Michael Washington, Born (South Carolina 1976) into a large family of musicians and gospel singers, is a highly regarded drummer, percussionist, music educator and photographer based in Tampa, FL. He is not only a drummer whose focus is primarily in jazz, rock, funk, pop, soul, 2nd line, r&b and world music but he is also a hand drummer with a heavy focus on North African, Middle Eastern, West African, Brazilian, Afro Cuban and Puerto Rican percussion.
Michael began singing at the age of 4 with his family choir who performed in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Chicago but after hearing the drums coming down the street in a parade at age 5, he was captivated. He began playing the drums at the age of 10 in church then later became involved with marching and concert band in jr. high school and then marching band, concert band and playing drums for chorus while in high school. His first gig was with Ronda and Tee Paramore in their contemporary inspirational jazz group Shumah who performed all over the Tampa Bay area at community events, in art museums and at the Tampa Theater. During his first year of high school, Michael met a Marine recruiter by the name of Sgt. Vincent Caballero who introduced him to drum & bugle corps which sent him on a path that would immensely transform his life.
Through 6 years of instruction from great teachers such as Mark Thurston, Paula Williams, Benja Russel, Tim Church, Eddie Capps, Diaz Clark, Joe Southard, Eugene Fambrough, Tom Mazzeo, Paul Gansmer, Jack Starling, Mark Smith, Rob Minier, Rick Adams, Mike Neidhart, Dino Riccio, Jody Dunwoody, Steve McNeely and William Meyers within the drum & bugle corps arena performing with Suncoast Sound and The Spirit of Atlanta, he was graced with the opportunity to perform as a percussionist at Tokyo Disney Land in 1998 and 1999 and then again at Tokyo Disney Sea from 2005 to 2010.
During his time in Tokyo, he took every opportunity to go see concerts at The Blue Note, Tokyo Forum, Bunka Kaikan, The Billboard Club, The Cotton Club, touring Cirque du Soliel shows and many other venues with top quality world renowned artists. On his free time from performing at Disney, Michael was fortunate to study with great percussionists such as Christopher "Kit" Chatham, Christopher Hardy, Abdou Bayefall and Abdoulaye Sarr Ndiaye. He has traveled to Cairo, Egypt to study middle eastern music and also to Bali, Bangkok, Costa Rica, Panama, much of the Caribbean, South Korea, Colombia and Madrid to photograph in the streets and absorb the rhythm, art and cultures of those places.
Michael has performed with grammy winning artists such as Enrique Iglesias and Timothy Bloom. He is currently a drummer/performer at Disney's E.P.C.O.T. with The Jammitors, at the Magic Kingdom with The Main Street Philharmonic as a drummer/performer and also was a darbuka player/zendrummer with Mo'Rockin in the Morocco pavilion at E.P.C.O.T. His main project is with the group WAHH! which is an Indian Classical/Western jazz, funk, r&b and rock fusion band which plays some intricate, groovy and tasteful compositions in between improvisations and recently performed around NYC, San Francisco, North Carolina, Georgia, at India Fest in Virginia, the Gasparilla Music Festival and also the WMNF Tropical Heatwave within the Tampa Bay area; He also performed for two years with a group called Element-Tao that played meditative and stimulating ambient soundscapes encompassing world music. Michael has played with some of the preeminent belly dancers in Florida such as Madrin'ha, Sevdiah, Johanna Xenobia and Jameela and has worked with members of the band PoOg on their recording project "Conspiracy of Geography" as well as with Gloria West & The Gents on their recording project.
When in an ensemble, his intuition drives him to focus on keeping the groove and really listen and feel the melody, harmony and bass line being presented and to have a communication with the other members through support, response and improvisation while incorporating different sound textures in a sensible way.
He was graced to perform in such venues as the East Ballroom in the White House, STB 139 (Tokyo), Rockwood Music Hall (NYC), the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Greater Richmond Convention Center, The Shrine (NYC), Red Poppy Art House (SF), Silvana (NYC), The Tampa Museum of Art, the Gasparilla Music Festival, The Shrine (NYC), The Tampa Theater, Jannus Live, Kick Back Cafe (Tokyo), The Citrus Bowl stadium, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Ekoda Buddy (Tokyo), the Indian Cultural Center of Tampa, the India Cultural Center of Milpitas CA, The Fox, Nova, Rollins College, the Hideaway Cafe listening room, the US capitol building in Washington DC, Foxboro stadium, Rich stadium, ESPN Wide World of Sports, aboard the Carnival Legend, aboard the Princess Coral Princess, the Hilton at the Orlando Convention Center, the Washington Marriott at Wardman Park, The Roosevelt in New Orleans and all of the Walt Disney World resorts on property built before 2005.
He has also performed at many private events and corporate conventions for the likes of the CEO of McDonalds, the Hindu American Foundation, the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Unilever, The Florida Special Olympics, the Boy Scouts of America and First Lady Michelle Obama .
Michael is passionate about music and art and has put in a lot of work teaching and leading students to new heights in the areas of scholastic marching band and solo & ensemble with many superior ratings, 1st place at regionals, in WGI indoor drumlines with many 1st place in class at regionals and in DCI with 3rd place at finals and a top percussion award at finals. He recently finished a 5 year stint teaching percussion and helping build the program at Wiregrass Ranch high school who placed 2nd at state finals in 2015 along with percussionist/educator Justin Rojas-Baggett under the direction of Patrick Duncan.
His music and artistic philosophy is to have a strong foundation on the basics of technique, history regarding the instruments, a knowledge of and respect for great players and teachers, to look into other cultures for influence and inspirational ideas to refresh the classics and to use that as a start to breaking the mold; to be open to other people's ways and ideas and to allow all art and nature to inspire rhythm, melody and harmony in his playing.
He looks towards building a stronger interest and knowledge of percussion and styles of music from around the world within high schools and to continue traveling the world to share with and learn from other people.
Here is his Full Resume