Michael O’Neill, a San Diego native, began studying clarinet at an early age. One of his first influences was his neighbor, the great jazz and studio drummer, saxophonist, and clarinetist, John Guerin who helped Michael with his first band in Junior High School. After the usual involvement with school bands and orchestras, Michael did a stint in the Air Force Band. He studied composition and arranging as well as jazz performance while playing in clubs to pay for living expenses.
Michael began playing music professionally for financial and recreational reasons in his off hours. After two years of graduate school, he decided to dedicate himself to a full time career in music (as with Duke Ellington, music was Michael’s jealous mistress). Michael became very involved with composition and formed groups to perform his original material. This started a trend that is ongoing today with his current quintet. Michael now leads several jazz groups in the Bay Area.