Book your holiday event soon – with only 5 Saturday nights between November 23 and the end of December, prime dates are limited!

In December of 2016, Mike Asetta’s bands – duos to quintets – performed at venues including Saint Clements Castle, private homes, restaurants (Todd English’s Tuscany as well as Farm Table in Bernardston, MA). Featuring jazz standards creatively updated and your favorite popular songs by the Beatles, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and many more; music adds enjoyment to your party or celebration. With extensive experience performing at many of the world’s greatest presentation halls as a member of touring groups including the Unites States Air Force Jazz Ambassadors, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and the Yale Symphony Orchestra, Mike’s professionalism and energy is assured for your event and guests.

Saint Clements Holiday Event

Old Lyme Inn – Kenny and the “Bad Pennies” Jazz Trio
THE TRIOExpanding jazz settings in southeastern Connecticut is a lifelong passion of Ken Kitchens, owner of the Old Lyme Inn and Side Door Jazz Club. Guests of the inn and diners at the restaurant enjoyed live jazz Sundays for many years. The Side Door continues with regular weekend events.

Sunday jazz was anchored by the Donovan/Asetta piano and bass duo with owner Ken Kitchens on drums joined by “Fox” Mills on the guitar. Steve and Mike are an enduring musical partnership, with multiple weekly performances. This consistency supports their shaping of numerous arrangements of both jazz standards and more modern songs into entertaining and enjoyable music. Since performing together every Thursday and Sunday for nearly 2 years, the “Bad Pennies” are a rhythmically cohesive jazz group. Come enjoy!

Recent review to the Quest Service comment collection of the Inn:
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Comment to: “Old Lyme Inn Guest Service”

We were there today – we’re the couple celebrating our anniversary, sitting to the side of the bass player. We are writing to just say what a peak experience it was to be sitting on the patio and listening to such sweet jazz. Thanks for entertaining several of my requests – Red Garland, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner. The food was delicious, the music phenomenal the vibe just perfect.

Thanks also for coming over to us for a conversation. Your enthusiasm and energy are infectious in the best ways. This was our first time at the Inn, and we will be back for sure next time for the Side Door.

Thanks again for a great experience. It gives me hope. Like Bob Marley said, “when the music hits you, no one gets hurt.” Peace to you and the Old Lyme Inn.
Please extend my thank you to the piano and bass player as well. These are prominent musicians, too.

The renewed Old Lyme Inn is a centerpiece to the Lyme arts community. The restaurant and jazz club counts as neighbors two significant organizations: Florence Griswold Museum and Lyme Arts Association. Combine visits to these great spaces and enjoy the jazz!

Bad Pennies Jazz Trio -Kitchens, Asetta, Donovan

Cadwallader, Asetta, Dixson with Tiffany Jackson

“A Balm in Gilead” new recording by soprano Tiffany Jackson, pianist Rex Cadwallader, bassist Michael Asetta, and Drummer Arti Dixson is an inventive pairing of “free jazz” overlaying traditional spiritual music. Classically trained singer Jackson is challenged with very “outside the box” performing for an operatic performer. The Cadwallader/Asetta/Dixson jazz trio performed sacred music for nearly 15 years as the initiators of a monthly jazz vespers service at Saint Pauls and Saint James Church in New Haven. This creative and highly artistic project was relished by the long-time jazz associates, Rex, Mike, and Arti.

The CD was released in November 2015 at the Neighborhood Music School. The performers are booking events now, please contact Mike at 860-685-1621. Upcoming events include a show in Boston at the end of this month.

introducing_donn_trennerPianist Donn Trenner has performed worldwide with jazz giants including Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Oscar Pettiford, and Charlie Mingus and served as the jazz pianist in numerous memorable big bands including the Tommy Dorsey and Les Brown Orchestras.   He gained personal fame as a band leader himself as the music director for the Steve Allen Show and as the pianist/arranger for singers including Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, and Ann-Margaret. Today Mr. Trenner has returned to his Connecticut roots and continues as an active pianist in numerous jazz groups while leading the legendary Hartford Jazz Orchestra performing Chic Cicchetti’s arrangements weekly on Monday evenings.

For five years Mike Asetta performed daily as house bassist at the Fox Woods Resort and Casino. During this period Mike first observed Donn Trenner in a jazz duo with guitarist Dave Dana at Fox Woods. Taken with Donn’s great swinging feel and beautiful accompanying to the singing guitarist, Mike was eager to meet Mr. Trenner. A chance encounter at the top of an escalator at Fox Woods blossomed into nearly 20 year collaboration! Performing frequently together now, Donn and Mike have recently played at numerous events ranging from the cocktail hours for hundreds of guests to shows for libraries and retirement communities. Contact Mike Asetta to arrange a performance for your organization or event.
Mike with DonnTrenner


Monday Night Jazz residency at New Haven’s Owl Shop, cigar bar and cocktail lounge with The Saint James Trio. Performing a variety of well-known standards made popular by artists like Ray Charles, Etta James, Louis Prima, and more with creative and updated jazzy reinterpretation. Stalwart members of the New Haven jazz scene, Singer Kevin Saint James will be joined by Steve Donovan on piano and Mike Asetta on upright bass.

mike danceband webMusic adds character, atmosphere and excitement to every event, when performed live.

Professional and experienced musicians react instinctively to the moment, gently filling in a quiet space or responding joyfully with perfect timing to the ceremonial celebration. Emotions are enhanced and memories recalled with music, and live music does this best.

Composer and pianist Stuart Isacoff explains: “Because of recordings we have come to adopt a perverse view of musical performance … absent the physical presence of the artist … we lose sight of many essentials: the theatricality of a performance, the interrelationship of artist and listener, the full experience of spontaneous, unbridled creativity.”

Enhance your party or celebration, hire passionate, live, professional, and experienced musicians, contact Mike Asetta 860-685-1621!

Having performed for 4 of the 5 most recent Unites States Presidents and numerous dignitaries including the United States ambassadors to England, Turkey, Spain, Greece, and Germany, the King and Queen of Norway, and President and First Lady of Portugal, Michael Asetta is a highly experienced band leader. Mike provides live music for events, parties, and weddings throughout the New England and New York region, from cocktail hour duos, trios, or quartets to rock and roll/blues bands playing your favorite dance music. Make your event memorable, hire Mike to entertain your guests with the energy and excitement of live music!

villagevanguardFrom the historic 1920’s through the decades of the 2010’s keeping jazz alive through constantly changing musical tastes of public audiences demanded dedicated and skillful club owners. These owners juggle the financial responsibilities with creative visions exercised through jazz performers. Some of the most famous former clubs (all in New York City) are the Cotton Club (famous as the Duke Ellington performance home), Café Society, Onyx, Royal Roost, Five Spot, and the Half Note.  Currently the Village Vanguard and Birdland continue to thrive as destination jazz clubs in New York City.

Connecticut’s longest lasting jazz club, Al Casasanta’s 880 in Hartford, was a favorite of national and regional jazz performers. The 880’s success can be attributed to Al Casasanta’s dedication to encouraging and developing the artists. By providing bands with defined, regular performance dates, the musicians were allowed to grow artistically in a professional, creative setting; musicians invented their sound and improved their stage showmanship. The club proved to be a band showcase, leading to additional opportunities for musicians to be hired for private events and other clubs.

The 880 was a place of community for all musicians to meet, collaborate, form alliances, and grow through friendly competition – spurring each other to increase their learning and practice harder, culminating in higher levels of performance. Bassist Mike Asetta gratefully values the opportunities offered by Casasanta’s 880 where he appeared weekly for over 12 years, including two of these years with a band featuring pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joel Frahm.

Today a new venture, the Side Door Jazz Club at the Old Lyme Inn has provided opportunities for the finest regional and national jazz musicians to perform in Connecticut, including groups led by Mike Asetta. Dave McCoart’s Sage American Grill offered a New Haven jazz venue where Mike performed for the recent 14 years into 2015. New Haven’s “9th Note” is the leading local jazz community currently, sponsoring multiple nights of jazz each week. Two area doctors and jazz guitarists actively support jazz with weekly events: Jazz “Doctor” Gary Grippo organizes weekly Sunday jazz brunches at Kelly’s in New Haven and Dr. Joe Cardinale Sunday evening performances at Ayuthai in Guilford. Take advantage of these opportunities to enjoy jazz today!

Sunken Garden Poetry FestivalHonored to perform again July 22 at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hill-Stead Museum, in Farmington, Mike Asetta was invited by founding poet, the late Hugh Ogden, to lead the music at the inaugurating event for the festival June 1992.  In this performance, Mike and Hugh devised their program together to relate the music and poetry thematically and perform simultaneously, intensifying the improvisational feel of poetry with jazz.  Specifically Ogden had authored the poem “Round Midnight” and he sought Asetta to perform Thelonious Monk’s best-known jazz composition “Round Midnight”.  Ahead of Hugh’s reading at that first Poetry Festival, Mike Asetta’s duo performed.

On Wednesday the 22nd of July, the Hill-Stead Museum gates open at 4:30 pm; a prelude conversation with headlining poet Vijay Seshadri at 5 p.m., opening poet Ravi Shankar at 6 pm; Mike Asetta and Tony Lombardozi perform at 6:30 pm; and Vijay Seshadri’s returns at 7:15 pm.

Asetta/Lombardozzi have collaborated in dozens of performances at venues including the Greenwich Country Club, Dressing Room in Westport, and Scoozi’s in New Haven.  Favorite events included accompanying the awesome jazz singer Lissy Newman, daughter of the late actor Paul.

The ambiance of the Hill-Stead and its remarkable grounds enhance events.  The property was designated a National Historic Landmark as a nationally significant example of Colonial Revival architecture. A centerpiece of the property and site of the Poetry Festival is the restored “Sunken Garden” originally designed by Beatrix Farrand.

Hillstead Museum and Garden