Musical traditions from North and West African, Arab, American, Southeast Asian and Cuban cultures have informed Colette Michaan’s music throughout her life. Born and raised in New York City, a first generation American of Egyptian/Syrian heritage, Colette plays music that expresses a journey, an integration and universal expression of feeling. Her intention is to create beauty, to move people to feel, to enjoy, to reflect, to come together and celebrate life.
In 2004, Colette released her debut album FIRST CAUSE. Appreciated for it’s eclecticism, this recording includes original compositions, Cuban Son, Cha cha cha, Yoruban folklore, Latin Jazz and World Music. The musicians on the recording include: Colette Michaan, Oriente Lopez, Pedro Martinez, Richard Bona, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez Nomi Bloch,and Chacho Schartz, among others.
Her second album, QUERENCIA, a recording of World Music with a Cuban core, was released in 2010. The recording features Colette Michaan, Jorge Bringas, Hassan Hakmoun, Pedro Martinez, Aaron Halva, Edgar Pantoja Aleman, Yunior Terry and Jainardo Batista.
In 2012, Colette toured Morocco with her band Querencia, performing at the Lotus Club in Marrakech, and culminating at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, where her band received great acclaim.
In September 2014, Colette released her third CD: INCARNATE. This music is her response to the passions and pains of life, The language is Latin Jazz. The rhythms are Afro-Cuban. The soul is universal.
In June 2017, Colette returned to the studio to record her latest album. HEAVEN AND EARTH ~ CIELO Y TIERRO was released in November. The personnel includes: Colette, Melvis Santa, Reut Regev, Rey David Alejandre, Cesar Orozco, Jorge Bringas, Roman Diaz, Luisito Quintero, and Yusnier Sanchez Bustamante.
Over the years, Michaan has performed with Youssou N’Dour in Senegal, Fathy Salama in Egypt, Toi Pinto in Cape Verde, Julio Cambara Palacio and the Cuban Express in Curacao, as well as Harry Whitaker, John Stubblefield, and Hubert Laws, in NY.
Colette has recorded on albums by Harry Whitaker, Richard Bona, and Kaissa. She has also performed with Kenny Barron at the Jazz Yatra Festival in India (1986), Richard Bona at the St. Louis Festival in Senegal (1995), and Gnaoua Maâlem Abdelkebir Merchant at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival in Morocco (2012).
From 1999 to 2002, Michaan was an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz and Contemporary Music Dept. at the New School in New York City.
From 2005 to 2007, Colette played flute in NYC’s “Charanga Soleil”. From 2007 to 2015, she performed weekly with “Nu’ Guajiro/Nu’ Delux”, co-led by Aaron Halva and Jainardo Batista, at NYC’s clubs Oliva, Boca Chica and Cienfuegos.
In 2008, Colette toured Cape Verde with Cape Verdean singer Toi Pinto and his band.
In 2012, with “Flor de Toloache”, co-led by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, Colette performed at various venues, including El Museo del Barrio, Rockwood, Barbes, and appearances on NBC and Telemundo.
In recent years, Colette continues to perform weekly in NYC venues such as SOB’s, Havana Central, Son Cubano, BAM Cafe, NJPAC, Shapeshifter Lab, Drom, Barbes, 33 Lafayette, and more.
Onstage, Michaan communicates her love of music. “Playing music is vital to me” she affirms, “I am grateful for the desire to play, the ability to play, and for each opportunity to play.”
Re: Heaven and Earth ~ Cielo y Tierra — "Colette Michaan performs with consummate artistry, blending superior control and tonal lucidity with a cohesive sense of line and motion. This music could hardly be better served. Ms Michaan’s dynamic range enables the music to soar, unfettered into a rarefied realm. The flutist creates a unique melodic magic all her own.” -Raul de Gama/Latin Jazz Network
"Heaven and Earth es el cuarto disco de la flautista y compositora Colette Michaan. Luego de sus maravillosos First Cause (2004), Querencia (2010) e Incarnate (2014). De origen egipcio, Michaan nació en New York y ha desarrollado un discurso musical ecléctico y cautivador con un ensamble conformado con algunos de los mejores músicos de la actualidad en la escena del latin-jazz y la salsa." -DJ El Chino/Solar Latin Club
Re: Incarnate Encarna — “Colette Michaan’s sound is bold and exemplary and I can hardly wait to hear what she will do next with her ardent, dazzling virtuosity and heartfelt emotion.” -Raul De Gama/Latin Jazz Network
“Flutist/composer Colette Michaan’s third release brings a refreshing take to the music industry.” -The Birmingham Times
“Le son montuno de Cuba et le latin jazz de cette formation dirigée par la talentueuse Colette Michaan ont trouvé refuge en Afrique via les porte-étendards des différents segments du patrimoine musical Gnaoui pour enchanter un public éclectique.” -L’opinion
“Oh yeah. This gorgeous session is an exquisite blend of hard driving charanga, montuno, Latin jazz and Arabian influenced dance music. Colette Michaan, a first generation American of Egyptian descent, who was born and raised in New York City, has provided us with an unexpected gem for the New Year. Think Orchestra Rytmo Africa-Cubana (Alfredo de la Fe, Nestor Torres) meets Africando meets Rabih Abou-Khalil.” -EL Watusi
“La pasión por la música de Colette esta impregnada en esta producción la cual nos remonta a la época de la Charanga y nos hace recordar a grandes como Pacheco, Alfredo de la Fe, y Néstor Torres.” -Ritmomania Entertainment
“The Colette Michaan Quintet graced the Madison Jazz Series with a swirling, revelatory performance culled from the realms of folklore, festival, street, and deep wells of universal spirituality. The generosity of spirit and joyful camaraderie within this band was lavishly contagious. Michaan repeatedly alluded to her mission to mine wisdom and peace from music, and that was manifested in prayerful meditations as well as volcanic torso-shakers. On many of the son numbers Michaan’s flute dabbed with the beneficent authority of a pointillist painter. A dab here, a dab there, coalesced into insistent statements that rode above the rhythm. Her flute served to lasso runaway congas and wayward piano lines, and corral them. There was mandate in her voicing.Whether in her whistling registers, breathy modes, or pugnacious pokes, a plain-spokenness summoned our attention.” -Joe Major/Albany Jazz April 2016
“Colette Michaan is one of a growing number of artists who are combining jazz with a variety of world genres to produce music of great freshness and broad appeal. It takes a skillful hand to pull it off, and Michaan has done just that, producing a recording of both panache and sensitivity. Michaan has taken the Cuban sensibilities and techniques possessed by these musicians and blended them with her unique voice on the flute to produce jazz with a tinge of both Latin rhythm and Eastern spices and perfumes. Michaan excels, contributing precise leads and solo work that shows off her sense of adventure with an appealing clarity of execution. Down Beat Magazine has a poll that includes the category Talent Deserving Wider Recognition. If anyone deserves wider recognition it is Colette Michaan.” Peter Westbrook/the Flute Journal