"Iron" Mike Ornato
"Iron" Mike started his musical journey in the 4th grade as a trumpet player in the fine Port Chester NY school music program.
His father was a former jazz trumpeter, & Mike spent many hours practicing to his dad’s record collection, trying to emulate the great sounds of those early jazz pioneers.
Growing up in the late 60's & 70's, the airwaves were filled with the latest sounds of the day. And included all the musical genres.
As horn players are wont to do, Mike gravitated to the latest sounds from Motown, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, & especially Tower of Power. But there were also heavy doses of rock & roll, & the likes of Zep, Sabbath & musical forays of Frank Zappa to contemplate.
Then fusion came along. When Mike first heard the bass playing of Stanley Clarke & Jaco Pastorious, he was immediately captivated by their expressiveness & sonic cool. As most musical stories go, he bought a second hand bass, a small amp, & began teaching himself to play.
Endless hours of "groove practice", playing along with recordings of his favorite bands, helped develop the nuances & especially the FEEL for this special instrument.
There is almost a Zen like satisfaction when you’re really grooving. It is that therapeutic!
Fast forwarding to today, & Mike has a healthy appreciation for ALL those toiling in the brotherhood of da bottom end.
From the amazing old school upright guys of the 40’s and 50’s, through the well known big name electric players of today, (and some really talented local guys), he knows he’s really only scratched the surface & there’s a lot more to learn!
Mike currently plays bass for three horn bands: Rubber City, Pocket Full of Soul, & the Tower of Power tribute band, On the Serious Side.