Michael Tooles
Drums & Percussion

Michael Tooles

During his high school years, Michael Tooles had the privilege of performing in the All West Tennessee honor bands as well as with the Memphis Youth Symphony. After high school, Michael went on to attend the University of Memphis where he studied percussion under Dr. Frank Schaffer and drum set with Brian Fullen. While at the University of Memphis, Michael had the great chop building experience of marching with Mighty Sound of the South, the University of Memphis marching band.

After his time at the University of Memphis, Michael started playing and recording around Memphis. Some of his early projects were with Tom Spolen, Paul Taylor, Steve Selvidge, and Holly Jean Cosner. Around 1994, Michael started playing with Seven Four Slide. After recording their first full-length CD and performing with Jeff Buckley before his untimely death, Seven Four Slide moved to Chicago in 1998. They played together for another few years before disbanding in 2001. After they disbanded, Michael has had the pleasure of performing in some fun projects with great Chicago musicians Jellyeye Drum Theater, Tom Sharpe, Yves Francois et Rocambu Jazz, Spyder Monkey, The Chicago Clarinet Ensemble, and hip hop artist Mic One.

One of the things Michael enjoys most is bringing music from different cultures around the world to kids in Chicago and the surrounding areas. He considers himself very fortunate to get to do this through Urban Gateways, along with Ashley Munstermann and John Knecht, in a show titled The Birthplace of Rhythm. Urban Gateways places The Birthplace of Rhythm in schools throughout the Chicagoland area and brings drums, rhythms, and songs from places such as West Africa, Turkey, Northern Europe, Brazil, Cuba, Japan, Australia, Tahiti, and the United States.

Michael has also received the following awards and recognitions:

  • Illinois Arts Council & Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs 2009 Grant Recipient
  • International House of Blues Foundation Touring Artist
  • Urban Gateways Touring Artist
  • Faculty – Merit School of Music
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