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BOOK EXCERPTS

A Conversation with Mike Mainieri

Read "A Conversation with Mike Mainieri" reviewed by Anthony Smith

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “A Conversation with Mike Mainieri" of Masters of the Vibes by Anthony Smith (Marimba Productions, 2017). So you've been working on a new project this week? Yes, just finishing some overdubs... it's a project I'm involved in with some friends, but I really can't talk about it right now. Sure. Also, my daughter and I performed at her school this week. She's a harpist ...

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Mike Mainieri / Marnix Busstra Quartet: Trinary Motion: Live in Europe

Read "Trinary Motion: Live in Europe" reviewed by John Kelman

Looking more like a man in his fifties than his 72 years, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri has been stepping up the pace, with three fine but stylistically different albums in the last year: Crescent (NYC, 2010), an elegant and moving John Coltrane tribute with recently departed alto great Charlie Mariano; 2.0 (NYC, 2010), celebrating the return of the groove-heavy 1970s collective, L'Image; and Twelve Pieces (NYC, 2009), documenting his ongoing relationship with Marnix Busstra and the Dutch guitarist's trio. Trinary Motion: ...

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Mike Mainieri / Marnix Busstra Quartet: Trinary Motion / Live in Europe

Read "Trinary Motion / Live in Europe" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and guitarist Marnix Busstra demonstrated a kinetic relationship on their 2009 recording, Twelve Pieces (NYC Records); a compelling portrait of the musicians playing with and off each other. Its success spurred a tour and, happily, almost two hours of live recorded music. Tone and shape are sketched by the Mainieri / Busstra Quartet's sense of time and adventure, and it's not surprising that the music takes on a majestic scope. The ballads are haunting ...

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Mike Mainieri: Crescent

Read "Crescent" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri might have initially set out to create a tribute to one saxophone giant when he recorded this album, but Crescent actually pays respects to two reed players of note. The material on this two-CD set was written and/or performed by John Coltrane or was part of his repertoire at one time or another, and his legacy looms large here. Mainieri got together with saxophonist Charlie Mariano and bassist Dieter Ilg and, with no prior rehearsal or prearranged ...

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Mike Mainieri: Crescent

Read "Crescent" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Nearly forty-five years after the death of John Coltrane, jazz players still feel compelled to negotiate his music. Young cats wrestle with the harmonic complexities and attempt to conquer the saxophonist icon's mighty energy. Luckily, players like vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and saxophonist Charlie Mariano have made peace with the legend. Their document, in this two-disc set, is a fitting tribute to both the music of Coltrane and Mariano, for this was to be one of his last recordings before passing ...

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L'Image (Mainieri/Bernhardt/Spinozza/Levin/Gadd): 2.0

Read "2.0" reviewed by John Kelman

It may seem odd to take nearly 40 years to release a debut, but in the case of L'Image it's definitely a case of never-too-late. A collective formed by vibraphonist Mike Mainieri in the early 1970s, L'Image generated considerable buzz for its live shows before, on the cusp of recording its first album, circumstances forced the group to dissolve. Mainieri reunited the group in 2008 for a Japanese tour and to record 2.0, and for fans of an era that ...

INTERVIEWS

Mike Mainieri: Man Behind Bars

Read "Mike Mainieri: Man Behind Bars" reviewed by John Kelman

It's hard to imagine vibraphonist Mike Mainieri in his seventies. Not only does he look and sound like a man 10 years (or more) his junior, but a quick look at the projects he's been involved in over the past few years sound like anything but a septuagenarian resting on his not inconsiderable laurels.Mainieri may not have the instant name recognition of peers like Gary Burton, or even younger players like Joe Locke, Stefon Harris or ...

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Mike Mainieri / Marnix Busstra Quartet: Twelve Pieces

Read "Twelve Pieces" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

The first meeting between vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and guitarist Marnix Busstra took place when Mainieri played on one of Busstra's earlier recordings. This led to a tour during which they looked at extending that musical relationship. One aspect would be different; they would collaborate in an acoustic setting, away from the electric projects they were currently involved in. From that seed of thought sprung this highly inventive recording. Each of the twelve pieces is a revelation in terms of development, ...

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Mike Mainieri/Marnix Busstra Quartet: Twelve Pieces

Read "Twelve Pieces" reviewed by John Kelman

Released in Europe as the Marnix Busstra Trio featuring Mike Mainieri but in North America as the Mike Mainieri/Mike Busstra Quartet, the name change may reflect both vibraphonist Mainieri's significant involvement and his larger cachet, but Twelve Pieces remains a compelling look at this Netherlands-based guitarist. Less known on this side of the Atlantic, on the strength of this, his seventh release as a leader since 1995, Busstra certainly deserves a broader international audience.

Twelve Pieces ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Mike Mainieri

Read "Take Five With Mike Mainieri" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Mike Mainieri: Primarily recognized as an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, Mike Mainieri's equally remarkable talents as producer, performer, arranger, and composer have contributed to shaping the cutting edge in music.

During '50s and early '60s, he performed with such legendary artists as Buddy Rich, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Wes Montgomery. At the age of 20, he won Down Beat's International Jazz Critic's Award.

In 1962, he joined the ground breaking jazz/rock group Jeremy & ...

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Mike Mainieri: Northern Lights

Read "Northern Lights" reviewed by John Kelman

Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri has never garnered the same attention as Gary Burton, five years his junior, despite being equally cutting edge. Mainieri was one of fusion's early progenitors: Journey Through an Electric Tube (Solid State, 1968) and White Elephant (Solid State, 1969) explored new ways to incorporate a rock aesthetic with jazz. But while Burton has settled into a more mainstream comfort zone in recent years, Mainieri continues to test new waters. Northern Lights teams him with the “Norwegian Posse"--a ...

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Steps/Mike Mainieri: Smokin' in the Pit/An American Diary: The Dreamings

Read "Smokin' in the Pit/An American Diary: The Dreamings" reviewed by David Adler

These two NYC Records releases document the musical evolution of label founder and vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. Smokin’ in the Pit, a reissue of a hard-to-find double live album by Mainieri’s jazz supergroup Steps, is stuck in its late 70s moment. It feels like cheap thrills compared to Mainieri’s most recent solo record, An American Diary: The Dreamings, which possesses a timeless quality and manages, despite its wild eclecticism, to tell a coherent and deeply personal story. This album, the second ...


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