Michael Santanastasio


Michael Santanastasio, an Italian American drummer, began playing the drums in his native Naples, Italy before moving to the U.S. in 1986 to study with the late great Alan Dawson. In 1996 he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from City University of New York under the direction of Ron Carter and in February 2000 he earned a Master’s in Music Performance from Queen’s College in New York under the direction of Jimmy Heath and Sir Roland Hanna. 

While in New York, Michael began working as both a leader and a sideman in numerous jazz ensembles, performing regularly with groups led by George Anders, John Benitez, Bobby Porcelli, Jimmy “Preacher” Robbins, Ray Schinnery and Kent Glenn. He also played occasionally with Bobby Watson, and had the opportunity to play with Etta James, and Jimmy Heath at the Charley Parker jazz festival on  Nov 2001.

Based in Montpellier, France since 2005, Michael performs regularly throughout Europe at festivals, jazz clubs and cultural events with both American and Europe-based musicians, including Billy Pierce, Sandy Patton, Reggie Johnson, Valery Ponomarev, Alain Musichini, Michel Barrot. Michael is now regularly playing with the following group:Pascale Gautier 4tet, Abdu Salim trio & 5tet, Les Messengers, Beatles go Jazz and the world music Harpist Phamie Gow.


  • The Music of Sharon Bercut, with Kent Glen on the Saphu label;
  • The Nakamura Project with Orazio Calvo, on the NueNote label;
  • Live at Long Island Jazz Festival with George Anders, on the Mélopéa label;
  • Harlem Nights in Yokohama with Jimmy Robbins, on the Landmark Hall label;
  • Girl Talk, Doodlin Cristal Record;
  • Yolane, Pascal Gautier, Rachel Ratsizafy & the Messengers.