A Celebration of Melody
Mike Greensill, piano
with John Wiitala, bass
“Greensill is an accompanist in the great tradition of Jimmy Rowles and Ellis Larkins. It’s worth twice the price of admission just to hear him!” Terry Teachout, NY Daily News
Every year, pianist Mike Greensill is joined by a changing roster of friends in a Labor Day weekend performance at Old First Concerts. This year, Greensill is joined by John Wiitala on bass. Together they will explore the melodic joys of the Great American Songbook … with a hefty dose of Greensill original compositions included.
“A wonderful, lyrical jazz pianist.” Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle
After graduating in 1972 from Leeds College of Leeds College of Music in England, Mike Greensill toured Europe and the Far East and lived in Hong Kong for 4 years before finally settling into his adopted home, San Francisco, in 1977. Well known in his role as musical director to acclaimed vocalist Wesla Whitfield, with whom he has recorded twenty albums. Mike can also be caught playing jazz and singing in many a San Francisco saloon and every Wednesday at Silo’s in Napa.
As an arranger Mike, in addition to his work with Wesla, has had the opportunity to write for big bands and symphony orchestras including the Boston Pops and the San Francisco Symphony. Mike has also had the pleasure of accompanying such diverse talents as Rita Moreno, Margaret Whiting, Broadway stars Lillias White and Franc D’Ambrosio and jazz singers Madeline Eastman, Ann Hampton Callaway and Denise Perrier.
Mike’s CD, The Mike Greensill Trio “Live at the Plush Room”, is available on-line at CD Baby and Amazon.com. His writing and arranging for the Kronos Quartet can be found on Wesla Whitfield’s CD “September Songs” on HighNote Records. Wesla’s CD “Livin’ On Love” which is also on HighNote records, features Mike’s arrangements for The Klingel Horns, Gary Foster’s reeds and rhythm section. The Klingel Horns are a french horn quartet lead by SF Opera’s principle Horn Bill Klingelhoffer. To hear some of Mike’s arranging and read his scores go to his web site www.mikegreensill.com
Wesla’s and Mike’s last CD “A Message From The Man In The Moon” – on their own label Pismo Productions – features Mike playing solo piano in a collection of duets with his late wife on vocals. Mike is also the author of “Playing For Singers” – a how-to book on the art of the accompaniment for the jazz and cabaret pianist published by Sher Music. Since 2008 he’s delighted in exploring the taste delights of his new adopted home, St Helena in Napa Valley’s “wine country” and during the lock-down he has a discovered a new career, performing 3 days a week on Facebook live.
John Wiitala has worked with some of the greatest names in jazz, including Joe Henderson, Mark Murphy, Ernestine Anderson, Junior Cook, Charlie Rouse, James Moody, Bud Shank, and Benny Golson. He toured with Richie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, Shorty Rogers, Jessica Williams, Wesla Whitfield and Mark Levine’s Latin Tinge, and has played at jazz festivals around the world, including Monterey, North Sea, Montreux, Detroit, and JVC/Concord. His recording credits include work with Scott Hamilton, Jessica Williams, Mark Levine, Adam Shulman, Patrick Wolff. Erik Jekabson and Nancy King. He’s currently on the faculty at the California Jazz Conservatory and the Stanford Jazz Workshop.