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 the 1950s and early 1960s, 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 DownBeat’s International Jazz Critic’s Award.
In 1964, he joined the ground-breaking jazz and rock group Jeremy & The Satyrs led by flutist Jeremy Steig. The Satyrs appeared at New York’s Club A-GoGo, and performed with such monumental figures as Frank Zappa, Richie Havens, and Jimi Hendrix. During the late 1960s, this small circle of performers grew into what became known as the White Elephant Orchestra, a 20-piece, all-star, experimental ensemble. The group featured such soloists as Michael Brecker, Ronny Cuber, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff, and Randy Brecker.
In the late 1970s, Mike founded the pioneering jazz and fusion group Steps Ahead, which included previous cohorts Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd, and Don Grolnick. Delving into contemporary sounds while maintaining experimental sounds and compositional integrity, Steps Ahead was, and is, a launching pad for young talent and new musical ideas. Steps Ahead alumni include appearances by such notable artists as saxophonists: Michael Brecker, Bendik Hofseth, Rick Margitza, Donny McCaslin, Bob Mintzer, Bob Berg, Bill Evans, Bob Sheppard, and George Garzone; pianists: Don Grolnick, Eliane Elias, Warren Bernhardt, Kenny Kirkland, Rachel Z, Dave Kikoski, and Joey Calderazzo; guitarists: Mike Stern, Steve Khan, Chuck Loeb, and Hiram Bullock; bassists: Eddie Gomez, Victor Bailey, Darryl Jones, Tony Levin, James Genus, Marc Johnson, Larry Grenadier, Scott Colley, Etienne MBAPPE, and Richard Bona; drummers: Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Steve Smith, Rodney Holmes, Billy Kilson, Clarence Penn, and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts.
Mike’s other noteworthy jazz collaborations have included recordings and appearances with Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Dave Liebman, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Joe Lovano, Jim Hall, and Toots Thielemans. As a composer, arranger, and performer, Mike has contributed to over 100 gold and platinum albums. An active participant in the rock and pop scenes, Mike produced and co-wrote three albums with Carly Simon, and recorded or performed with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin, Phoebe Snow, Aerosmith, Carole King, Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Janis Ian, Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Joe Walsh, George Benson, Paul McCartney, and on Don McLean’s classic album, American Pie.
Mike Mainieri endorses Yamaha Vibraphones.