Virtuosic pianist and Chicagoan native Michael King, began playing drums in his local church band at the early age of 4. This fortuitously melodic schooling nurtured an undeniable affinity to the piano and organ, the very seat that he began to occupy, by ear, at age 14. Mr. King is an alumni of Lincoln Park High School and the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory. He was selected to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute and The Ravinia Jazz Scholars program on merit scholarships.
Michael has performed with Bobby Watson, Kevin Eubanks, Dave Liebeman, Gary Bartz, Billy Hart, Joel Frahm, Rufus Reid, & Antonio Hart, among others. Currently you can catch Mr. King touring internationally with incredible talents such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Robin Eubanks, Marquis Hill, Theo Croker, Soul Understated, Melissa Aldana, & Marcus Printup.
Pridgen won the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and at age 10 was the youngest recipient for a Zildjian endorsement in the nearly 40-year history of the company. Pridgen is also naturally left-handed, but plays the drum kit as if he is a right-hander with his kit set-up right-handed. Thomas has studied with David Garibaldi, Walfredo Reyes, Sr., Troy Lucketta, and Curtis Nutall. He endorses DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Audix Microphones, and ProMark Drumsticks. Thomas was also the recipient of a 4-year scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1999 at the age of 15; he was the youngest musician to ever receive this scholarship. He has played in clinics with Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dennis Chambers. By his teenage years he had already done studio sessions with many Bay Area Gospel artists.
In 2007, Pridgen became the new permanent drummer for The Mars Volta. Pridgen’s style on Bedlam in Goliath used “blistering 32nd-note full-set combinations, stunning single-stroke rolls, and blazing single bass drum patterns” along with creative and precise paradiddle technique.
Besides his work with The Mars Volta, he has also been involved with Christian Scott and Wicked Wisdom. Thomas, for some time, was working with singer Keyshia Cole as her live and session drummer and being her music director. He also was featured alongside Tony Royster Jr., Eric Moore, and others in drumming DVD entitled “Shed Sessions”, a Gospel Chops DVD.