Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Michael Janisch

Michael Janisch is an electric & double bassist, composer, bandleader, producer, professor of music and record label owner originally from the USA currently based in London, England. His multitude of talents across the music industry have seen him become one of the leading artists of his generation in contemporary improvised and experimental music.

As a bassist he’s known for his versatility, full-toned sounds and passion for playing time and groove with authenticity and dedication, no matter the context. A keen improviser, he has been described as ‘virtuosic and emphatic’ (The Guardian) and Bass Musician Magazine asserts “Janisch is one of the few bass players out there who plays both electric and upright with equal facility, passion and musicality.” In addition to performing he’s an adjunct Professor of Double Bass at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and regularly performs masterclasses at universities and festivals around the world.

As a composer and bandleader, Janisch has released four critically-acclaimed albums to date: The TransAtlantic Collective’s Traveling Song (co-led with Patrick Cornelius) in 2008, Purpose Built (debut solo album) in 2010, Banned in London (co-led with Aruan Ortiz) and First Meeting: Live in London, Volume 1 (co-led with Lee Konitz, Dan Tepfer & Jeff Williams). His debut solo album established his international reputation as one of the premier bassist-bandleaders-composers working in contemporary improvised music, and drew together his sure-footed bass work (both electric and acoustic), original compositions, and arranging skills along with some characteristically strong performances from a group comprised of prominent musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, including Jim Hart, Walter Smith III, Mike Moreno, Jason Palmer, Paul Booth, Aaron Goldberg, Phil Robson and Johnathan Blake. Jazz Times Magazine called it “the complete package” while Jazz Journal noted it was a “perfect blend of tradition and modernity” and was received with high critical acclaim by fans, press, musicians and fellow bassists, while making a number of ‘Best of the Year’ critics’ lists. Purpose Built was also the impetus for the creation of Janisch’s new record label, Whirlwind Recordings.

Since the formation of Whirlwind in January of 2010, Michael has become an in-demand producer with over 60 credited sessions to date. As a seasoned performer, session musician, composer and arranger, bandleader and record label owner who understands both the artistic and business elements of releasing music in today’s world, Janisch brings a unique set of skills to any project. He has curated dozens of critically acclaimed live events, tours and festivals with some of the most potent names in the creative music world, performing at major venues and festivals on five continents. London Jazz states it well: “Contributions like Janisch’s – both as bassist and as producer – to the musical life of our great city are beyond price.”

On October 2, 2015 Janisch launches his second solo album Paradigm Shift, a double-disc album featuring his new electro-acoustic sextet of the same name.