Michael Landau - Biography
Musician and composer Michael Landau was born in June 1958 and raised in Los Angeles. He grew up with the music of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Cream and The Band. His grandfather arranged and played woodwinds during the swing era with the Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman. In his early teens, Michael quickly became very interested in jazz and electric jazz music. Weather Report, Pat Martino and Jaco Pastorius were some of his early obsessions. From this diverse blend of influence, his sound and path began to take shape.
Michael starting playing the guitar at age 11, at age 16 he began playing the L.A. club scene with an R&B band and shortly after he toured the west coast with Robben Ford which included band members, Jimmy Haslip and Russell Ferrante.
At age 19 he joined Boz Scaggs for a world tour and by the age of 20, he started to do session work on the recommendation of long-time friend Steve Lukather.
He has appeared on a phenomenal number of albums over the years that would include; Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, BB King, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Tim McGraw, Donna Summer, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Graham Nash, Roberta Flack, Ringo Starr, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Joe Cocker, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Rod Stewart to modern iconic pop albums such as Michael Jackson (‘Bad’/‘Invincible’), Alanis Morissette (‘Jagged Little Pill’), Anastacia (‘Anastacia’/’It’s A Man’s World) and Mariah Carey (‘Emotions’/’Music Box’).
Not to mention working on several movie soundtracks such as ‘Collateral’ (2004), ‘Blood Diamond’ (2006), ‘Salt’ (2010), ‘The Green Hornet’ (2010), ‘Larry Crowne (2011), ‘Rock of Ages’ (2012), ‘The Bourne Legacy’ (2012) and more.
In 2010 he joined Renegade Creation with Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak. They released the self-titled debut ‘Renegade Creation’ (2010) and ‘Bullet’ in 2012.
In 2018 he wrote much of the music and received a Grammy as a member of the ‘Steve Gadd Band’. This album won Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, an award they were also nominated for the previous year.
In 2018 he released his most recent solo album ‘Rock Bottom’ via Provogue, a division of the Mascot Label Group, with long-time collaborator David Frazee (Burning Water) on vocals, his brother Teddy Landau (Raging Honkies) on superlative bass, Larry Goldings on organ, and Alan Hertz playing drums. This album was released to rave reviews across Europe and the US.
Landau will be releasing a new live album on 21st August 2020 from his Michael Landau Liquid Quartet show at the world-famous Baked Potato Jazz Club in Los Angeles in November 2019. The band includes drummer Abe Laboriel Jr (Paul McCartney), bassist Jimmy Johnson (Alan Holdsworth) and on guitar and vocals, David Frazee (Burning Water). The set featured a selection of new songs as well as some inspired renditions from his back catalogue of Burning Water, Renegade Creation and solo outings.
“The Baked Potato is a unique place,” he says. “The tiny stage is in the center of the room and the audience surrounds you from both sides. The sound in the room is also unique because the sound system surrounds the band as well, it’s like you’re inside of the P.A., the close proximity of everything gives the effect of everyone wearing headphones but together in the same room, you can hear every tiny detail. It also has a very low ceiling which adds to the intimacy and the sound, it’s a very dry sounding room, you can’t bluff your way through it and hide behind reverb, every note is heard.”
The exquisite musicianship glides through the entire performance and he has a long history with each of the band members, “Abe and I are somehow connected musically, it’s hard to describe but he reads my mind musically, we often play the same exact rhythm phrase together out of nowhere.” Jimmy Johnson and Landau date back to 1990 when he recorded his 1st solo album ‘Tales from the Bulge’ and David Frazee to the late 80s when they first formed Burning Water. “Playing with this line-up at the Potato is always a proud moment for me. No rehearsals, we keep it fresh and let the music take us all for a ride.”