STEPS AHEAD AND MIKE MAINIERI / A PROFILE
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 ‘50s and early ‘60s, he performed with such legendary artists as Buddy Rich, Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery. At the age of 20, he won Downbeat's International Jazz Critic's Award.
In 1962, he joined the ground-breaking jazz/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 ‘60s, this small circle of performers grew into what became known as the White Elephant Orchestra, a 20-piece, all-star, experimental ensemble. The big band featured such soloists Michael Brecker, Ronny Cuber, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff and Randy Brecker.
In the late 70s, Mike founded the pioneering jazz/fusion group Steps Ahead, which included previous cohorts Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd/Peter Erskine 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 'alumni' include appearances by such notable artists as:
Saxophonists: Michael Brecker, Bendik Hofseth, Rick Margitza, Donny McCaslin,
Bob Mintzer, Bob Berg, Bill Evans
Pianists: Don Grolnick, Eliane Elias, Warren Bernhardt, Kenny Kirkland, Rachel Z,
Dave Kikoski, 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, Richard Bona and Etienne Mbappa
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 with Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Dave Liebman, Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Joe Lovano, Jim Hall, and Toots Thielmans.
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 with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Dire Straits, Bonnie Raitt, George Benson, Don McClean's classic album: American Pie and Paul McCartney’s latest standards album.