About

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BIO

Mike Lorenz is a highly regarded and recognized guitarist, educator, producer, and composer hailing from Bethlehem, PA. He performs and records regionally, performing weekly at Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA. 

As a performer, Mike is active as a creative bandleader and agile collaborator. He has led groups in performances his original compositions & arrangements since the fall of 2007, growing and expanding his concept for jazz throughout, trekking up and down the east coast including appearances at festivals, concert halls, breweries, and clubs. 

Since his recording debut as a leader in 2012, Mike has released 7 albums under his own name, all of which have been self-produced and released. Mike Lorenz & the Witherbees, his newest group, is a "folk-jazz" group recording original music and cover songs that released its debut album in August 2019. Featuring the “hauntingly beautiful voice” of Jacqui Armbruster, the band plays covers and original music with “traditional jazz aplomb.”

Other highlights of his discography include Mike Lorenz & Friendz, a limited-edition mutant-blood splatter vinyl produced in collaboration with Tired Hands Brewing Company featuring jazz organ trio covers and arrangements of Black Sabbath and Nirvana songs released in September 2015; I Am Watching My Day Slowly Disappear, an album of original material inspired by the music of ECM records released on vinyl in February 2015; and a recently released album of free improvisations featuring Mike on guitar, electric bass, keyboard bass and all post-production, Tired Hands Brewing Company owner Jean Broillet IV on analog synths, and metal drummer Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, Melt Banana, Burnt by the Sun, River Black, Brain Tentacles) on drums. As a producer, Mike has lent his keen and attentive ear to the music of saxophonist Ian O’Beirne, most recently on the debut recording of his Slowbern Big Band, Dreams of Daedalus.

Most recent highlights include a trio performance of the music of Sonny Sharrock at the inaugural October Revolution festival presented by Ars Nova Workshop at FringeArts in Philadelphia, PA and a performance with the Sonara Guitar Ensemble, assembled for Bowerbird’s (Philadelphia, PA) That Which is Fundamental, celebration of composer Julius Eastman, in a performance of Eastman’s “Gay Guerilla.” Past festivals have included Musikfest and RiverJazz in Bethlehem, PA, Riverside Jazz Festival in Easton, PA, the Doylestown Arts Festival in Doylestown, PA, the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington, VT, Montbeerlier in Montpelier, VT and Zwanze Day at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, VT.

Since 2013 he has been an esteemed member of the music faculty at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem, PA where his duties include directing the Charter Arts Big Band and teaching jazz guitar, jazz improv, and music history. During the summer, Mike is assistant director of the Moravian College Summer Jazz Camp, and has been assistant director of the SteelStacks High School All-Star Jazz Band from 2016-2019.


 
 

praise

Wulf’s Music + BloG

“This self-titled debut album by Mike and his group is a cool mixture of originals and covers, as he says, ‘an exploration of a 21st century songbook’. The Witherbees are Mike on guitar, Jacqui Armbruster on vocals and viola, Justin Sekelewski on bass and Zach Martin on drums and the covers they recorded include ‘Are You Here’ by Corinne Bailey Rae, ‘Waterfalls’ by Paul McCartney and a wonderful version of Sonny Sharrock’s ‘Blind Willie’. Armbruster’s voice is hauntingly beautiful and her vocal performance impressive, so is the guitar playing of Lorenz. A surprising record with tons of variety and quality. Check this out.”


WXPN’s The Key

“The musicians bring traditional jazz aplomb and an intrepid sense of musicianship to each of their efforts on the new album, and the results prove both accessible and surprising.” Read more


All about jazz

"A first impression: Guitarist Mike Lorenz has created, on Speak Between, a sound that runs in a parallel to some of the albums released by drummer Paul Motian, in his teamings with guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Joe LovanoIt Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago (ECM Records, 1984) and Jack Of Clubs (Soul Note, 1984). These are sets that allowed the same freedom Frisell applied in his early albums under his own name, in the creation soundscapes and luminescent atmospheres for Motian's concepts..." Read more


bird is the worm

"Guitarist Mike Lorenz is currently one of a small handful of guitarists I go to when I’m craving some of the 1980s Bill Frisell sound.  Back then, Frisell was working with a mix of potent ambient drone and a hard precision as if he were wielding the melody like a blade.  Albums like 1983’s In Line and the excellent comp of that period, Works, were two staples of my early-morning listening routine.  I loved how they could lull me into an abiding sense of serenity even when the music rose up and attacked.  The music was massively contemplative, even when it surged up and roared.  From his digs in Bethlehem, PA, Mike Lorenz has been doing the same for on his latest recordings.  You should know about his music..." Read more


“When the Stars Go blue”

6.30.2019 / Mike Lorenz & the Witherbees / Forest & Main New Space

 

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