Mike Mainieri

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Mainieri in 2016

Michael T. Mainieri, Jr. (born July 4, 1938, the Bronx, New York City) is an American vibraphonist best known for his work with the jazz fusion group Steps Ahead.


Mainieri was a pioneer in introducing an electronic vibraphone, known as a "synth-vibe" and has recorded with such musicians as Buddy Rich, Wes Montgomery and Jeremy Steig. He performed for a live album by Laura Nyro, and was featured on several tracks from the Dire Straits album Love Over Gold as well as on "Ride Across the River" on the album Brothers in Arms. He performed on the albums "Heads" by Bob James Heart To Heart by David Sanborn and Tiger in the Rain by Michael Franks. He has also released numerous albums and videos as a leader for a variety of labels, most notably his 1980 album for Warner Bros. entitled Wanderlust, which featured Michael Brecker and other members of Steps Ahead. There is good video footage of Mainieri performing live with David Sanborn, Neil Larsen, Robben Ford, etc. on David Sanborn's Live At Montreux 1984 DVD as part of bonus footage from 1981.

As a producer, he produced three albums for Carly Simon.

Mainieri married singer-songwriter/harpist Dee Carstensen in 1993. They have a daughter, Ruby Anna. Mainieri also has 5 children from previous marriages. Michelle, Maria and Melissa and two sons, Michael and Jonathan.


Mike Mainieri with Bendik Hofseth at a 2016-concert at Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo.

As leader[edit]

  • Wanderlust (WB, 1980)
  • Love Play (Arista, 1977)
  • Free Smiles: Live at Montreux 1978 (w/Warren Bernhardt) (Novus)
  • Blues on the Other Side (Argo, 1963)
  • Journey Thru An Electric Tube (Solid State, 1968)
  • Insight (Solid State)
  • Crescent, (NYC, 2010)

With Steps Ahead

  • Step by Step, 1980
  • Steps Ahead, (Elektra Musician, 1983)
  • Modern Times, (Elektra Musician, 1984)
  • Magnetic, (Elektra, 1986)
  • N.Y.C., (Capitol, 1989)
  • Yin-Yang, (NYC, 1992)
  • Vibe, (NYC, 1994)
  • Smokin' in the Pit, (NYC, 1980)
  • Paradox, (1982)
  • Live in Tokyo 1986, (NYC, 1986)
  • Holding Together, (NYC, 1999)

As sideman[edit]

With Manny Albam

With Kenny Burrell

With Paul Desmond

With Art Farmer

With Urbie Green

With Pat Martino

With Buddy Rich

With Sonny Stitt


External links[edit]