Mike Sailors

Trumpeter Mike Sailors has established himself as one of the most in-demand trumpeter’s on New York City’s thriving swing and traditional jazz scene. He has worked with Ralph Lalama, Orrin Evans and The Captain Black Big Band, James Langton and his New York All-Star Big Band, Baby Soda Jazz Band, The George Gee Swing Orchestra, The Dizzy’s Club All-Star Orchestra, The Hot Sardines and many other lesser-known, but nonetheless outstanding bands and instrumentalists in the NYC area. He’s also worked on and off Broadway in several pits, but most notably with the sell-out success Sleep No More, where he currently serves as the Music Director.

A native of Charleston, SC, Mike began his musical training at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied with bassist Steve Haines and with jazz trumpet guru Rob Smith. During his time in NC, Sailors dove into music composition – mainly for large jazz ensembles. Composition would eventually turn into a large part of Sailors’ musical identity. He has composed music for Peter Bernstein, Rodney Whitaker, Ryan Kisor, Sean Jones and a host of other artists and organizations including The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and many more.

After completing his degree in 2005, Sailors was asked to join the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra. Based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the NCJRO features some of the states best jazz artists. With the NCJRO, Sailors appeared in concert with jazz luminaries, Sean Jones, Don Braden, Byron Stripling, McCoy Tyner, and many others.

In 2007, Sailors relocated to Michigan to obtain his Masters degree at Michigan State University, where he was mentored by world-reknown bassist and composer, Rodney Whitaker. After completing his degree in 2009, Sailors went on to to work with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where he served as Lead Trumpet in the Detroit Civic Jazz Orchestra. He also was appointed Artistic Director/Lead Composer of Mack Avenue Records’ Donald Byrd Project, featuring Sean Jones. This group appeared at the 2009 Detroit International Jazz Festival and featured Sailors’ arrangements of 10 classic Donald Byrd compositions.

In 2010, Sailors moved to Austin, Texas to complete a Doctoral Degree in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin. Sailors quickly became one of the cities first-call jazz and lead trumpet players, appearing with Willie Nelson, Dale Watson, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Jazz Orchestra and many others. He also played on more than 25 albums as sideman during his short time in Austin.

Since moving to New York City in 2013, Sailors has appeared on CBS Good Morning, The NY Hot Jazz Festival, The London Jazz Festival, The Detroit Jazz Festival with The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, the Turner Classic Movie Cruise as well as maintained a touring schedule of over 125 dates per year with The Hot Sardines. With the Sardines, he’s traveled extensively in Europe as well as most of the 50 states in the US.

Dr. Sailors currently resides in Brooklyn, where he lives with his partner Nicole and their dog Niles.

“I rely heavily on my Outlaw, as I’m on the road over 125 days a year. It’s the only case I trust to navigate the rigors of tour life.” — Mike Sailors.

Mike’s horn travels safely in his Outlaw.

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