Brad Shepik Trio & the Mike Mainieri Quartet
Mainieri could probably make a vibes lover out of anyone who's agnostic about the instrument. A player of unusual depth, he stands over the large device with his small, somewhat frail-looking frame, carefully surveying his options and bringing them to life with his mallets. His articulation is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. I remember when I was younger and just getting into jazz; Mainieri's solo on the Don Grolnick composition "Pools," from the first Steps Ahead record (Elektra, 1982), made a huge impression on me. It's a thrill to see him now, in the intimate setting of Cornelia Street Caf', playing with younger musicians and sounding as inspiring as ever.