OBITUARY

Michael David Migliore

October 16, 1954May 13, 2019
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Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting my dad knew right off the bat that he was a kindhearted, sweet and humble man, with an undeniable sense of humor. From a young age growing up in Buffalo, NY, these traits were recognized by his educators and childhood friends as he began to emerge into the local music scene. He began playing the alto sax at age 10 and was instantly fascinated. At home, his parents and sister witnessed first hand his dedication to the saxophone through his countless and meticulous hours of practicing, as well as his deep growing appreciation for jazz greats such as Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Miles Davis, and others alike. By age 14 he was gigging professionally. As his talents grew, my father started playing with the Buffalo State Jazz Ensemble and toured Sweden at age 17. Upon graduating from Kenmore East HS and attending a semester of college, he was picked up by the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and went on the road. This was the moment that really kickstarted my father’s career — he toured all over the world with various greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Woody Herman, Doc Severinson, Bob Belden, and many more throughout the years; played classically with the American Symphony Orchestra, New York Pops, New Jersey Symphony, played many concerts at Carnegie Hall, and played with popular greats such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minnelli, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, and many more. He played on hundreds of cds, worked on various Broadway shows, and even taught at NYU for ten years. Aside from my fathers great accomplishments, he always held his family near and dear to his heart. My dad was more than present my entire childhood despite his busy and ever-changing work schedule. The amount of silly games he would make up for my brother and I was endless, and we were never short on hugs. He’d take off work to come hear Mikey and I’s first band concerts, watch our baseball games, and help us with homework. He spent as much time as he could helping to craft our own musical abilities, whether through competition preparation, running scales, playing duets together, or introducing us to experimental music by jamming in the basement with all of the lights off. He never ceased to fuel our creative and artistic natures with his endless wealth of knowledge, and especially never ceased to love our family with every bone in his body. He spent so much time with my mother planning family vacations, summer bbq’s, and special nights where he’d make a huge pot of home made sauce and meatballs with spaghetti. To say he loved my brother, my mom and I is honestly an understatement. I wish there were stronger words for me to use. There is so much more I can say about my father, and perhaps at another time I will be able to write something lengthier and more detailed. With all of the craziness this week, we were at least able to come up with the idea of starting a scholarship fund in his honor. My dad was always passionate about instilling the importance of the arts and music through teaching and education. He had many successful private students over the years, and was always so proud of my brother and I for pursuing music in our higher education. With this scholarship fund we hope to provide some financial relief to a young jazz musician finishing college, whom we will announce at a later date. My father always poured his love for music into his work, but it especially shined through his young pupils. I think that speaks volumes to his character — and anyone who knew my dad, whether personally, in passing, through playing, or from afar would say the same.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, May 20, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, May 20, 2019

Memories

Michael David Migliore

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Glenn Wilson

May 20, 2019

Thanks for those great photos. It was really nice to see Mike with his kids over the years. I can't remember where Mike and I first met, but we both lived in Bretton Hall back in 70's and 80's. We would spend hours a week in Mike's pad, playing backgammon and listening to jazz or watching The Twilight Zone on WPIX. I had the great fortune to perform many times with Mike over the years in various ensembles, including Bob Belden's and Doc most recently, but there were hundreds more with many other groups over the years. Playing bari while Mike was on lead alto was a gift for me. As a bari player, I knew all I had to do was open my ears and follow Mike and great music would be made. I'll always remember the 'hangs' as much as the music. Mike was always very present wherever he was, musically or otherwise, which made him such a great jazz player. It's always special among musicians to have a name for each other than no one else used. He was always Migsley to me and I was Glennsly to him. He'll be greatly missed.

Scott Lavender

May 20, 2019

It was my privilege to know and work with Mike. For many years he was the go-to lead alto for us in the orchestra with Johnny Mathis. Mike was an impeccably-talented and and skilled musician but also, and maybe more importantly, a kind hearted and good man. We'll miss him in our future trips to the NY area for his musical contributions but mostly we'll miss seeing his smiling face in the sax section. All our love from the Mathis crew and Mr. Mathis himself to all of you who loved Mike.

John and Lisa Cipolla

May 19, 2019

Deborah, Lana and Mikey, we send you endless love and peace in this impossibly difficult time in your lives. Mike is in our hearts and the world is a much better place because he chose to spend time with us all. Peace

Don Batchelder

May 19, 2019

I played Blood Brothers on Broadway with Mike in the 1990’s. It was a small group of instruments, with a few flugelhorn solos for me, and a lot of prominent soprano sax numbers for Mike, whom I had never met before I started playing the show. There I was, night after night, enveloped in the most gorgeous sax sound I could imagine. And the phrasing was always perfect. When Mike played, it was simple—like he was just telling the truth with his sax.

Then there were the chess games. I don’t know who had more fun, me teaching Mike at first, or Mike totally getting into it and finally beating me.

Goodbye, Migs. What a sweet guy, what a consummate musician. You left us too soon.
Don Batchelder

ROGER HOMEFIELD

May 19, 2019

I wish I could thank Migs, or rather, I pray that Migs can hear me say, Thank You for being so great to me, being my friend and showing me the ropes on Maynard's band. Migs, you were a giver to anyone in need. I'm sorry you left us far too early. But your son's writings about your fathership makes it clear you fulfilled all parts of your life. So, Congratulations on having a great life, a fulfilled life, and a life that has left so many of us that want to thank you .
Thanks Migs,
Your appreciative friend always,
Roger Homefield

Kathy LoGuidice

May 19, 2019

Dear Deb, Lana, and Mike,
Please accept my deepest condolences at the loss of your husband and dad. I hope that in some small way you can find some comfort with all these memories people are sharing. Many friends are thinking of you and keeping you in their thoughts and prayers.
He's never really gone since you've placed him in your hearts.

(ps - I just lost my Roxie girl on Friday 5/17)

I am sending you all the strength and love to support each other during this difficult time.

Fred Marshall

May 18, 2019

“Migs”. While still in high school he joined the Buffalo State Big Band and became one of our stars. Such a talented musician he was. And a good man as well. The music world will miss him.

Seth Brody

May 18, 2019

I met Mike in the 1970s, and over the next couple of years we became very close. We considered ourselves brothers. Over all these years we have shared our lives with each other, explored and formed our points of view together, on a deep and constant basis. I have never had nor ever will have a more trusted friend. I will miss him until my last day. Debbie, Lana, Linda, and Mikey, I share your grief.

Ed Maina

May 18, 2019

So incredibly heartbroken to hear about the passing of one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, playing with, and calling a close friend. Our mutual friend, Ken Crane notified me of Migs’ passing... I still can’t believe it. He basically took me under his wing upon joining Maynard’s band, he showed me the ropes, and while on the road, we always hung out practicing, listening to music, etc., and even climbing a mountain on a day off in Boise Idaho. His ridiculous talent, excitement for life, smile and sense of humor drew anyone that met him, in as a friend. To know Migs, was to love him. He was without a doubt a major influence in my growth as a player and musician. Loved the man........ Having experienced the pain of losing my Dad (who as an accomplished musician, and my closest friend as well), my heart, thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s kids, Mikey and Lana, and of course his loving and devoted wife Deborah. Rest In His Peace, Mike.

Larisa Bushkin

May 17, 2019

A wonderful teacher and kind person; I will always be thankful for all that he taught me.

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