Mike McGinnis

Mike McGinnis

Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Mike McGinnis is a musical explorer unbound by stylistic barriers, unwaveringly individual, curious, and open-minded.


Mike McGinnis has released five critically acclaimed albums as a leader during his twenty-two years in the NYC jazz scene. In April of 2017 and 2018 he performed to sold out houses at the world famous Jazz Standard in NYC leading a trio with jazz legends Art Lande and Steve Swallow.

As musical director of the Davalois Fearon Dance Company, he has performed his compositions at the Joyce Theater, New Victory Theater, City Center, Metropolitan Museum, Harlem Stage, Rubin Museum, Bronx Museum and was the recipient of a 2019 MAP Fund Grant. For four consecutive years he has been listed in the Clarinet “Rising Star” category by the DownBeat Magazine International Critics Poll.

McGinnis’ penchant for exploration has led him to work with a dizzyingly impressive array of artists – from jazz innovators like Anthony Braxton, Alice and Ravi Coltrane, Hank Roberts, Ben Goldberg, Peter Apfelbaum, Gerald Cleaver, Steve Coleman and Lonnie Plaxico, to indie rock mainstays Yo La Tengo, to the Afro-Baroque Stew & the Negro Problem.

He has performed on Broadway in the Tony-winning show Fela! and on film in Academy Award Winning director’s Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock as the “hippie flute player”.

For his last two recordings, McGinnis brought together two of his musical heroes, jazz legends Art Lande and Steve Swallow. They recorded two albums at Systems Two Studios for Sunnyside Records, Recurring Dream (2017) and Singular Awakening (2018) both of which have received critical acclaim from DownBeat Magazine, JazzTimes, WBGO and The NYC Jazz Record.

McGinnis’ voice has been a singular presence since his debut release in 2000, Tangents (RKM), but his deep commitment to stylistic diversity and collaboration are most evident on his two critically acclaimed 2013 releases, Road*Trip (RKM) and Ängsudden Song Cycle (482 Music).

Both feature extended compositions that showcase McGinnis as a composer and improviser. Road*Trip received a rare 41⁄2 stars from DownBeat magazine, was named one of the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2013 by the Village Voice. The dramatically different Ängsudden Song Cycle (482 Music), is a landscape tone poem in collaboration with painter and poet MuKha. The piece was described as a “poetically driven artistic statement” featuring “achingly beautiful arrangements” by Elliot Simon of the NYC Jazz Record , which named the LP release concert for Ängsudden Song Cycle one of the best live performances in New York City in 2013.