|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (January 2013)|
Bisio's fusion jazz compositions draw heavily on avant garde music while sometimes including elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Bisio can walk a bass line with a deep swing rooted in a jazz aesthetic. Bisio avoids categorizations of music that fuse tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.
Bisio focuses on collective improvisation, and pays particular attention to how each band member interacts with the group as a whole. Many musicians who have worked with him later went on to impressive careers. As a performer, Bisio is a pioneer in double bass technique, widely recognized as one of the instrument's most proficient players.
As a leader
- Michael Bisio Quintet: Covert Choreography (Cadence), Undulations (Omnitone)
- Michael Bisio Quartet: In Seattle (Silkheart), Connections (CIMP), CIMP 360: Circle This, AM (CIMP)
- Michael Bisio Sextet: Ours (CT Records)
- Michael Bisio Trio: Composance (Cadence)
- Various duo and solo efforts: MBEK (Meniscus), Primal Intentions (Cadence), Collar City Createology
As a composer
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2013)|
Bisio has composed over one hundred works of various forms and lengths for the ensembles under his leadership and many of his associates. These pieces have been performed in clubs, concert venues, and festivals. They have been broadcast over assorted media. Most have been recorded, some were composed for films and theater, and one found its way to animation.
In his book Jackson Street After Hours, Paul De Barros described Bisio as one of the preeminent heirs to Seattle's earthy yet innovative tradition and marked his compositional style as "a spare, bluesy sound, the sweet- and-sour timbres favored by Charles Mingus."
He composed the music for Karl Krogstadt's feature film, Strings. Beat Angel, a film by Randy Allred starring Vincent Balestri, features Bisio's compositions and improvisations. In his film Time & Object, animation artist Bernard Roddy uses "Something Different" from Zebulon as the score. He composed music for Music for American Voices: Bukowski, Micheline and the First Amendment, a play written and performed by Vincent Balestri.
With Joe McPhee
- Common Threads (Deep Listening, 1996)
- Zebulon (CIMP, 1998 )
- In the Spirit (CIMP, 1999)
- No Greater Love (CIMP, 1999 )
- Port of Saints (CjR, 2000 )
- Remembrance (CjR, 2001 )
Bisio appears on over 60 CDs, leading on 11 CDs and co-leading on another 10. His recorded output has consistently met with critical praise. Michael's first international release, In Seattle, (Silkheart), was chosen as one of the "Best Jazz Records of 1980s" in the Village Voice. His most recent recording is a duet with Matthew Shipp called Floating Ice.