Side view of a person playing piano

Austin Piano Festival featuring the Michael Cain Trio

Date: Sun Apr 16 2023

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Location: Austin

Festival Performance: Sunday, April 16 – Knowlton Auditorium at Austin High School

This special jazz performance features renowned pianist Michael Cain on the Fazioli 308 Grand Piano. Joining Michael are Ted Olson (bass) and Pete James Johnson (drums).

“Pianist Michael Cain possesses a fresh perspective encompassing classical, jazz, and
non-Western. His stylistic compass, to say the least, is broad. Cain sails the panstylistic
seas with an adventurous approach at once abstract and accessible. In
contrast to much of the jazz avant-garde, (his) superb training gives the music an
uncommon degree of precision and panache, and an individual as well as collective
tonal quality that can only be described as gorgeous.”

Chuck Berg, Jazz Times

Austin Piano Festival Master Classes, Monday, April 17

“The Improvisors Tool Kit” at 4:00 pm, Monday, April 17th at MacPhail Austin
Michael Cain, along with his trio members Ted Olsen on bass and Pete James Johnson on drums, will host a masterclass on the basics of group improvisation. They will cover some of the core concepts involving listening, understanding what you’re hearing, call and response, and understanding tonality, among other topics. Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments.

Improvisation for the Solo Pianist” at 6:00 pm, Monday, April 17th at MacPhail Austin
Improvising as a solo pianist comes with a unique set of challenges. In this masterclass, Michael Cain will highlight some core concepts and approaches to help pianists overcome the barriers to successful solo piano improvisation.

Master classes are free and open to the public.

Meet The Michael Cain Trio

Michael Cain of the Michael Cain Trio

Michael Cain, piano

After moving to New York in 1990, Cain became a first call pianist, working with drum legend Jack DeJohnette for nine years, as well as Dave Holland, Steps Ahead, Ravi Coltrane, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Turrentine, Lauren Hill, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Charles Neville, Christian McBride, John Scofield, Robin Eubanks, and Meshell N’degeocello, among others.

His numerous awards include a 2006 Grammy nomination for Dance of the Infidel, Meshell N’degeocello’s release on which Michael is pianist and co-arranger. He has recorded several records as a leader including Circa, a 1996 ECM release which featured Ralph Alessi and Peter Epstein, and served as producer for several recordings including Ron Blake’s Shariya, and Brian Landrus’ Traverse and Capsule.

Other Notable projects include serving as musical director for the Jose Limon Dance Company, scoring the films Maybe and Real With Me, by director Carl Ford for Black Nexxus Films, and composing the music for the Broadway play View from 151st Street, which ran at the George Papp Public Theater in New York in the fall of 2007. Most recent, Michael produced the Western Canadian recording “Rebirth of the Cool” for Cellar Live Records. During the summer of 2018 Michael toured with legendary trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.

Michael Cain is MacPhail’s EMRA (Electronic Music Recording Arts) program director. Learn more about Michael Cain and check out his five part series on teaching improvisation here.

Ted Olsen of the Michael Cain Trio

Ted Olsen, bass

Ted Olsen is a musician from Minneapolis, MN who plays double bass and bass guitar.

As a composer, he focuses on creating bright moments within the framework of spontaneous group interplay. As an instrumentalist, he plays with a bouncy rhythmic vitality and a fiery optimistic spirit.

As a bandleader his groups have been featured at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, The Artists’ Quarter, and Icehouse. He has also performed at Nocturne Jazz Club in Denver, CO and Festival No Improviso in Curitiba, Brazil. In 2017 he released his début record, Joyfire, on Shifting Paradigm records. In 2019 he was named an alternate to the International Society of Bassists’ Jazz Competition. He has been a stalwart of the Twin Cities music scene for the past decade and is regularly enlisted by top jazz luminaries.

Pete James Johnson of the Michael Cain Trio

Pete James Johnson, drums

Pete James Johnson has performed and toured with the Grammy-winning Bob Mintzer Big Band, Ambrose Akinmusire, Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles, Carl Saunders, Otmaro Ruiz, Bob Sheppard, Russ Ferrante, Adam Meckler Orchestra, Javier Santiago and more. You can currently find Pete performing regularly with jazz groups throughout the Twin Cities, the Soul/Rn’B group, Nooky Jones and the alternative-pop group, Maple & Beech. In addition Pete has worked as a session drummer for Capitol Records and other various studios and is on over 50 albums of jazz and pop artists.

Pete received his Masters of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California in 2015 and Bachelor of Arts in Music at Minnesota State University in 2009.

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