Mikey Ahearn is a young and exciting jazz musician born and raised in South London, UK. They seek to channel the lineage of the great trumpet masters in pursuit of a unique voice and sound, investing in the language and soul of Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis and further. Having directed big bands, neo-soul collectives and contemporary rock-classical ensembles in England, Mikey relocated to Chicago in 2021 to move closer to the source and centralize their sound.
During their time at Oxford University, Mikey directed university big band ‘The Donut Kings’ through its most successful years. In addition to frequenting black- and white-tie events across Oxford and London, the band’s most successful performance delivered Kenny Wheeler’s Sweet Time Suite to an audience of over 400 at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. Upon graduating in 2019, Mikey’s tenure culminated in a European tour concluding at Bilbao’s Kafe Antzokia.
Among other key roles during this time were with ‘Elephantasy’ – a neo-soul collective inspired by the music of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and D’Angelo and others – ‘About Life’ – a contemporary jazz quintet exploring broken beat, afrobeat, Latin, funk and techno – 'Introspection' – a 7-piece contemporary jazz and jazz-rock ensemble lead by composer and guitarist Julian Woods – ‘Baker’s Dozen’ – a contemporary classical, jazz, pop and electronic ensemble led by composer and pianist Harry Baker - and the 'Hot Fruit Orchestra' with Gaz Coombes. Mikey was also involved in several recording projects, including ‘All In’ – the inaugural album of the independent label ‘JazzSoc Records,' written and recorded by SNARP – and ‘Project Albus’ – a pop-classical synthesis album written and recorded by Tanay Joshi.
Mikey’s latest recording project, Octagyn (World Heart Beat Records, 2022), is their debut release as leader. Recorded in London in 2021, Octagyn is a distillation of the thoughts and feelings of a queer, non-binary musician navigating extended isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It exists ultimately as an expression of rawness and recklessness, embracing the erratic and celebrating the uncertain articulated within lines woven between queerness and jazz. The album draws inspiration from a variety of sources bridging Kenny Garrett, Bheki Mseleku, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Wheeler, Cedar Walton, Mulgrew Miller, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes and Steely Dan, forging a space for both introspection and flamboyance to coexist and coalesce. Octagyn was launched to a live audience of over 100 on January 24th, 2023 at Evanston SPACE. Read more about the Octagyn project here.
Since moving to Chicago to study at Northwestern University, Mikey has had the fortune to work with the likes of Derrick Gardner, Victor Goines, Roger Ingram, Jeremy Kahn, Ernie Adams, Marques Carroll, Chris Greene, Greg Artry, Jon Deitemyer, Brad Mason, Quentin Coaxum, Joe Clark, Darius Hampton and Morgan Pirtle, among others. Previously, Mikey had studied in London under Julian and James Joseph, Trevor Watkis, Nikki Iles, Pete Churchill, Mornington Lockett, Tony Kofi, Byron Wallen, Gerard Presencer, Duncan Eagles, Andrea Vicari and Jonathan Bratoëff. This offered them opportunities to perform in venues such as the Cadogan Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, Fairfield Halls, St. John's Smith Square and the Royal Academy of Music, in addition to numerous European venues while on tour.
Mikey is passionate about their teaching, holding the firm belief that everybody should be given access to music from an early age. When in England, they hold a position with the Sutton Music Service as a whole-class trumpet and baritone teacher to primary school children in the local borough. This stands alongside their work with Merton Music Foundation's 'Jazz Works' program, a project designed to shape the early jazz education of local musicians aged 8-18.
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