JAZZMIKE

(michael incavo)


is a musical co-creator and producer.
has collab credits totaling over 500 million plays on Spotify.
plays sax and keyboards on tour, live and in studio. 

loves to play sessions and collab on new music

is @jazzmike on Instagram


has a story
uses fun tools
composes new works
owes everything to his influences
offers skype lessons

also does PR consulting, content creation


collab/tour/placements include:


surfaces | Dave Stewart | Televisor |  Forrest. | PLC | CLVS | NVTHVN | Biskwiq 


HBO | ESPN | SiriusXM: Hits 1 + The Pulse + Alt Nation | Spotify: Lorem + Mood Booster + Good Vibes + Fresh and Chill + New Music Friday + It’s A Hit!


Scroll down for collabs + more:



COLLABS





I’m Michael Incavo, aka jazzmike. I’ve been making acoustic and electronic music since 1998, mainly on sax and keyboards.

BAYLOR 

I came up in classical and jazz, and later attended the University of North Texas and Baylor University. I studied jazz with Alex Parker, composition with Scott McAllister and electronic music with Ben Johansen.

While at Baylor, I played lead tenor in the Baylor Jazz Ensemble alongside the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors, the New York Voices and trumpeter Pete Rodriguez. 

I also was delighted to perform as a featured classical soloist in two performances; one for composer Michael Colgrass on his piece Urban Requiem as a featured soloist with the Baylor Wind Ensemble under Eric Wilson, and the other with the Baylor Concert Choir in the 2017 Baylor President’s Concert at the Eisemann Center in Dallas under Lynn Gackle.

I graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts and a music concentration. 



Surfaces

One evening in the Baylor music library, a stranger named Forrest tapped my shoulder and asked, “Hey man. You ever hear of Tycho?”

Ever since, I’ve been working with Surfaces on tracks like Be Alright, Loving, Someday, Outside Interlude, Beautiful Day and Keep it Gold, plus the YouTube trending hit Sunday Best. We also got to cross the country together before COVID hit.

CollabS

Served fresh from my studio in The Woodlands, TX. You can read more about the gear I use further down the page.Wanna co-create? Hit me up.

Collabs include: 
Surfaces, Dave Stewart, Nate Harasim, Nick Luebke, CLVS, Forrest., Tom + Mikey Szoch, Mason Ashley, David Stükenberg, Fragments of the Orient, Public Library Commute, NVTHN, Ok2222, Park Bird, Miss Dri, Ilan


INFLUENCES


Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson & the Rippingtons feat. Russ Freeman.

I’ve also grown up on Gerald Albright, Michael Lington, Candy Dulfer, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, Steve Cole and Brian Simpson.


Others include:

Dirty Loops
Alex Han
Mark Lettieri
Parachute
Lawrence
Louis Cole/KNOWER
Steely Dan
Televisor
Polyphia
Marcus Miller
Lemaitre
The Night Game
The 1975
Kenny Loggins
Paul Simon
Dave Weckl
Charlie Puth



Ariana Grande
Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross
Ozone Squeeze
George Benson
Carl Winther Trio
The Books
ambiq
Huey Lewis and The News
Owl City
Valeriy Stepanov
Danny Kusz
Snarky Puppy
Greg Manning
Nicholas Cole
Tycho
Forenn
and more.

JAZZMIKE
(Michael J. Incavo)
The Woodlands, Texas



Hit me up with music, Q&A or anything else:
@jazzmike on Instagram
jazzmikemusic@gmail.com



TOOLS


I’ve always been a gearhead. I’ve owned one of everything but I’ve scaled down to a mostly portable setup for the road. Please hit me up to talk gear and share your setup with me.

Speakers

For monitor speakers, I love Dynaudio’s BM5a’s. I’ve enjoyed Event 20/20’s too.

I’ve been using Dynaudio DM2/7’s and Mirage Nanosats paired with an ARC-equipped Anthem MRX-310
for home theater and listening. I like how the Nanosats just kind of “radiate” the sound from where they’re placed. Loved the similar approach from the Bose 3-2-1 Gemstone system I used to use. I know, heresy. Speaking of, the full-sized Klipsch Heresy speakers blow me away. I’ve tried some planar magnetic stuff in the past and been really interested in the sound but not the fragility, size, weight, maintenance and price tag.

For live shows, I love the QSC CP8. Weighs nothing, it’s vanishingly small, and it gets the job done surprisingly well for the small-to-medium solo shows I play. Great as a monitor, great as a keyboard amp, great as a small PA with surprisingly deep range and loud volume for its crazy low price. 


Interfaces

While frowned upon by purists, I love a few of the Liquid Channel emulations in the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56, so I tolerate the weird routing settings and dual-dongle connection I have to use for my Mac. I used to use the MOTU Ultralite AVB when I travelled more. In the past I’ve used Apogee stuff like the Duet and the One, an RME Babyface, and various budget Focusrite options. Even a low-end UMC from Behringer.

Honestly these interfaces are all relatively decent or better. My typical recommendations for USB interfaces are Behringer UMC for cheapest possible, Focusrite Solo or 2i2 for the solid value pick, Audient ID4 for better performance, and MOTU if you want special features like digital mixing. Haven’t tried UA but have heard the Apollo is good. I like the stuff I’ve tried from Schiit Audio including the Fulla but for the record, I can’t tell the difference between different DAC’s I’ve tried. ODAC vs. Behringer UMC was indistinguishable to me.

I’ve also made extensive use of a $4 pawnshop spray-painted-black Yamaha Audiogram which has made itself surprisingly useful with my iPad and a USB adapter.

Headphones

I’ve tried stuff all over the map. My all-time favorites so far are the Beyerdynamic DT 880’s. Sony MDR-7506’s were fine but bright, and the Sennheiser HD 280’s were too uncomfortable. I own some Bose QC35ii’s as well. I find Bose excels in “applied” audio solutions. Instead of trying to be as accurate as possible, they try to impart the broader feeling of the music while coping with various non-ideal situations. 

I really liked the Audeze iSINE’s for a while, hated the Audeze gaming headphones and messed up a pair of UE TripleFi 10’s by getting them put into a custom molded enclosure. They don’t sound good anymore. Totally muffled. I use Shure SE215’s for IEM’s more often than I use the UE’s. Really unfortunate. Also have some Koss PortaPro’s and a FiiO E12 Mont Blanc amp floating around.


Saxophones

My current tenor sax is a Yanagisawa from the 80’s. Lately I’m transitioning to a vintage Berg Larsen hard rubber piece modified by John Yoakum paired with Plasticover 3 reeds and an Olegature, though I’ve been recommended to try a lig from Saxxas. The Berg is much louder and projects better than my also-very-good prior setup, an unmodified Otto Link 7* hard rubber + Rovner ligature with 3-soft Roberto’s Winds or Rigotti Gold reeds.

I don’t play much alto but when I do, I use a Yamaha 62 with Rico Plasticover reeds and a Beechler Bellite in the 7-8 range customized by John Yoakum. I also really like Morgan Excalibur mouthpieces for more straight-ahead stuff.

I also use a T.C. Helicon Correct pedal for various effects including adaptive compression and tone shaping, “warmth” and pitch correction. Some may frown on autotune, but I think some tasteful pitch correction helps the sax gel with produced, pitch-perfect instrumentals. Some producers I’ve worked with like a hard-tuned sound -- it’s all up to them once I hand off the tracks.


Visuals

I used the InFocus IN3138HDa projector for a while until I realized how cheap curved 4K smart TV’s like the Samsung 7000 Series with low enough lag and high enough pixel density to also be used as monitors have gotten. I run Windows at its native resolution on it (Windows HiDPI scaling sucks) with some fun XP skinning on the Start menu and taskbar.

Mics

The V-251 kit from micparts.com. The music I grew up loving was all recorded on the Telefunken 251, so I wanted one for myself. I couldn’t afford the real thing, so I bartered with a soldering-skilled friend to get this kit built into a cheap enclosure. I’ve never been more happy with the sound I get from a microphone. It’s as simple as that. I use it with the Millennia simulation on the Focusrite. Someday I’ll probably get the HV35-P

In the past, I used a Rode NTK mic with a Telefunken Black Diamond tube for a lot of collabs. I’ve also enjoyed the Aston Origin for some things like spoken word with the rolloff engaged. But then I gave it to CLVS who’s doing great stuff with it.

The AKG C414XLS is also great for everything except being reasonably priced. I liked it with the Grace 101 preamp with the detented knobs and clean performance. But eventually, I determined I couldn’t pick the 101 out of an A/B test so I got rid of it. I recommend Popgard for pop filtering. Its especially good for point-blank proximity.

My wireless rig for shows is a fantastic Shure Beta 98H/C into a Sennheiser 300 G4 wireless system via a Performance Audio cable adapter. I considered using a Shure system, but I can’t depend on anything in the 2.4 band due to the number of cell phones in Surfaces’ audiences and nothing under $1000 or so from Shure fits that requirement without sacrificing sound quality. 

Thought about switching to an AMT
LS or DPA 4099 but I’ve heard the AMT is darker in tone which is a no-go because I’m very happy with what I’m getting straight out of the Beta 98, and the DPA may in fact provide better tone quality but is said to transfer more key noise, have a more finicky clip, provide worse isolation of other onstage sound and it costs way, way way more. 


Keyboards

On the keyboard side, I formerly used a Roland VR-09 onstage but now I’m Nord Electro 6D 61 all the way. The action, sounds and build quality are all so, so, so much better. I also have a Korg X50 which I will never sell, a Yamaha MO6 which has all the sounds of my smooth jazz influences and a Novation X-Station 25 which is so fun to play around with. I’ve been playing with a Hohner Airboard melodica and have definitely not ruled out a keytar of some kind for the future.

My stand of choice for seated + standing playing is the QuikLok QLY-40, though it is discontinued and not without fault. For  standing stage playing, I am currently figuring out an angled keyboard setup using a reversed second tier for better ergonomics. 

Computer

I was using a 2015 15” MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz quad i7, 16GB RAM and Radeon graphics. The one that Marco Arment called the best MacBook Pro ever made. But then I stopped doing video work and realized I could get the exact same performance for my workload from a 2018 13” i5 MacBook Pro. I picked up a model with AppleCare and I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier with a laptop. But that’s just because I haven’t had the keyboard flake out on me yet, knock on wood.

It’s head-turningly gorgeous in Space Grey; the keyboard is really cool to type on; the touchpad is heavenly if just a little big, and the Touch Bar is occasionally useful and slowly growing on me when I’m not accidentally hitting it. To me, a laptop isn’t a laptop unless it’s so light and convenient that you bring it along without thinking or remembering it’s in your bag. The 15” didn’t fit that description, and the new 13” does. 


I make music in Logic Pro, make occasional video in Final Cut Pro and Premiere, use Lightroom for photo, Audition for podcast production, Illustrator and Photoshop for graphic design, occasionally InDesign for layout.