Piano Music of Mike Garson

Piano Music of Mike Garson

Mike Garson
Danny Holt
Catalog Number: 
#1 066
new music
Release Date: 
Apr 22, 2022
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

When Danny Holt first heard Mike Garson’s music, it was as if it reached out of his stereo speakers and grabbed him. Mike Garson is perhaps best known for his relationship with David Bowie, which began in 1972. He made his mark on numerous Bowie albums and traveled thousands of miles on tours spanning more than four decades, including Bowie’s first and last performances in the U.S. 

Holt and Garson first crossed paths in 2004 when Holt was a graduate student at CalArts, but it turned out Mike had actually heard his playing in a competition he adjudicated several years prior. Garson even helped produce Danny’s first album Fast Jump, also released through innova.  Garson and Holt shared a musical kinship, and that relationship has led them to this album, The Piano Music of Mike Garson. 

Mike Garson and Danny Holt also share in common a voracious appetite for new music and  monster piano technique. Garson developed a compositional process that favored first take improvisational works composed in real-time with the help of a Disklavier that facilitated that monster technique. Holt’s playing and Garson’s music both have a wonderful sense of immediacy, of aliveness, of being on the edge. All of this comes together to form a perfect pairing, and the first time anyone has recorded an album of Mike Garson’s solo piano works. 

Danny Holt has been called “the classical music equivalent of an extreme sports athlete” (The Record) and Gramophone called his Fast Jump album (Innova Recordings, 2009) “a compelling showcase for Holt's innate virtuosity and gregarious temperament.” Known as a champion of adventurous new music, Holt has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Blue Man Group, Bang on a Can All-Stars, California EAR Unit, and the Calder Quartet, among others.

Mike Garson is a composer, performer, producer, and educator widely respected for his impressive skills as a pianist. Born in Brooklyn in 1945 to a musical family, Garson began playing at age 7 and started composing at age 12. Since that time, he has never looked back. In his youth, he studied piano with Leonard Eisner of Juilliard and later earned degrees in music and education from Brooklyn College. He also studied with Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Hal Overton, Robert Starer and Lennie Tristano; and he has played with jazz luminaries such as Stanley Clarke, Elvin Jones, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz, and Freddie Hubbard.



"Danny Holt is indeed an outstanding performer, as he breathes a hectic life into these pieces while maintaining a technical precision so impeccable that it must be exhausting. This is a very interesting exploration of a sound universe that is both accessible and demanding. A must-hear for any versatile music lover of 20th-century music and its sources." [FULL ARTICLE]


"Needless to say, Garson’s skills creating this kind of intensity out of thin air are undiminished, and Holt deserves equal credit for having both the good taste and chops to deliver Garsons’s icepick lefthand and intricately harmonized two-handed passages with equal flair and precision."[FULL ARTICLE]


"Garson draws on a wide range of influences, both classical and beyond, and Holt turns them into a tour-de-force" 


"Not only do the pianists Danny Holt and Mike Garson comprise a mutual-admiration society that goes way back, but they also share production credits on this album, a sure sign that Garson has given Holt’s interpretations the seal of approval." [FULL ARTICLE]


"Holt’s virtuosity is dizzying throughout.... A thought-provoking, entertaining release." [FULL ARTICLE]

Featured on Apple Music’s “New in Classical” Playlist (April 2022)

“Classical music is constantly evolving: The oldest compositions are subject to fresh interpretation, while the space for new compositions remains as dynamic as ever. In that spirit, here’s a playlist of all the best new classical music—from contemporary recordings of older works to new works pushing the conversation forward.”

“Did you know that Bowie's Piano Man—that would be Mike Garson—is also one of the hottest composers on the planet? His volcanic imagination embraces all musical styles, only to be matched by his extraordinary keyboard technique. Then along comes Danny Holt, who absolutely hits it out of the park with his exuberant recording of this stunning music. Together, they've created a sparkling new vision for the future of the piano. Put on your seat belts - it's an amazing ride...!”

— John Schneider, KPFK radio (Los Angeles)

"Along with his brilliant technique, Danny Holt is able to imbue each composition with a distinct character. He gets exactly the right rhythmic feeling for jazz and pop oriented works, yet brings a wide dynamic range and sophisticated voicing to more complex selections." [FULL ARTICLE]