This week's artist spotlight is Mike Casey, a jazz saxophonist, songwriter, and educator.

A Connecticut native, Casey began playing the saxophone in 5th grade. His love for the instrument lead to his high school studies at the Greater Hartford Academy for the Performing Arts jazz program. He then went on to study at the University of Hartford's renowned Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music. Just before graduating in 2015, Casey was one of 24 people selected worldwide to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

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With thousands monthly Spotify listeners and several sold out shows, the Mike Casey Trio is ruling the jazz-sphere. Their album 'The Sound of Surprise: Live at The Side Door' was released on February 7, 2017. The 7 track album was recorded live at The Side Door jazz club in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Songs on the album include original compositions along with established jazz tunes such as "Mack The Knife".

The trio features Mike Casey on saxophone, Matt Dwonszyk on upright bass, and Corey Garcia on drums. The exclusion of piano and guitar in the jazz combo gives the ensemble a unique sound. Post album-release, the trio had a 14 city tour which sold out some of the top jazz clubs in the Northeast.

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Casey has performed at several of the top music venues including NYC's Winter Jazz Fest, Lincoln Center, Summerstage, Ginny's Supper Club, and Cape May's Exit Zero Jazz Festival.

On top of being a professional performer, Casey is also a music educator. He teaches all levels and styles of saxophone, beginner flute and clarinet, music theory, jazz theory, songwriting and composition, jazz improvisation, and jazz ensemble. In addition, Casey is available for master classes, saxophone sectionals, in-school performances, and group lessons.

Check out Mike Casey's website here.

Listen to Mike Casey's song "Hydraulics" on Spotify and Deezer