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White Elephant

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Album Review

Starting in 1965 and especially during 1969-72, many of the top studio musicians in New York got together after work on a nightly basis to jam and try out new tunes. Because the players' backgrounds were as much in R&B as in jazz and they were very open to the influence of pop and rock, the music on this reissue (which is taken from the sessions) is a mixture of idioms. The musicianship of the 20 or so musicians is impeccable and there are some fine solos (particularly by Mike and Randy Brecker on tenor and trumpet) but the vocals and lyrics (which are on all 16 tracks of this double-CD), although not always dominant, range from dated to embarassing. Mike Mainieri and Nick Holmes are responsible for the largely forgettable material (none of which caught on) which, in addition to the vocals, emphasizes funky vamps, R&B riffing and danceable rhythms. Although there are some interesting early solos by the Brecker Brothers and guitarist Joe Beck, this set falls far short of its potential; strangely enough the fine vibraphonist Mainieri is not heard from except on vocals.


Born: July 4, 1938 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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White Elephant, Mike Mainieri
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