Saxophonist and composer Mike Casey has been a fixture on the Hartford jazz scene and beyond since 2008, when he began attending the Greater Hartford Academy for the Performing Arts. Upon his graduation, he went on to attend and graduate in 2015 from the acclaimed Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz housed at University of Harford’s Hartt School. In 2015, Casey was chosen to participate in the prestigious “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC led by Jason Moran. Casey has performed at a number of well-respected venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Minton’s, The Kennedy Center, Ginny’s Supper Club and others. Since its inception in 2015, Casey has been apart of Marc Cary’s “Harlem Sessions” project; with Cary, he has performed at NYC’s Winter Jazz Fest, Summerstage, and Cape May’s Exit Zero Jazz Festival.
Who are some musicians who have inspired you?
On saxophone: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Jackie McLean, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Joshua Redman, Abraham Burton, Mike DiRubbo, Gary Bartz, Billy Harper
What has been your favorite performance venue to date?
The Side Door in Old Lyme, where my debut album was recorded
Where would you love to perform?
The Village Vanguard in NYC. So much history there!
If you could play for one celebrity who would it be?
Jimmy Fallon. He's a jazz fan and one of my favorite people on TV.
What advice do you have for musicians starting out?
Fall deep in love with music. Give yourself to the music, don't look back, and if you plan on making this your career, don't have a 'Plan B'. It will only hold yourself back, creatively and professionally.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Favorite original song: Dagobah, One of my favorite classics: Mack The Knife