Born on July 24, 1938, in the Bronx, New York, Mike Mainieri started to learn vibraphone from the age of 12 and made his professional debut at the age of 14. After performing as a member of the Buddy Rich Band, he served as a pioneer in the New York style fusion movement as a band leader of legendary groups, including White Elephant, L'Image, STEPS and STEPS AHEAD together with Steve Gadd, Michael Brecker and other artists in 1970s. Thereafter, he recorded with renowned musicians, including Paul Simon and Billy Joel, while continuously providing significant impact on the music scene through such initiatives as handling the arrangement of the 60-member Symphony Orchestra for rock band Aerosmith.
In 1994, as Mike Mainieri was sensing the limit of the expressive capability of the vibraphone as a musical instrument, the relationship with Yamaha and Mainieri began. Mainieri contacted Yamaha via a New York-based vibraphonist Dave Samuels to find out if Yamaha was capable of producing a custom-made vibraphone. Hiroaki Ohmuro, a great fan of jazz and also Yamaha's designer at that time, combined the opinions of Mainieri and Samuels to customize a vibraphone. Mainieri was extremely delighted with the result and commented, ""The sound it creates is sophisticated, like the piano."" The reputation of the resulting 3 1/2Oct vibraphone spread via word of mouth and became a hot topic among jazz circles. The instrument was generally marketed thereafter as the YV3910 model and is currently well established as the next-generation vibraphone.
Other Percussion Artists
Pius Cheung is widely known as a one of the most important percussionists of his generation.
A talented vibraphonist and marimba player, Dave Samuels has gained his greatest fame for his many years with Spyro Gyra. He started on his first instrument, the drums, when he was six, but by the time he attended Boston University (from which he graduated with a psychology degree), he was studying mallet instruments.
Recognized for their excellent musical skills and virtuoso performances, Axoum Duo is one of the most diverse groups representing a number of different styles in today`s music. Through their own musical language they perform a repertoire mostly consisting of compositions and arrangements written by Gabriel Collet, specifically for the duo. In addition to their concert activities, the duo writes soundtracks for documentaries and works with different musicians, singers, dancers and painters. Fully committed to contemporary music, they have made many first performances of new pieces, some of which have been dedicated to them.