Michael Blum is a guitarist and vocalist whom jazz author Scott Yanow calls “a guitarist who will clearly have an important future in jazz…He has an attractive sound, a melodic style, and a thoughtful approach to improvising.” In June 2015, Blum was named the “Rising Star Guitarist” in DownBeat Magazine's 63rd Annual Critics Poll.
Blum was raised in a musical home in the suburbs of New York City. He started his musical studies on the piano and alto saxophone at age 6 before eventually moving onto guitar at age 9. His father, a classical guitarist, was his first guitar teacher. At age 19, Blum began traveling over 150 miles weekly to study with world-renowned jazz educator and Berklee School of Music professor Jim Stinnett.
In 2014, Blum recorded his critically acclaimed debut album, Initiation, along with The Michael Blum Quartet. In a review of Initiation, DownBeat Magazine compared Blum favorably to “Kenny Burrell [and] Jim Hall” and called Blum “an articulate player who executes with clarity…[and] shows unusual maturity.” Vintage Guitar Magazine wrote, “Hope for jazz guitar’s future abounds in this release by the 20-year-old Blum and his quartet…[it's] the perfect debut for a player who seems wise beyond his years.”
In June 2015, Blum released his vocal debut, Commitment, a major step forward for the young guitarist. In 2016, Blum released Chasin’ Oscar, a tribute to the late piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson, and Expansion, his first jazz fusion project.
In January 2017, Blum released his fifth album, The Reservoir, his debut album as a singer/songwriter. While The Reservoir is a departure from Blum’s prior jazz releases, it nonetheless evidences his roots in the jazz tradition, as well as his influences from artists such as James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.
Blum has performed extensively at a diverse selection of venues, including Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Hopkins Center for the Arts. He has also performed with musicians such as John Clayton, Jeffrey Clayton, Joe Hunt, Michael Manring and Gary Karr.
© MICHAEL BLUM 2017