Saxophonist Michael Shults has been praised for his “strong, imaginative” improvisations (Downbeat Magazine) and “fresh and intelligent musical ideas” (The Pitch). As a graduate student at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Michael was a finalist in the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Artist Competition, and was the winner of the Graduate College Soloist category in the 2012 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards Issue. He was a featured soloist on Bobby Watson’s 2010 release “The Gates BBQ Suite” which reached as high as #4 on the Jazzweek National Radio Airplay Charts. A first-call musician on the Kansas City jazz scene for nearly a decade, Shults remains an active performer with Forward (a contemporary original jazz quintet), the New Jazz Order Big Band, his own quartets and quintets, and the Kansas City Generations Sextet - who recently released their debut album “Acknowledgement”, celebrating the music of Kansas City jazz icons Pat Metheny, Bobby Watson, and Ahmad Aladeen. "Acknowledgement" reached as high as #8 on the CMJ Jazz Charts.

Equally adept as a concert saxophonist, Shults has been praised for his “jaw-dropping” and “authoritative” technique (Bill Brownlee of the Kansas City Star) and has performed by invitation at the College Band Director's National Association conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance biennial conference and the University of Iowa Festival for New Music. As a doctoral student, Michael was the saxophone studio TA at UMKC under the tutelage of Zach Shemon, alto saxophone chair of the world-famous PRISM quartet. 

Michael's debut album, "Pathetiques", featuring original jazz compositions and the music of Ida Gotkovsky, is scheduled for a  2016 release.

Dr. Shults is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he teaches applied jazz and classical saxophone, saxophone quartets, jazz combos and jazz improvisation.


Photographer: Clint Ashlock

June 2015

Green Lady Lounge - Kansas City, MO