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Artist and Composer, Michael Cruse is a musically captivating talent having captured audiences all around the world. Cruse, a Lexington, Kentucky native, is known for his unique take on the musical stylings of the incomparable Louis Armstrong. Michael’s compositions and arrangements have been featured in various TV shows, films, and commercials, which have been aired across the nation.


Michael’s musical lineage spans 100 years, including two gospel recording groups, the Brooks Sisters and the Raglin Brothers of Kentucky, and his dear uncle Charles Quillings, teacher of esteemed jazz pianist Les McCann. His Uncle Charles took Michael under his wing as a young child, starting him with piano, and later teaching him trumpet, and how to read and write music. Michael then went on to attend The University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music for Jazz Studies Performance and Composition.


After graduating, Michael released his first CD entitled “Unbridled'' featuring his group The Michael Cruse Quintet. Michael’s Latest single “You” (2020) can be found available on any music streaming platform. Michael performs locally in Atlanta & New York City, and tours across the nation at various concert halls, jazz festivals, and jazz clubs. Michael is teaching as a Lecturer and Brass Instructor in the Jazz Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael also currently works for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Education Department in New York, New York as well.


Michael has performed with jazz greats such as Roy Hargrove, Les McCann, JD Allen, Jazzmeia Horn & Her Noble Force, Javon Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Curtis Lundy, Victor Jones, Russell Gunn, Warren Wolf, Gregory Tardy, The Royal Krunk Jazz Orchestra, John Fedchock, Fareed Haque, Vince DiMartino, Gail Wynters, Byron Stripling, Jason Marshall Big Band, Jeff Hamilton, John Von Ohlen, and Kevin Harris. 


Michael has also performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk with Rap Artist JID and several R&B groups for Bootsy Collins, KeKe Wyatt, Jill Scott, Keisha Cole, Mike Phillips, Chantae Cann, Damian Sneed, Marc Broussard, and Clyde Brown (Drifters). He also has recorded for Kirk Franklin, Bootsy Collins, Kim Burell, L Spencer Smith, and Travis Malloy. Michael was also a part of the filming of “Miles Ahead” and portrayed NYC-based trumpeter and recording artist, Ernie Royal, starring Don Cheadle as Miles Davis (r. April 2016), as well as filming for HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” (released 2020). He also joined the cast of “The Color Purple” by Oprah Winfrey (released 2024) and was apart of the soundtrack as well. Michael continues his active work of performing, recording, composing music, educating, and acting to this day. You can follow Michael Cruse on Facebook and Instagram @MichaelCruseMusic

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