Mike’s piano playing


Mike Denham is a fine solo pianist, with an interesting and tasteful repertoire of American jazz from the early years of the century. He plays classic rags by Scott Joplin, the blues and stomps of Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, and popular songs by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, as well as eight-to-the bar boogie from Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons.

A self-confessed ragtime junkie, Mike loves to play not only Joplin rags but also those of James Scott, Joe Lamb, Artie Matthews and others, along with some of his own compositions.

Mike plays a small number of concerts each year in attractive venues with fine pianos.  Invariably well attended, these concerts give both Mike and the audience a great deal of pleasure.  Mike also plays for private parties, providing a sympathetic background to proceedings on either acoustic or electronic piano.

Introduced to the piano by his father, who needed someone to accompany his violin, mandolin and guitar playing, Mike's music career suffered an early set back when he was "asked to leave" the school madrigal group. History does not record whether this stemmed from a tendency to syncopate the baroque ensembles, or perhaps from a complete inability to sing. However, the chance to play jazz at Exeter University and a short but enjoyable time with Devon band the Teign Valley Stompers set Mike's musical path in the jazz direction.

Stints with various Midlands bands followed, before Mike moved back south, and became co-founder of the Sunset Cafe Stompers. Based in darkest Dorset, the Sunset Cafe are a popular and busy band who have played at clubs and festivals all over Britain.

Mike is also a part of the successful duo Original Rags with leading trumpet player Steve Graham, who doubles on mandolin.

Mike's first solo album “The Pearls” was a great success and his second “Heliotrope Bouquet” has recently been issued.

Cole Porter
Mr Jelly Roll
Meade Lux Lewis

“Thank you Mike. It was great to have you with us, and the recital was very much enjoyed by the large crowd.”