A Northern California native, Mike Pittsley began playing trombone at the age of 10 and started playing professionally while still in high school. Constant exposure to traditional jazz via the then-new Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, gave Mike a deep love and understanding of the early jazz styles and its masters. While in Northern California, Mike also drew upon his classical training and did numerous educational presentations with the Sacramento Symphony's brass and percussion demonstration ensemble. Just into college, Mike had already established himself as an in-demand freelance trombonist in the Northern California area. Mike became a regular with the pit orchestra at the Sacramento Music Circus, a summer stock tent theater presenting Broadway musicals such as Paint Your Wagon, The Music Man, Irene, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, etc.
In early 1978, Mike was invited to join The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, where he remained until 2000. While on the Cullum band, Mike performed on over 100 broadcasts of Riverwalk, Live from the Landing with some of the finest jazz musicians in the business, such as Dick Hyman, Lionel Hampton, Bob Wilbur, Bob Barnard, Joe Williams, Dan Barrett, Bob Havens, Benny Carter, Marty Groos, Kenny Davern and Milt Hinton.
Upon leaving the Cullum band in 2000, Mike resumed his freelance career (still performing with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band on a semi-regular basis), as well as teaching low brass in the San Antonio area. Although known primarily as a jazz trombonist, Mike can be seen performing in a wide variety of musical settings, from section work in a big band, to classical music in brass ensembles and chamber groups.