith Nichols, Vince Giordano, Bob Wilber, Spats Langham, Andy Schumm, Bob Barnard, Jon-Erik Kellso, Martin Litton, Bent Persson, Duke Heitger, Geoff Bull, Josh Duffee and many more.

 

‘…an acknowledged authority on this era of music…swinging…sensually lush‘ (Steve Robertson, broadcaster and jazz critic, Portland, US)

‘A fixture on the national jazz scene, he has also impressed overseas critics. So impressive, whether it’s the light sound of his Lester Young-inflected tenor or his fluid clarinet. A rare talent!’ (Kevin Jones, Australian jazz writer)

‘…one of those youthful heroes who can play a shopful of instruments…’ (Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives, New York, US)

‘…a first-class jazz improviser…’ (Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives, New York, US)

 

Influences and inspirations (in no particular order)

Clarinet

Johnny Dodds

Omer Simeon

Frank Teschemacher

Fud Livingston

Don Murray

Jimmie Noone

Barney Bigard

Leon Roppollo

George Lewis

Sidney Arodin

Alexandre Stellio

Eugene Delouche

Joe Marsala

Irving Fazola

Jimmy Lytell

Pee Wee Russell

Raymond Burke

 

Saxophone

Chu Berry

Coleman Hawkins

Lester Young

Frank Trumbauer

Jimmy Dorsey

Eddie Miller

Johnny Hodges

Benny Carter

Sidney Bechet

Adrian Rollini

Pete Pumiglio

Bobby Davis

Bud Freeman

 

Trumpet

Bix Beiderbecke

Louis Armstrong

Jabbo Smith

Bobby Hackett

Tommy Ladnier

George Mitchell

Red Allen

Punch Miller

Phil Napoleon

Joe Smith

Red Nichols