First African Foundation


Benefit Jazz Concert: Deep Roots-Tall Trees

Friday August 8, 2014 7pm

Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center


aaaMichael Cruse is the son of Ponice & the late Eric M. Cruse. He is also the great nephew of legendary master musician Mr. Charles Quillings the original Dunbar High School band director in Lexington, KY. Michael picked up the trumpet at an early age and was given a cornet by the Salvation Army and played for them for many years. He won many competitions which included the New York Star Search competition in both piano and trumpet. Michael started piano lessons in the 2nd grade with Mr. Charles F Little Jr. and trumpet lessons with David Hummel. He is a member of Consolidated Baptist Church and he has a love for gospel as well as jazz. He graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High school in 2012. He was accepted at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as a Jazz Studies and Commercial Music Production student. Michael has played with many great musicians such as John Von Ohlen, Byron Stripland, Terrance Blanchard, JD Allen, Steven Bernstein and Wynton Marsalis. He started his own band known as The Michael Cruse Quintet or (MCQ) for short they have recently started recording their first album.

MCQ started in the spring of 2012 and can be heard at many venues and festivals in Cincinnati, Ohio such as Baba Budan’s, Grayscale Cincinnati, and The Blue Wisp Club as well as many private events. They consist of sophomore students and a former graduate of the CCM College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. The group consist of Michael Cruse on Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Jackson Steiger , Piano ; Darren Benton, Drums; Chris Gemechak on Sax; and Jon Lattier, Bass (Graduate of CCM). For more information please visit

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