Michael Glaser is the first call for many of the finest sounds in Birmingham: String Theory, Chad Fisher, The Birmingham Seven, Choko Aiken, Magic Shtetl, The Jason Bailey Band, Mingusphere, Matthew DeVine’s Big Greasy Brass Band, and Rob Alley’s Alabama Songbook.  He covers lots of styles with these groups: original modern jazz, ‘30s-‘40s swing, Afrobeat & funk, classic rock and pop arranged for a string quartet, Jewish folk music, New Orleans sounds, drums for African dance, and more. 

He is also a bandleader, transcribing, arranging, and performing the music of his favorite jazz composers and performers.  He has played in major music festivals in New York City and Lucerne, Switzerland, and did a six-city tour of Colombia with a UAB Jazz faculty group in November 2014.  He has worked as a sideman with nationally and internationally-known artists like John P. Strohm (Blake Babies, Lemonheads), Johnny O’Neal (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton), Ron McCurdy (The Langston Hughes Project), Taylor Hicks (American Idol 2006), banjo phenom Ryan Cavanaugh,  musician & spoken word artist Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Guinean dance master Youssouf Koumbassa. 

Michael is a graduate of Davidson College (B.A.).  He enjoys teaching drumset lessons in the jazz and Music Tech programs at UAB as well as playing in the UAB Jazz Faculty Quintet / Septet, and teaches drummers of all ages in Birmingham.  He likes finding out what makes the music fun for his students as well as helping them build a foundation for any musical or creative direction they may pursue.


Michael has performed and recorded extensively with the following Birmingham-based groups ( * denotes founding member ):


The Reputable Quintet * : this is my group; the other members and I do most of the transcribing & arranging ourselves

Birmingham Hard Bop Sextet * : '50s-'60s hard bop jazz like Joe Henderson, Freddie Redd and Lee Morgan

The Birmingham Seven: arranger Daniel Western's septet featuring original music by the band members

The Chad Fisher Group * : original jazz from all directions

The Chad Fisher Group, swing edition * : '30s-'40s swing; dig it

Mingusphere * : Charles Mingus & Thelonious Monk- that's it

The Mark Kimbrell Trio * : guitar trio - inspiration from Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, John Scofield & more

Matthew DeVine's Incestet: keys/drums duo or more; all original compositions

Rob Alley: An Alabama Songbook * : Rob has created new settings for Byron Arnold's Folksongs of Alabama - beautiful vocals by Jil Chambless!

Roberts Jazz Project: Ashley Roberts (vocals) & Steve Roberts (trumpet) leading a quintet- great singer & classic tunes

Robert Moore & the Wildcats: original jazz vocals


String Theory: a string quartet plus bass + drums: original compositions as well as Dave Brubeck, The Flaming Lips, The Police, Arcade Fire, Queen, Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and lots more

The White Oaks * : original, eclectic, vocal harmony-driven sounds

Meteorite: original & funky instrumental / vocal music

Downright: groovy, artful original rock

Glen & Libba / The Cast: R&B, funk & soul


Matthew DeVine's Big Greasy Brass Band: Professor Longhair, The Meters, Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, etc.!

Magic Shtetl * : Jewish folk/dance music for clarinet, guitar, bass & drums

Rhea Speights / Michael Glaser DUO: dance & drum improvisation.  Way cool.

Bo Butler & the Niceboys * : honky tonk country, '40s-'70s




                                                        Michael has also had the pleasure of sideman duty on gigs with these fine folks:

                           Victor Atkins - pianist for Elvin Jones, Headhunters, Nnenna Freelon, Los Hombres Calientes, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

                           Ryan Cavanaugh - bluegrass / jazz banjoist and member of saxophonist Bill Evans' Soulgrass

                           Phil DeGreg – Woody Herman Big Band alumnus and Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati 

                           Taylor Hicks - Birmingham's own American Idol 2006!

                           Jean-Yves Jung – pianist / keyboardist for Bireli Lagrene, Billy Cobham, Roger Biwandu, Dee Dee Bridgewater & others

                           Youssouf Koumbassa - master dancer, drummer and teacher from Guinea, West Africa

                           Ron McCurdy – creator of The Langston Hughes Project & professor at the USC Thornton School of Music 

                           Johnny O'Neal - toured for many years with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Ray Brown, and Lionel Hampton, and played 

                                 pianist Art Tatum in the Academy Award-winning film Ray

                           John P. Strohm - founding member of the Blake Babies and touring member of the Lemonheads

                           Malcolm-Jamal Warner - poet, actor, and musician best known for The Cosby Show and currently the voice of 

                                 The Langston Hughes Project


Michael was fortunate to study with these musicians & composers while at Davidson College in North Carolina

and Belmont University in Nashville:

Dale Armstrong

Sam Bacco

Jeff Kirk

Jennifer Stasack

Bill Stowe

Carol Stumpf

And he has even had a lesson with amazing, wonderful jazz drummers Matt Wilson & Steve Korn.


Michael teaches in his own studio (and maybe at your house, too!) and in the percussion / jazz department of 

The University of Alabama at Birmingham.