Born in upstate New York, Michael Civisca still makes that part of the Empire State his residence and performing base. Possessing a full ranged baritone which he uses with finesse and discretion to fit the mood, tone and tempo of the song he's singing, Civisca is equally at home working with small groups and big bands. He has 4 CDs on the street where he works im both settings, including Live with the Trio and his latest, a 2002 release, Love Is...Like a Breeze. He shows there, and on his other two releases, especially A Collection of Great Standards, that he is at home with those hardiest perennials of American Popular Song, as well as with newer and traditional pop material. Civisca began working as a professional in 1995, inspired to take the arduous trip down the road to a jazz career when he took up trumpet as a youngster listening and playing along with the records of Herb Alpert, Chuck Mangione and Louis Armstrong. More critical to his becoming a vocalist was the influence of Armstrong as a singer rather than as a trumpeter as Civisca memorized the lyrics of hundreds of songs he heard on those Armstrong records. He was also guided by other singers representing a wide variety of styles, from Dinah Shore to Ella Fitzgerald. As he expanded his singing parameters, he turned to Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Sting picking and choosing from the way they worked lyrics, clues on how to further expand his own interpretative skills. You can hear a bit of Billy Joel as well as Frank Sinatra, with a dash of Bobby Darin hip, in Civisca. In addition to his albums as a leader and appearances at local supper clubs and jazz venues in and around Buffalo and other upstate New York locations, he is on the soundtrack of the Mel Gibson 1999 film Payback, has been featured in concert specials on PPBS and was in the Las Vegas cast of the Rat Pack is Back. Like many of his contemporaries who have difficulty hooking up with a major indie label, he runs his own production company, Neptune Music. When not involved in any of his many enterprises, Civisca likes to listen to a wide mix of singers running from Sinatra and Diana Krall to Aerosmithand Sting.
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