michael pagán

jazz pianist composer arranger educator conductor

Michael Pagán Keyboard

E-Press Kit


Michael Pagan

Jam Cover Mike Pagán Mike Pagan
5 x 5.7" at 300 dpi 4" x 5" at 300 dpi 2.7" x 3.9" at 300 dpi 4" x 6" at 300 dpi

What people are saying . . .

On 12 Preludes and Fugues:

"I have never heard such magnificent music composed for a saxophone quartet...This Colorado Saxophone Quartet is sensational. Their clarity of purpose is stunning...a magnificent new recording."
David J. Gibson, Editor
Saxophone Journal

“Pagán’s mastery of contrapuntal sophistication is on full display here. . . by far, the most swinging chamber music I’ve ever heard.”
Wayne E. Goins
Jazz Ambassador Magazine


“. . . a showcase for Michael Pagán’s seemingly boundless eclecticism . . .“
Lucidculture.wordpress.com

"...the music has appealing memorability. And it is lovingly performed. Very much recommended."
Grego A. Edwards
Gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com


"Michael Pagán's Twelve Preludes and Fugues is a monumental addition to the saxophone quartet literature.  A substantial, creative and compelling work; I believe that listeners and performers alike will find its blend of classical and jazz styles stimulating and profoundly rewarding."
Tim Timmons, Professor of Saxophone
University of Missouri Kansas City

"This is a great display of musicianship both from a compositional and performance point of view."
Bob Karlovits
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Gunther Schuller, the man who has worked harder and more consistently than almost anyone else to create a viable fusion of classical and jazz music over the past five decades, must be thrilled to see this brilliantly conceived and purely gorgeous cycle of preludes and fugues published and recorded. Michael Pagán has created something very rare here: a true fusion of classical and jazz idioms that sounds like neither pretentious jazz nor half-baked classical music. The strict structural rules of his chosen forms help, of course: by writing fugues that follow those rules with exactness, he frees himself up to infiltrate them with syncopations and even a touch of swing, and the results are fantastic. The Colorado Saxophone Quartet plays with taste and vigor, and the album is an unalloyed delight.
Highly recommended to all classical and jazz collections."
Rick Anderson
CDhotlist.btol.com

On Three for the Ages:

". . . Pagán delivers one for all time on Three for the Ages—a superior recording leaving little doubt that this pianist is a dynamic artist and musical force in today's jazz world."
Edward Blanco, allaboutjazz.com

"This is as masterful a piano trio effort as one can hear, anywhere, covering thoughtful ballads, mid-tempo swing, and the gorgeous original title track . . . Pagán delivers with clarity, reverence for melody, harmonic choices that reflect a broad emotional palette, and luxurious spaces that allow each note to breathe fully. Bassist Bowman is a perfect foil and artful soloist throughout, drummer Ray DeMarchi is a shimmering timekeeper." 
Andrea Canter, Jazzpolice.com

"Blessed with a beautiful touch and a steady stream of ideas to match, Pagán makes music that is beautiful and honest with tradition firmly in hand . . ."
Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

"Piano heroes like Bill Evans, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan and Alan Broadbent have laid the groundwork for the elegant, in-the-pocket pianist Michael Pagán. Like theirs, his approach is to find both the beauty and the swing in the music. And, like them, his trio is just that … a trio where each player makes a significant contribution. Most pianists begin an album with a head-turning fast tempo. Pagan opens with an extended “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” a ballad in the heart of the tradition. In fact, he doesn’t really let out all the stops until a high wire “How Deep Is the Ocean.” A Victor Feldman tune, “Falling In Love,” once again represents Pagan’s pageantry on a ballad, and “I Should Care” swings politely with some bountiful block chords. “Atras da Porta” is a gentle Brazilian bossa which I recall from a delicious performance from an old Rob McConnell album. A second Irving Berlin tune, “The Best Thing For You,” is played with swinging precision, and Pagán and friends end the program with “Persona,” a thought provoking entry from the brilliant Italian pianist, Enrico Pieranunzi. These and more signal the arrival of Michael Pagán in the small circle of jazz pianists who listen first and then find their own voice."
George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon

". . . Michael Pagan has the merit of offering a refined and sincere work, which unfolds in a rich game of connections with his talented partners, and which produces first-rate interpretations of known standards, some original pieces, and a beautiful version of a theme by Enrico Pieranunzi ("Persona"), the latter an agreeable but unusual choice among American pianists. . . his expressive skills are excellent: he expresses himself with refined sense of rhythm, precious touch and harmonic expertise, exhibiting improvisational skills not at all trivial. . . the trio does not add anything on the originality front (but there are really very few that do that today).  There is, however, mastery in handling spaces and colors without exceeding, and the interpretations can be appreciated for their melodic clarity and their elegance. . ."
Angelo Leonardi, italia.allaboutjazz.com
(translation by Gino Biondini) 

On Pag’s Groove:

“Now comes Michael Pagán, whose recording unveils a writer of uncommon ability and perception . . . Who knew he could make a big band sound so marvelous? . . . Pag’s Groove is a stellar album from start to finish, and as concerns Pagán’s big-band writing and arranging skills, that cat is out of the bag for good.”
Jack Bowers, Cadence Magazine

“A fine pianist, [Pagán] is also, as this exceptional example of swinging big band jazz proves, a hugely talented composer arranger . . . he has the ability to conjure up scintillating lines, fondness for artful counterpoint, great attention to detail and clarity of focus.”
Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times

“With bold dynamics, Pagán has crafted an original and compelling big band sound . . . A start-to-finish fine big band outing.”
Dan McClenaghan, allaboutjazz.com

“. . . Special attention has to be paid to ‘Lyric Interlude.’ It will grab you. The composition opens and closes as a bossa nova with eloquence . . .The core, however, is a majestic brass chorale. An inspired combination . . . Pag’s Groove is quality all the way.”
Bill Falconer, Jazzreview.com

“The music has an extra-ordinary quality of sounding very relaxed but at the same time, careful listening reveals a quality and depth that suggests that the album has been drawn from an exclusive archive of defining performances, in short there is a timeless quality about it . . . This is contemporary big band jazz at its most rewarding . . . a must have!”
-John Kiloch, mainlybigbands.com 

On Nobody Else But Me:

“Michael Pagán deserves recognition as a superior jazz pianist.”
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

“An elegant classicist . . . Pagán flies solo with perfect assurance.”
Bill Gallo, Westword

"Pagán’s melodic intelligence shines . . . simple and wonderfully effective.”
David Lewis, Cadence Magazine

 “If Bach had played jazz, it might have sounded like this.”
Brad Weismann, Colorado Daily

On John Hines In the Pocket:

“Michael Pagán has a particularly light touch and his piano is the ideal companion for the leader’s trombone.”
Paul Donnelly, Ejazznews.com

 “ . . . the three lead voices-[John] Hines’ trombone, [Hugh] Ragin’s trumpet, and Michael Pagán’s piano, in that order-perform, one after the other, magnificently, a transcendent display of inspired improvisational virtuosity, each voice building on the impromptu statements predecessor; and I can’t say enough about pianist Pagán’s part. His buoyant, Count Basie-like accompaniment (swelling to eschew the Basie-esque reticence) behind Ragin’s breathtaking trumpet solo lifts the music to a higher plane; and when he gets his spot, things go to a level I didn't suspect existed.”
Dan McClenaghan, allaboutjazz.com

On Duo:

“This recording features the ‘Cadillac’ of vibraphone and piano duo performance by Doug Walter and Michael Pagán . . . There are really no words to describe the magic of this duo’s ensemble precision . . . Duo should be on everyone’s ‘must buy’ list.”
Lisa Rogers, Percussive Notes

On Is Waiting For You:

"He certainly knows the jazz tradition . . . the musicianship is excellent. . . and the leader [Pagán] has a very clean approach devoid of any clichés. Solid.”
Mark Ladson, Marge Hofacre’s Jazz News

"Pagán is a fine pianist from a technical standpoint but he does not give in to garish display of his talents. The articulation of his lines, which move from blues to bop in a heartbeat, is impressive . . . Is Waiting for You  is a subtle knockout."
Richard B. Kamins, Cadence Magazine

"He has a crisp touch and a very full piano style . . . there's excellent rapport between the pianist and the two rhythm men . . . a convincing debut for the group . . .”
John Chadwick, Jazz Journal

"Pianist and composer Michael Pagán has a range as dramatic as the seasons’ changes outside his windows . . . this is one of the finest bop-oriented dates I've listened in on lately."
Andrew Bartlett, Arts Midwest

"Pagán delivers the whole package - melody, harmony and rhythm in abundance. Beyond that, he is an eye-opening and ear-catching pianist, technically sound and conspicuously resourceful.”
Jack Bowers, www.allaboutjazz.com

On various recordings and live performances:

“Sophisticated piano work”
Inside Chicago Magazine

“Michael Pagán is a musician/educator and an excellent mainstream jazz pianist who deserves a lot more renown.”
Bill Falconer, JazzReview.com

“Dynamite piano stylings . . .  his performance was jazz-inspired through-and-through and the audience loved it.”
Dominic Papatola, Duluth News-Tribune

“A versatile keyboard improviser”
Downbeat Magazine

“ . . . unmatched piano virtuosity . . . Michael’s keyboard skill is unbelievable. . . a memorable evening of superior jazz musicality.”
Ed Fenner, KC Jazz Voice LLC

On Impromptu, Chorale & Fugue for Woodwind Quintet:

“Bright, modest neoclassicism . . . played with energy and flair”.
Tim Page, The New York Times