Local Musician Spotlight: Drummer Mike Marlier

Feb 15, 2018

If you love drums and love to hear exciting jazz drumming, don’t miss Mike Marlier.  One of the best ways to enjoy him is with The Mayhem Trio of Marlier, Eric Gunnison, and Bijoux Barbosa.  They have been playing together for nearly 20 years, producing a sound that is edgy, intriguing, rhythmically complex and always compelling.  They focus on the music of Chick Corea as well as original works by the members.

Mike has lived in Denver since 1981, when he moved here after completing his studies at Bowling Green State University.  His studies and early experience include studying string bass with Lawrence Angel from the Cleveland Symphony, attending the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, and being offered scholarships in both percussion and string bass.  He actually started playing drums at age 5 and was immersed in the jazz records his father played both at home and on the radio station where he worked (in Sandusky, Ohio).

An extremely versatile musician, he has recorded an album of rock, pop, folk, world, and country (1992 with Western Vogue), and an album of classical, brass, and military music with the Denver Brass in 2002.  He recorded with Stan Kenton conducting the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra, appearing on several tracks on Volume 2 of this landmark jazz and big band album.  It’s worth noting that one of the other drummers on this recording is Shelly Manne.

Locally he can be seen with so many of the Front Range’s stellar jazz musicians.  Gift of Jazz called on Mike to be featured at the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert in 2009.  He’s the staff drummer at the annual Conference on World Affairs held at CU and also at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood.

He has also played and recorded with Bob Hope, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman, Dave Grusin, Benny Golson, Bobby Shew, Lee Ritenour and Stanley Jordan.

Mike shares his playing experience with students in a private teaching studio as well as at Lamont School of Music at DU, where he has been Director of Drum Set Studies for over 22 years.

All these factors fail to tell you one thing:  how much fun he is to watch and listen to.  Support live music—go hear Mike Marlier!

Mike Marlier