Primarily recognized as an award-winning, jazz vibraphonist, Mike Mainieri’s equally remarkable talents as producer, arranger, and composer have contributed to shaping the cutting-edge in music. throughout his fruitful career--now spanning almost five decades--Mike has collaborated with the world’s most formidable jazz player’s produced numerous albums, and discovered a host of innovative, young talent. Raised in a family of performers and musicians, Mike’s training began early. At the age of 14, his own jazz trio was touring with the PAUL WHITEMAN ORCHESTRA, and by 17 he was playing and arranging for Buddy Rich’s sextet --a tenure which continued up until 1962. During this period, he also played with such legendary artists as Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery, and at the age of 18 he won the International Jazz Critic’s Award.
During the late 70’s, Mike founded the pioneering jazz/ fusion groups STEPS AHEAD, which included previous cohorts Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd and Don Grolnick. Delving into contemporary sounds while maintaining experimentation and compositional integrity, STEPS AHEAD was, and is, a launching-pad for young talent and new musical ideas. STEPS Alumni include Peter Erskine, Eliane Elias, Rachel Z, Victor Bailey, Warren Bernhardt, Chuck Loeb, Daryl Jones, Mike Stern and Jimi Tunnel. Other noteworthy collaborations have included recordings with Joe Henderson, Marcus Miller, Joe Lovano, Larry Coryell, and Jim Hall, just to name a few.