World recognized jazz pianist with over 20 years of professional experience in a variety of venues, Mike has a vast repertoire from Broadway to blues, from boogie-woogie to bop. Did we mention, Mike has been blind since birth?
From the first through the eighth grade, Mike Markaverich was locked into classical piano studies at Perkins School for the Blind. By the time he entered Bishop Guertin High School In Nashua, N.H., he was playing rock music and after matriculating at Dartmouth, the grand conversion from classical and pop to jazz occurred after he had listened to an Oscar Peterson album. The Peterson influence was so overwhelming that Markaverich switched majors, from French to music.
At a wedding reception in Portsmouth, NH in 1977, Molly Campbell, proprietor of the popular Falmouth jazz club heard the young pianist and invited him to perform the following spring at her club, Molly's. Markaverich, who received a master's degree in Music Theory from University of New Hampshire in 1978, has been a hit ever since!
While he is fond of rippling glissandi and showers of notes, there is little to indicate that he is trying to be an Oscar Peterson carbon copy. Markaverich is inventive with a mind verdant with musical ideas and a puckish compulsion for humor. His sets contain songs garnished with more quotes than is usually found in a State of the Union speech.
Markaverich has a propensity for alternating straight-ahead playing with stretches of stride and occasional improvised choruses in which he uses either the left or right hand.
Mike Markaverich was a premature baby, and his parents were told by doctors not to expect him to survive. His experience in the incubator resulted in his blindness. Mike began playing a toy piano at age three and took lessons at Perkins School for the Blind where he attended grammar school. He graduated second in his class from Bishop Guertin High School and studied at Dartmouth College where he became interested in jazz and decided to make music his career. After attaining a graduate degree at the University of New Hampshire, Mike began his professional career on Cape Cod where he worked as a solo performer and in various combo settings in major area nightspots. In November 1988 he moved to Sarasota, Florida where he has been a regular member of the local jazz scene ever since. Mike has also appeared in concert in various venues, appeared on television and radio, given workshops in schools and colleges, has produced three of his own recordings, and teaches jazz piano is also a member of the International Association of Jazz Educators.
From the Liner Notes:
About the Performer:
Although this may be Mike's first CD release, it isn't his only recording. Earlier releases of "Two Sides" and "In Pianoland" on his own label were well received even though there was limited distribution. This collection of songs promises to expand the number of his fans far beyond Cape Cod and the Suncoast of Florida. Fans who have enjoyed not only his playing, but his playful personality as well, and give them the opportunity to do what many have wanted to do - take him home with them. You see, Mike is more than just a very adept piano player. He possesses a keen sense of humor. Blind since birth, he occasionally sports a t-shirt that states he's "OUTTA SIGHT". Even the title of this solo ablum reflects his wit. Often when asked if he likes to play solo piano, he responds, "yeah, so low they can't hear me." I've often jousted verbally with him and have seldom won. He has a keen ear. Mike started playing a toy piano at the age of three and hasn't stopped learning since. At Dartmouth College he switched from the study of the spoken language to the universal language fo music, and when a roommate played an Oscar Peterson record for him, Mike was hooked on the innovation and creativity of jazz.
About the Songs:
Mike loves melody, songs from the twenties to today, as long as they are musically sound. On this album you'll see why Mike is currently one of the busiest pianists in the Sarasota area and in constant demand. Mike and I are both admirers of Dave McKenna and his legendary left hand. Mike shared a gig with Dave at the Asa Bearse House on Cape Cod, and Dave's influence on Mike is obvous. In the opening number "Strike Up the Band", if you're not roused, check the speakers on your set. Hear Mike's powerful left hand set you off on an arrangemnt the Gershwins would appreciate. "Yours Is My Heart Alone" probably isn't heard as much as it should be. "You Don't Know What Love Is" has been sung and played by a host of great performers, and I think you'll like the feel of Mike's rendition. An almost forgotten song, "If Dreams Come True", was a hit for Pat Boone in 1958 and deserves more play. Bob Wilber's "Windsong" is based on the slow movement of Brahms' Fourth Symphony, and Mike's playing tugs gently at the heart strings. "My Shining Hour" is a song no one expected to be a hit when introduced by Fred Astaire. "Lover" is associated with Peggy Lee and Les Paul. Mike puts his distinctive touch to it with a definitive ending. There are plenty of changes in "There'll Be Some Changes Made". Mike played this in concert on Election Eve in 1992; is he also prescient? From the land of be-bop comes Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High". "Peace" by Horace Silver says more in 10 bars than most tunes do in 32 and further adds to the variety of songs presented here aong with Oscar Peterson's poignant "Song to Elitha". Standards have endured due to a combination of melody and lyric that allows for varied interpretations. In Mike's unstandard version of "Moonlight in Vermont", the ski trails on the mountain side might be melted in Mike's samba tip of the hat to the lady in his life and her home state. It conjures up pleasant memories of the times we lived in New England and also brings to mind the sight of Mike making his way alone over and through the snow and slush of Hyannis. Here's to you, Mike. It's your time now, and thanks for playing "so low" for me.