A jazz-singer in the truest sense of the word, Mike Thornton blends traditional classic jazz standards with a passion for performing works by live, contemporary composers. Mike is following the footsteps of giants of vocal jazz by interpreting a new generation of jazz artists. Performing on stages across the U.S. over his career, Mike has dedicated his life to being an ever-evolving musician. Mike is a vocalist, musical director, actor, nationally-known political satirist, director and producer. Before launching his professional career as a singer (and actor), he attended Hartt School of Music, where he studied voice and music education and had the opportunity to study with the great Jackie McLean.
Since his days in NYC (1983-1995) Mike Thornton’s Jazz Quartet played clubs like the 55 Bar, Arthur’s Tavern, Cleopatra’s Needle, The Garage, Red Blazer, Augie’s, and Torch.
In the Washington D.C. area since 1995, Mike’s Jazz Collective has appeared in Blues Alley, Twins Jazz, Bohemian Caverns, State Theatre, Jammin’ Java, the Ice House Cafe, Bangkok Blues, among many others venues, as well as at outdoor concerts throughout the DC region.
While Jazz has been his passion since age 19, Mike has been a performer and creative director in numerous contexts for over 30 years. When not singing jazz (or should we say singing jazz and stretching its boundaries with a sprinkle of funk or salsa or blues vibes) much of his time was devoted to acting in earlier years (Shear Madness, Kennedy Center; Homicide, Life On The Street, NBC; Off-Broadway and national tours), and more recently performing as a full-time singer/actor with the nationally-known political satire group, The Capitol Steps. Mike also presents the Capitol Steps at many 1000-seat venues around the U.S.
His love of jazz started around the age of 19, where he sang with Uptown Sound – a “Manhattan Transfer” style group featuring intricate harmonies and sophisticated arrangements by the former Glenn Miller Band arranger, Ed Cerveney.
Also in Hartford, Mike taught voice at The University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music; was vocalist with the well-known fusion band, Topazz, was guest soloist with Hartford Symphony, and sang with jazz groups throughout the New England area. Moving to New York City in 1984, Mike created a big band with New York’s Steve Weisberg, that performed around NYC as well as on a 90-minute radio show created by Mike, which was taped live and broadcast around the northeast U.S. on NPR radio.
Mike brings a sublime, clear voice and extraordinary creativity to his jazz—his audiences love him; music critics are awed.