mike mainieri

Mike Mainieri's band shared the bill with the Mothers Of Invention for about six months at the Garrick Theatre around 1967.

In 1995, Mainieri recorded Zappa's 'King Kong'.




  mike mainieri: an american diary
    (1995, cd, usa, nyc records 6015-2) – incl. ‘king kong’ (frank zappa)


random notes

Mike Mainieri in the liner notes: "Then came the early '60s, era of long hair and tie dyes and Jeremy Steig and the Satyrs, in which I first played with Eddie Gomez, for one. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were booked with us at Cafe Au Go Go for about six months. On Saturday afternoons we had creative music parties at the Garrick Theatre. We'd bring pieces we'd composed - Zappa, me, Don Preston and Joe Beck were involved too. We might get a string quartet, other chamber instrumentalists, electronic experimenters, free blowers, whatever. You know, it was the '60's!"
From the liner notes by Howard Mandel: "'King Kong' begs to be opened up and blown on, though rather than Kong's beastliness, the band examines the pores and fissures of what might be the tragic ape's quasi-human psyche."
Scott Yanow (All-Music Guide): "In addition to a few group originals, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri performs some unusual pieces with his quartet (Joe Lovano on tenor, soprano and alto clarinet, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Peter Erskine) on this CD including two folk songs and selections by Leonard Bernstein ("Somewhere"), Frank Zappa ("King Kong"), Aaron Copland ("Piano Sonata"), Roger Sessions ("Piano Sonata No. 1") and Samuel Barber ("Overture to the School for Scandal"). The pianoless quartet (which displays a lot of versatility by Joe Lovano) turns all of the music into creative jazz. The most interesting aspect to this thought-provoking disc is how difficult it is to tell which compositions are taken from classical
music and which are new. There is a surprising unity to the potentially difficult material; the performances on the rather moody outing reward repeated listenings."
Scott Yanow (All-Music Guide): "Mike Mainieri, a talented and distinctive vibraphonist, has had a productive and diverse career. He first played vibes professionally when he was 14, touring with Paul Whiteman in a jazz trio called Two Kings and a Queen. He played with Buddy Rich's bands for a long period (1956-63) and then became a busy studio musician, appearing on many pop records. Mainieri had opportunities to work with Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery (1967-68) among many others and played in the early fusion band Jeremy and the Satyrs. During 1969-72 he led a 20-piece
rehearsal group called White Elephant that included the Brecker Brothers and other studio players. In 1979 he formed Steps (which later became Steps Ahead), an all-star jazz-oriented R&B/fusion band that included such players as Mike Brecker, Don Grolnick, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd in its original lineup. Mainieri has revived the group several times since with such
musicians as saxophonist Bendik, Warren Bernhardt, Elaine Elias, Rachel Z, Mike Stern, Tony Levin, Victor Bailey, Peter Erskine and Steve Smith making strong contributions. In 1992 Mainieri founded the NYC label, in recent times recording the adventurous An American Diary. Prior to NYC, Mike Mainieri had recorded as a leader for such labels as Argo (1962), Solid State, Arista, Artists House, Warner Bros and Elektra."

     From: Christopher Ekman (cekman@pomona.edu)
I just picked up a CD by jazz vibist (is that a real word?) Mike Mainieri, which has a cover of King Kong on it.  I like it a bunch- it's possibly an even creamier jazzbo arrangement than the Ponty album.  One of the neat things about it is that the bass apparently gets to do, oh, anything he likes. I like the rest of it, too- I always enjoy being introduced to other composers' works via Zappa- but because these are severely tweaked versions and I don't generally know the originals, it's a little hard to make a judgement.


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