Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist, and educator, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field. He has performed on thousands of records, co-produced and played on several instructional videos for Warner Bros. Publications, and produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre, including Orquesta Batachanga, Grupo Bata-Ketu, Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge, and Grupo Ilu-Aña.
Michael's recording and performing credits include such diverse artists as David Byrne, Cachao, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Dori Caymmi, Changuito, Richard Egues, Frank Emilio Flynn, Ella Fitzgerald, David Garibaldi, Gilberto Gil, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Holman, Toninho Horta, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. John, Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge, Machete Ensemble, Bobby McFerrin, Andy Narell, Ray Obiedo, Chico O'Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Lazaro Ros, David Rudder, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick, Omar Sosa, Talking Drums, Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner, and Charlie Watts. In addition, he has recorded soundtracks to such major motion pictures as Soapdish, Henry and June, True Stories, Sworn To The Drum, Walker, Eddie Macon's Run, and Dragon-The Life of Bruce Lee; and wrote several arrangements for the Tony award-winning Broadway show BLAST!, which was released on video by PBS in 2002.
His formal education includes a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Latin American Studies from the University of California, and three and a half years of graduate work in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. His practical education consists of a seven year apprenticeship with Francisco Aguabella (a relationship which continues today), and extensive study throughout Latin America. He has studied annually in Cuba since 1984 with musicians such as Jose Luis Quintana ("Changuito"), Esteban Vega Bacallao ("Cha-Cha"), Daniel Diaz and Juan "Claro" Blanco of Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, Regino Jimenez, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas. In addition, in 1986 he spent two months training at G.R.E.S. Portela, the famous Escola de Samba in Rio de Janeiro.
Michael is a frequent visiting artist at universities worldwide. In addition to the position he held in the Jazz Department at the University of California, Berkeley, he has taught at numerous colleges throughout North America and Europe, and continues to be a presenter at national and statewide conventions of P.A.S. (The Percussive Arts Society) and the I.A.J.E. (International Association of Jazz Educators).