Michael Fair


Over the last 20 years, flugelhorn and trumpet artist Michael Fair has placed himself prominently into the competitive smooth jazz market. Michael has carved a unique niche for himself musically here in the Middle Tennessee area for a couple of reasons. Performing and recording smooth jazz in a city primarily known for country and contemporary Christian music makes him a bit unique, and being notorious for playing the flugelhorn and trumpet make him a Nashville anomaly.

Michael’s partnership with the trumpet began early in his life. At the age of 12 he was given his first horn. It was no time at all until he began playing the songs that he heard his parents listening to by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Michael's early performances included solo features in school bands. He studied trumpet performance at Middle Tennessee State University and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelors of Music. Early post college gigs included the typical frat band circuit, club gigs and casuals. Michael moved to Southern California in 1985 and actually did not touch the trumpet or flugelhorn for two years while pursuing other interests. A move back to Nashville in 1987 seemed as natural as picking the horn back up and joining up with a new band, The Cliff Notes, at the time. Working with this group gave Michael exposure to the Nashville music community, opening up opportunities for both live and session work.

"It seemed to be an oddity to be a musician and to actually have grown up in Nashville. The first question anyone would ask me is ‘Where are you from’? When I would tell them I was actually from here the response was always the same. No one who plays music is actually from here! As a result of that reaction, I've always felt as though that helped to make me somewhat unique even though I know there are a handful of native Nashville musicians."
— Michael Fair

Michael has shared the stage on shows with such legends as Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Larry Carlton, Olivia Newton-John, Leon Russell, Gary Puckett, Gregg Allman, John Hiatt, Sam Moore, Carman, Claude McKnight, Victor Wooten, Kirk Whalum, and Jim Horn just to name a few. Michael Fair’s music has been heard throughout Nashville. He was featured on a cut with Kirk Whalum on the Kloud 9 release “Yearning 2 Love”, showcased in the Southeast as the solo horn in the Latin Jazz ballet, “Arriving in Indigo City” and has performed on various CDs and movie soundtracks.

Aspiring to cultivate his own signature style, Michael teamed up with writer Brandon Barnes who has been the recipient of numerous songwriting awards, namely multi-Grammy nominations, the Soul Train Award, BMI Pop Song Award, American Music Award, MTV Music Award, Image Award, Blockbuster Award, and an ASCAP Award. Michael met Brandon Barnes in 1995 while Brandon was in Nashville working with Claude McKnight from Take 6 and right after Brandon completed his work with Brian McKnight on his first CD titled “Brian McKnight”. Brandon was a fan of the flugelhorn and loved Michael's sound when he heard him playing at a Nashville club. The two "hit it off" and talked about doing a smooth jazz horn project for years. Finally schedules lined up and together the two have written and produced three smooth jazz projects, the debut CD, “Love Me Like That” in the summer of 2001, their sophomore offering “How Close Are We” released in the fall of 2003 and their new 2006 release,” Back for More”. All three projects accentuate Michael’s trademark warm sound and sensitive phrasing.

"It was easy and natural to do these tunes with Brandon. We really like one another and respect each other's talents and as a result the songs seemed to just flow and write themselves. I feel fortunate to work with someone as accomplished and successful as Brandon."
— Michael Fair

Brandon Barnes has co-written some of Brian McKnight's biggest hits including Anytime, The Way Love Goes, Goodbye My Love, One Last Cry, Never Felt This Way, Last Dance, 6 8 12, What's It Gonna Be, “Win” (From Men Of Honor) and Still just to name a few. Brandon has also collaborated with Boyz 2 Men, BeBe and Ce Ce Winans, Phil Collins, Steven Bishop, Earth, Wind and Fire, Alicia Keys, Brenda Russell, Siedah Garrett, Darius Rucker, Tyrese, Robby Nevill, Denise Rich, Justin Timberlake, and the late Art Porter.

Thanks to Michael’s devoted listeners and his new aficionados, his CDs have enjoyed much success locally as well as nationally and internationally. You can hear Michael perform locally at F.Scotts and Sambuca and other venues being the featured artist with groups from the Nashville area.

Many of the musicians Michael has worked with over the years say that they can recognize his sound anywhere. The combination of his sound and sensitive phrasing make him a natural to perform smooth jazz in a way that invites you to listen and be totally enveloped equally by the melody and the warm flugelhorn sound. Michael's distinctive smooth jazz sounds can be heard regularly at premiere jazz clubs in Nashville, performing everything from jazz standards and R & B favorites to original songs from his CDs.


Instruments:  Flugelhorn, Trumpet, Guitar, Piano




2003 How Close Are We? Featured artist, Michael Fair, trumpet and      flugelhorn. Co-written with Brandon Barnes.


2003 Mylls To Go. Featured artist, Kristine Mylls. trumpet and flugelhorn,

Michael Fair.


2002, On Kloud 9, Featured artists, Kloud 9, trumpet and flugelhorn, Michael Fair.


2002 Love Me Like That. Featured artist, Michael Fair, trumpet and flugelhorn. Co-written with Brandon Barnes


2001 Shades of Gray. Featured artist, Renée. Michael Fair, trumpet and flugelhorn,


2001 Focus, Featuring Lori D. Hall & Friends. Guest artist, Michael Fair, trumpet and flugelhorn.


2001  Reflections, Reflexiones. Featured artist, Gabriel Katona. trumpet and flugelhorn, Michael Fair.


1999 Groove Station. Featured artist, Bob Sabellico, trumpet and flugelhorn, Michael Fair.


1998, Music from and inspired by the Motion Picture, The Apostle. Various Artists, trumpet and flugelhorn, Michael Fair,


1 997 Mistakes. Featured artist, Robert Ellis Orrall, trumpet and flugelhorn. Michael Fair.


Selected Live Performances*:


March/October 2003 solo horn, “Arriving in Indigo City”, Carolina Ballet Theatre, Columbia, South Carolina.


June 2003- featured musical act, Michael Fair Quartet, Smooth Sizzle Sundays, Café 123.


2000- Present; band leader, Michael Fair Quartet, F. Scott’s.


January 2000- featured musical act, Titan’s Superbowl, Nashville Convention and Vistor’s Bureau, World’s Largest Private Superbowl Party, Adelphia Stadium.


July 2000- Christian Booksellers Convention with Carman, New Orleans, LA.


August/October 1999-Present Amway International Leadership Development Conference. Spokane, WA.


August 1999- featured musical act, Tennessee Jazz and Blues Society- Belle Meade Plantation, Concerts on the Lawn.


August 1998 -Music City Pow Wow, Shared the bill with Michael McDonald, Oliva Newton John, Christopher Cross, Larry Carlton, Sam Moore, John Hyatt, Michael Johnson, Beth Nielson-Chapman.


1998-Stacey Mitchart and Blues U Can Use.


1997-1999 Clarence Dobbins


1997-1999 Italian Street Fair


1994 The Rock Show, Opryland Theme Park


1993- “I Hear America Singing”, Opryland Theme Park


August 1992-1995, Franklin Jazz Festival


1993-Present; The Wooten Brothers


May 1988-1991 Summer Lights Festival


Media Features:


December 2003-Living Section feature, Stacy Smith Segovia,“Café 541 to host ‘Smooth’ Jazz Night. Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, p.D4.


November 2003- CD review, Chuck Mann- Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society, Jazz and Blues News. P. 6.


October 2003-Music review, Ron Wynn” Flugelhorn player grooves Gulch”

Nashville City Paper, p. 29.


July 2003-Music review, Carol Batey, “ Carol’s Music Notebook”-Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society, Jazz and Blues Newsletter, p, 12.


2003- Actor, Commercial, “ Are you hot or not?” WKRN Nashville ABC affiliate.


October/December 2002- Radio interview- WFSK- “Smooth Side up with Robert Luke”, 88.1 FM.


July 2002- Radio interview-WPLN- “Playing in the Band” series, 90.3FM.


June 2002- CD review, Pat McCoy-Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society, Jazz and Blues News, p, 11.


1997-Band Leader, Featured music spot for the Cliffnotes, Talk of the Town afternoon show with Harry Chapman. WTVF Nashville CBS affiliate.


1992-Live concert series- WMOT, “Jazz on the Side”,89.5 FM.


1989- Bit Part, Video “ Honky Tonk Life“ Charlie Daniel’s Band, aired on Country Music Television (CMT) and Video Hits One (VH-1).


1987- Co-host- “ The Moonlighters”, CATV


Education:     Middle Tennessee State University , BA, trumpet performance