Michael "Spike" Wilner, was born and raised in New York City where he was inspired to
play ragtime piano at a young age after seeing a docudrama on the life of Scott Joplin.
This led to a life-long passion for piano playing, ragtime and jazz music. Wilner made his
performance debut at the age of 14 by playing Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" at the St. Louis
Ragtime Festival. Wilner continued his music studies through high-school and
participated in its award winning jazz band.
Wilner was a member of the legendary first class of the New School For Social Research's
Jazz and Contemporary Music Program, led by the late Arnie Lawrence. In this original
class, Wilner met and befriended many of today's prominent members of the current
music scene, including Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Jesse Davis, Chris
Potter, Jorge Rossi, Sam Yahel, Joe Strasser, Roy Hargrove, John Popper (of Blues Traveler),
Eric Schenkman (of Spin Doctors), David Grausman and others.
In his career, Wilner has led many bands in New York City at many famous jazz clubs, and
has toured with The Artie Shaw Big Band, The Glen Miller Orchestra and Maynard
Wilner has several recordings as a leader, including Portraits (2000), A Blues of Many
Colors (2002), Three To Go (2008, Posi-Tone), Live At Smalls (2011), La Tendresse (2012,
Posi-Tone). Wilner's latest release, titled Koan (2016, Posi-Tone), is a trio record with Tyler
Mitchell on bass and Anthony Pinciotti on drums. This is Wilnerís working band that plays
In 2006, Wilner published a folio of transcriptions of the work of an idol of his, Willie "The
Lion" Smith, entitled The Lion Of The Piano. In 2007, Wilner completed his Masters
Degree in Piano Performance at the State University of New York in Purchase, New York.
One of Wilnerís current endeavors started in 1994, when he began working a regular gig
at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. This became his permanent musical home and
eventually led to his current position as owner and manager of the club, where he can
also be found playing regularly. In 2015, Wilner opened a second club, Mezzrow, down
the street from Smalls.