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. In 1952, at the age of 14, Mike made his first professional appearance on the Paul Whiteman TV and Radio show with his jazz trio. During the 50’s and early 60’s, he performed with such legendary artists as Buddy Rich, Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Coleman Hawkins, and Wes Montgomery. At the age of 20, he won Downbeat’s International Jazz Critic’s Award and appeared in Downbeats Critics and Readers poll over 40 years in the category of vibraphone.
In 1963, he joined the groundbreaking jazz/rock group Jeremy & the Satyrs led by flutist Jeremy Steig. The Satyrs appeared at New York’s Club A-Go Go, and performed with such monumental figures as Frank Zappa, Richie Havens and Jimi Hendrix.
In the late 70’s, Mike founded the pioneering jazz/fusion group Steps Ahead, that featured the legendary artists, 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 still is a launching pad for young talent and new musical ideas.
Mainieri’s other noteworthy collaborations with jazz legends are recordings and performances with: Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Barney Kessel, Toots Theilemans, Jim Hall, Jack McDuff, Sarah Vaughn, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, and Joe Lovano.
As a composer, arranger and performer, Mainieri has contributed to over 100 gold and platinum albums. An active participant in the rock and pop genre, he has produced and co-wrote three albums with Carly Simon, and has recorded with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Janis Ian, Carole King, Boz Scaggs, James Taylor, Dire Straits, Bonnie Raitt, George Benson, Edie Brickell, Roberta Flack, Don McClean’s classic album; “American Pie” and Paul McCartney’s recently released album of standards.
Mainieri is still active, touring worldwide with his seminal group Steps Ahead, and collective groups, Northern Lights and their reunion band from the early 1970’s, “L’Image” featuring David Spinozza, Warren Bernhardt, Tony Levin and Steve Gadd.