Piano and Keyboards, Jazz and Brazilian Music

Michael comes from London, England where he studied classical piano with New Zealand expatriate Douglas Zanders.  He began to play by ear as a teenager and soon developed a keen interest in jazz.  In San Diego, he studied jazz with saxophonist and pianist Joe Morillo and continued his studies on the East Coast with Rutgers University Mason-Gross graduates David Libby, Noah Baerman, Steve Hudson and John Bianculli.

In addition to jazz music, Michael has a long-standing interest in Brazilian music, including Bossa Nova, Samba, Chorinho and MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira –namely, everything that came after Bossa Nova).

Michael was a founder member of the Brazilian Band ‘Zazueira’, which has played widely since 2002 in Central New Jersey; has played in various jazz combos including ‘Night and Day’, ‘Joe Tonzola and Friends’ (at the Church St. Café, Montclair) and has played solo piano and accompanied singers locally and in New York City.  He has been a member of the African Drumming and Jazz group ‘Midnight Blue’, which was founded by trombonist and percussionist Hannabiel (Nell) Sanders and which recently completed a series of performances in New Jersey and New York City.

Michael is a regular ‘irregular’ and sometime piano stand-in with the Somerset Jazz Consortium’s Sunday Jazz Jams at PJs in Highland Park, NJ.  He currently leads the Jazz Genome Project (Aaron Moment on Bass, Chris Golinski on Drum, Kurt Disney on Guitar) which plays every other Wednesday evening at Nighthawks Books in Highland Park and the band Estrada Branca (Bob Ramos, Drums, Jerry Otero, Bass, Joe Tonzola and Jaq Keenan on Guitar, Ken Lipman on Flute and Sax, Yolanda Digrius on Vocals) which focuses on Brazilian, jazz and popular songs.


Recent gigs have included:

The Jazz Genome Project: Rahway Public Library, NJ. Nighthawks Books, Highland Park, NJ. Rutgers University 1st International Workshop on Bioenergy, New Brunswick, NJ. Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Mark’s Coffee House, Reform Church of Highland Park.

Estrada Branca: Rutgers Day Campus-Wide Celebration. Highland Park Street Fair 5k Run. CoLab Arts, New Brunswick.  Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick (performing as ‘Piracicaba’), Alfa Art Gallery, New Brunswick. Other Gigs: Fanwood Cultural Arts Center, Saltwater Restaurant (with singer Tony Robinson).

Michael is interested in a wide variety of musical genres and in exploring new approaches and contexts for improvisation.  He is available for all types of gigs and genres, including: solo piano, duets, accompanying singers, small and larger jazz groups and other improvisational music.

Email:              lawtonmoss@yahoo.com

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