He became an avid fan of Steely Dan and copped Larry Carlton Solos by ear, as well as the rich harmonies and quirky melodic twists of Fagen and Becker.
The obvious Jazz influence that permeates much of that music lead him to look back and dig deeper into the history and mystery of jazz and some of its major protagonists including Wes, Ed Bickert, Joe Pass and Jim Hall, as well as the great exponents of piano, Sax and Trumpet such as Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard.
Influenced in many directions from Rock (His Brother, Alan) Song (His Sister, Bet) and a broad spectrum of Jazz (His Brother, Paul) Mike became noted for his ability to be creative in a number of musical settings.
Mike has performed and recorded with Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Steve Rodby, Palle Danielson, Arild Anderson, Peter Erskine, Adam Nussbaum, John Marshall, Bob Moses, Bill Frisell, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Mike Gibbs, Mark Anthony Turnage, Tal farlow, Palle Mikkelborg, Mica paris and Norma Winstone.
He toured Europe and the States and recorded with the George Russell 'Living Time' Orchestra with whom he was a member for 18 years.
In May 2008, Mike released his debut album 'Madhouse and the Whole Thing There' to wide critical acclaim. It features strings, French horn, piano, brass section and vocals etc. Also, in 2008, Mike was commissioned to write some music for Manchester Jazz Festival. He wrote a Suite called 'Ropes' which featured a 22 piece Orchestra and Jazz quintet, with the great Adam Nussbaum on drums. The Suite was performed at the RNCM in Manchester to a packed theatre and received a standing ovation. Mike hopes to record an album of 'Ropes' in the near future.
He's also been writing for a new group he co-leads with a brilliant British Piano Player, the great, Gwilym Simcock, called 'The Impossible Gentlemen' which also features the fantastic pairing of Adam Nussbaum (Again!!) and Steve Swallow. They tour extensively in Europe and the UK and have just recorded their 2nd album (the first, which received wide critical acclaim entitled 'The Impossible Gentlemen' came out in 010) which will be released in the spring/Summer of 013 and will be produced by Pat Metheny's Bass Player, the fantastic, Steve Rodby who also tours with the 'Gents' and features on a couple of tunes on the new album (one with Swallow !! ).
Mike runs various Guitar/Improvisation Schools in Andalucia, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Wales and the Lake District for Beg/int and Int/Adv. He also runs The Music Place Summer School in Altrincham with his friends Les Chisnall and Iain Dixon.