Born January 25th 1955 in Bury, Lancashire, with the encouragement of his parents Mike played Cornet in local brass bands from a young age. He gained recognition for his talents at age nine, and at eleven years old began his studies at the Junior Royal College of Music in Manchester, which was swiftly followed by a Scholarship to Chetham’s School Of Music.
At age twelve, he was playing in the solo cornet’s with Besses O’th Barn Band, and at eighteen, he had gained a place at the Guildhall School Of Music in London.
His music tutors over the years have included:
- Trevor Green (Scottish Opera)
- Henry Hall (Halle Orch)
- Maurice Murphy ( BBC Northern, LSO)
- Colin Casson (BBC Welsh)
- Bernard Brown (BBC Symphony)
At the Guildhall he led the Brass Ensemble conducted by Dennis Wick and also played first trumpet in the Symphony Orchestra. In the second year he was chosen as one of six people to play in the Juenesses Musicals World Orchestra at the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada, followed by a month tour. He also had a month tour of Italy with a 20-piece Brass Ensemble the same year.
The following summer he was again chosen to represent England with the same Orchestra for a tour of Korea and Japan.
After finishing college, he freelanced with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. Further experience in freelance work eventually led to a job with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra in 1978 with whom he played for the next 12 years. During this time he played in all the major Concert halls in England and Europe, with TV, Radio and recordings, along with the occasional classical date with the London Symphony Orchestra. He also played session work in all styles of music for the likes of Joe & Co, CBS, CTS, Abbey Road, BBC Maida Vale, Golders Green and Pebble Mill studios.
Mike has played with the following groups over the years:
- Pasadena Roof Orchestra
- Cotton Club Orchestra
- Cotton Club Band (Keith Nichols)
- The Grahamaphones
- Red Hot & Blue Orchestra
- The Charleston Chasers
- Harry Stutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra
- Bob Hunt Ellington Orchestra
- Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra
- Echoes Of Ellington Orchestra
- Midnite Follies Orchestra
- Squadronaires Orchestra
- Ray Gelato’s Giants
- Blue Harlem
- Sugar Ray Ford Orchestra
- John Altman Orchestra
- The Brasshoppers
- Keith Nichols Blue Devils
- Joan Viskant Quintet and Bryan Ferry (tour of Europe with Jazz/Roxy Music Show)
Small group work:
- The Guinness Jazz Band: Mike has worked with the group for the last 23 years, with 21 appearances at the Cork Jazz Festival and lots of tours to Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany and England.
- Acker Bilk Paramount Jazz Band: Mike played at Guest Concerts in England and Ireland, including Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen.
- Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band: Now known as The Big Chris Barber Band, Mike has played with Chris since 2001, Touring Europe and the UK with 200 dates a year.
— Mike ‘Magic’ Henry ARCM AGSM.