Michael G. Nastos is best known for his career as a radio broadcaster in Southeastern Michigan from the early '70s up to 2007. His primary outlet was at NPR affiliate WEMU, 89.1 FM, where he was senior announcer/producer, evening host for nearly 30 years, as well as assistant music director and chief librarian. Born in Ann Arbor, MI, he grew up, briefly in Ypsilanti's Depot Town, and then on the outskirts of Milan, south of Ann Arbor. He took up piano at age six, drums and percussion at seven, and played throughout school in various marching and stage bands, and pickup rock and blues groups. A classically trained multi-percussionist, he played various classical and symphonic musics, small chamber ensembles, and eventually jazz bands and gamelan orchestra. Turning his attention away from working as a professional musician, he studied journalism and broadcasting, making that his livelihood. He writes as a jazz reviewer for All Music Guide, where he has been since its inception in the early '90s. During his writing career he has published syndicated previews, reviews, or opinion columns, and worked for 17 years for the Ann Arbor News, writing on jazz, blues, world, classical, and other musics. He was named one of the top five Midwest critics by readers of Arts Midwest newsletter in 1988 and #1 Jazz Critic in the SEMJA Music Poll in 1990. In past years he was Detroit correspondent for Down Beat, continuing in that role for Cadence Magazine, where he has been since 1980, and has contributed to Coda, Jazz Forum, Swing Journal, Arts Midwest, Jazz News International, the Detroit Metro Times, and is a freelance writer of artist biographies, interviews, jazz festival and concert programs, and liner notes. As an instructor and guest lecturer, he has spoken or taught at the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College, local libraries and panel forums at the Detroit Jazz Festivals. He is a founding board member of SEMJA (Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association) and currently an active participant in ISIM (International Society for Improvised Music). In addition he was the business manager for the Ann Arbor Musicians Union, for ten years was panelist and eventually jazz chair for the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs, was publicity director worldwide for the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY, and was employed in local retail record stores. As a musician, he has worked with keyboardists Stuart Cunningham, Rick Roe, and Bill Heid, bassists Bruce Dondero and Jaribu Shahid, saxophonists Vincent York and Paul Vornhagen, the Cat's Meow, and the improvising ensemble Sublingual.
Desert Island Picks
John Coltrane - Africa Brass I/II
Muddy Waters - Box-Chess
Captain Beefheart - Bat Chain Puller
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Complete-Mercury
Larry Young - Complete-Blue Note