Biography All Music Guide
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 & a Queen. He played with Buddy Rich's bands for a long period (1956-1963) 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 (1967-1968), among many others, and played in the early fusion band Jeremy & the Satyrs. During 1969-1972, 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, Eliane Elias, Rachel Z, Mike Stern, Tony Levin, Victor Bailey, Peter Erskine, and Steve Smith making strong contributions. In 1992, Mainieri founded the NYC label and recorded 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.