For those who haven’t heard him, or having heard him wonder where his development started, here is a brief music profile of Mike Sole:
Mike Sole studied Piano from age 3, playing jazz from aged 12. He later also took up studying the Ecclesiastical Pipe Organ with the late Alex Gillies.
He studied music at Guthlaxton College under Brian Humpherson. While there, Mike discovered the work of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, whom he counts as major influences.
Mike undertook Choral work with the Guild choir of St Thomas in South Wigston Leicester, receiving Bishop and Provost Chorister Awards from the Royal School of Church Music.
As an Organist Mike has held posts at All Saints Wigston Leicester, St Martins – Bull Ring Birmingham, Church of the Martyrs Leicester, and is currently Assistant Organist at Stoneygate Baptist Leicester.
At 17 Mike’s unique talent as solo jazz pianist gained him a residency performing in one of a Leicester’s finest venues. Since his first recording session at 18, he has since gained considerable knowledge of recording techniques within a studio environment. He has worked and recorded with the Brodsky String Quartet in Birmingham, and performed with Jazz musicians Soweto Kinch, Abram Wilson, Greg Abate, Pete Long, Richard Fairhurst and supported Courtney Pine.
His own homegrown bands include: The Illusive Trio/Quartet, Accortumn and The Elastic Band. Mike has sessioned for and collaborated with local artists: Free Control, Spoken Word Artist Michael ‘SureShot’ Brome, Ola Szmidt, Mellow Baku (and the Friday People), and with Fosse Singers Community Choir. Mike is a musician who is in much demand, not just in his native Midlands region, but the UK and further abroad.
Mike Sole continues to play a significant part in Leicester’s music scene, heading up many jam nights and as special guest on gigs. He assists with jam session nights at Sumo Leicester and currently runs a monthly night at The Looking Glass Leicester for Jazz and improvised music with The Illusive Quartet, who supported The James Taylor Quartet in 2014.
The STATUS trio is Mike’s piano trio, engaging with audiences and musicians within the venue to for spontaneous performances with guest musicians. The STATUS trio are an entirely improvised unit, and with Neil Segrott (bass) and David Anderson (drums) the ideas that evolve can be quite magical!
In addition to his creative original projects, Mike Sole is often engaged as guest pianist for corporate events, such as providing silent film accompaniment for Phoenix Arts Film Festival, Leicester, and as a pianist/organist for weddings, functions and cover work.
Currently engaged as Organist at Stoneygate Baptist Leicester, Mike teaches piano and keyboard, and regularly features as solo artist or accompaniment for bands and sessions. He is working on a solo improvised album and tour for solo piano, and has plans for a trio album and tour.
Alongside these musical commitments, Mike is also heavily involved with R & S Young, Organbuilder, learning the skills and restoration techniques centered around Pipe Organ maintenance.
Performance Venues Include:
Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Southbank London, Metropolis Studio’s Chiswick London, Madame Jojo’s London, Symphony Hall Birmingham CBSO Centre Birmingham, The Drum Birmingham, Sandfield Theatre Nottingham, The Dublin Castle London and Spice of Life Soho London.
Mike Sole spent years touring various English cathedrals as chorister and organist including: Birmingham, Bristol, Blackburn, Coventry, Exeter, Lichfield, Peterborough, Sheffield, Durham, York Minster, St James The Greater, St Wilfrid’s Grantham and Worcester Cathedrals.
A selection of major musical influences Mike Sole cites are:
Snarky Puppy, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Esbjorn Svensson Trio, The Bad Plus, Mum, Arvo Part, C.V. Stanford, R.V.Williams, Elgar, Dubois, Alain, Howells, , Charles Mingus, Patrick Watson, Bach, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Eric Whitacre.
As Engineer in the studio and on the footplate, Mike has enjoyed working with Locomotives, Traction Engines and Stationary engines since the age of 6. Influenced by his father he has worked as a volunteer at the Abbey Pumping Station since the age of 12, aiding with the restoration of two huge Beam Engines. On the footplate at the Sherwood Forest Railway Nottingham as driver and fireman, Mike has been engaged in building coaching stock and day-to-day maintenance. He has been restoring a family owned Gas engine, and looked after many steam engines at steam rallies and fairs. Mike has also been involved in restoration projects for church organs, is a keen MTB cyclist, tinkers with bikes and rides ‘serious trails’.
Mike also plays Pipe Organ, Tuba, Bass, Drums, Percussion and Accordion.