Introducing Trumpeter Mike Cottone


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Just Remember is a highly personal collection of songs that Cottone wanted to be a reflection of his journey thus far and to pay tribute to a pivotal figure in his decision to become a musician. Produced by Grammy-award-winning drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. (known for his work with Kurt Elling & Christian McBride) and Marc Iacona, co-producer of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the project became a reality.

In his own words Cottone explains the concept behind his inspiring offering. “Having made it this far in my career, the one message that has resonated with me from my high school days is to never forget where I came from. My high school band director, Daniel McMurray, made it very clear that being humble, modest, and keeping your ego in check make success a reality. I even remember where I was sitting when he shared this knowledge. Dan passed away just before Christmas of my senior year in high school, so my limited time with him proved to be priceless. Without him I probably wouldn't have pursued a career as a musician. Shortly after his passing, I met Marc Iacona who continued to motivate and reinforce the importance of remembering those who helped me to get where I am. This album is a tribute to Dan and to everyone who has helped me to get to this point—-hence the title, Just Remember."

Cottone further describes; “compared to the amount of time I spend playing, I don't spend nearly as much time composing, so having this project in the back of my mind for the past couple years helped me face my demons and get some material on the page. The advice McMurray gave me in high school helped me break through this wall and focus my compositions. I centered my attention on my favorite records and ended up with a collection of compositions that reflect these influences.

Even though I had enough material to put the album together after this process, my producer, Ulysses Owens, urged me to write one more tune with my concept in mind. After a few long sessions at my piano, the title track, “Just Remember," emerged. The best part of this whole process was putting together a dream band of my best musician friends, recording the tune with the ink fresh on the page and getting a solid title track. The spirit of the tune reflects how thankful I am to be doing what I'm doing!"


Rochester-born musician Mike Cottone developed a love for music at a very young age. After being given a trumpet at the age of 10, it was clear where his love for music would be channeled. In high school, he began to explore the world of jazz thanks to his band director, Mr. Daniel McMurray. Mike was exposed to recordings of trumpet greats such as Louis Armstrong, Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Roy Hargrove. Thanks to McMurray's guidance and inspiration, he began to develop his own soulful sound and passion for jazz.

Mike attended The Eastman School of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Howard Hanson Scholarship and the Rochester International Jazz Festival Scholarship. Mike began his studies as a double degree student in Jazz Performance and Music Education. He honed his skills under the direction of trumpet teachers Clay Jenkins of the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra and Douglas Prosser, Principal Trumpeter with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

While playing in Eastman's New Jazz Ensemble and the Downbeat-award-winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble, Mike shared the stage with jazz giants such as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, John Hollenbeck, Peter Erskine, Rufus Reid, and Marian McPartland. During his time between semesters at Eastman, Mike kept busy performing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the Commission Project, the Grand Hotel Orchestra on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and was a featured performer and clinician at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Mike completed his Masters degree at The Juilliard School where he studied with trumpet guru Chris Jaudes and jazz great Dr. Eddie Henderson. While at Juilliard, Mike also worked and performed with jazz masters such as Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard, Ron Blake, Ted Nash, Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe, Ray Drummond, and Joe Wilder. Mike led the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble on trips to Columbia, South America and Salt Lake City, Utah, and performed on the Queen Mary 2 as a guest artist.

Now a full-time resident in New York City, Mike performs weekly at the Bar Basque Restaurant and the Black Duck Restaurant. He has also performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at Rose Hall, and in various venues such as Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, the Four Seasons Restaurant, the Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, and with the Broadway Production of “HAIR." Mike was recently a featured performer for the Blue Note's Emerging Artist Series where he premiered many of his latest works for his debut album, Just Remember.

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This story appears courtesy of Kari-On Productions.
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