Michael Manson is a talented, school-educated, and experienced musician and music educator. His training is inclusive of intensive work in the Classic, Jazz, Gospel, and R&B genres of music. Also, inclusive of his Christian philosophy and training, giving is a crucial part of his lifestyle. In keeping with this, music as a gift is meant that is meant to serve. Therefore, Michael feels that the gift given to him is to be given back to serve others, specifically his community.
With the release of his previous CD, Thumpin’, Michael Manson joined the ranks of today’s premiere jazz artists.
His first singles, "Outer Drive,” “Sundance,” and “Coming Right At Ya," reached the top 10 on the R&R Smooth Jazz. Bass master Michael Manson moved from sideman to center stage on his solo debut, The Bottom Line.
His passion and precision are displayed with both unrelenting power and laid-back grace on the album that, he says, “reflects the deepest expression of all I have felt making music for the last twenty 25 years.”
On Michael Manson’s new CD "A Ray of Hope" (2021), he is credited for writing and production. For this album, Michael has collected the who's who of Smooth Jazz: Najee, Darren Rhan, Jeff Lorber, Nick Colionne, Lin Roundtree, Paul Jackson Jr., Jeff Lorber, and the legendary George Duke, and many more great jazz musicians. This album is an excellent mix of contemporary jazz, R&B, and even a little gospel.
Manson's association with George Duke ultimately led to the gig of a lifetime. George, the musical director and a featured artist on the Montreux Jazz tour, invited Manson onboard, where he shared the stage with his greatest childhood hero, Al Jarreau, along with David Sanborn, Roberta Flack, and Joe Sample. Manson has shared the stage with Warner Bros. Records artists Larry Carlton, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, Rick Braun, Kenny Garret, George Duke, and Kevin Mahogany. Pal Kirk Whalum said with typical good humor, "After that tour, you could have retired." But Manson is just getting started. Kirk also included him on his "Hymns In The Garden" album, which was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album at the Grammys.
In 2010, after years of working with the best in jazz, Manson and his wife Lana opened a nonprofit music school, the Musical Arts Institute. This endeavor has now served thousands of students and currently has 1200 students enrolled. They serve the far south side of Chicago, where students and families do not have access to or resources to afford high-quality music instruction.
For Michael Manson, love of musical communication, exploration, collaboration, and celebration is clearly what it’s all about. This sophomore release reflects Manson’s unabated passion with joy and inspired artistry: "There are intriguing musical conversations, and I hope the audience shares in that. But it is just great for musicians to communicate in that way. That’s the joy of music. To make great music like that every night, that’s what it’s all about.”