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Mario Pavone to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in Music April 27th-May 11th in NYC

Media Contact for Mario Pavone:
Scott Menhinick, Improvised Communications
(617) 489-6561
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NEW YORK, NY -- Bassist/composer Mario Pavone will celebrate his 40th anniversary in music with performances at four New York venues from April 27th to May 11th. Spanning two weeks, this tour will spotlight Pavone's Totem Quartet and Nu Trio/Sextet, and feature special guests including saxophonist Marty Ehrlich and trumpet player Steven Bernstein. Pavone, who returns from a three-country European tour April 24th, will also record his next Playscape Recordings release with his Nu Trio/Sextet in New York on May 5th.

Wednesday, April 27th at 10pm
Mario Pavone Totem Quartet with special guest Marty Ehrlich
Mario Pavone, bass/composer; Tony Malaby, saxophones; Angelica Sanchez, piano and keyboards; Kevin Norton, drums and vibes; with Marty Ehrlich, saxophones and clarinet
The Stone
2nd St. and Ave. C

Sunday, May 1st at 9pm (two shows)
Mario Pavone Totem Quartet with special guest Steven Bernstein
Mario Pavone, bass/composer; Tony Malaby, saxophones; Angelica Sanchez, keyboards; Kevin Norton, drums and vibes; with Steven Bernstein, trumpet and slide trumpet
Freestyle Sunday at CBGB's Lounge
315 Bowery

Wednesday, May 4th at 10pm
Mario Pavone Nu Trio/Sextet
Mario Pavone, bass/composer; Charles Burnham, violin; Steven Bernstein, trumpet and slide trumpet; Howard Johnson, baritone saxophone and tuba; Peter Madsen, keyboards; Michael Sarin, drums
55 Bar
55 Christopher Street

Wednesday, May 11th at 10pm
Mario Pavone Totem Quartet with special guest John Beaty
Mario Pavone, bass/composer; Tony Malaby, saxophones; Angelica Sanchez, keyboards; Kevin Norton, drums and vibes; with John Beaty, alto saxophone
376 9th St. (Park Slope, Brooklyn)


Mario Pavone (b. November 11, 1940)

Bassist/composer Mario Pavone has collaborated with both legendary innovators and today's most respected young musicians to consistently define the cutting edge of jazz for the past 40 years. He has anchored the trios of Paul Bley (1968-72), Bill Dixon (1980's), and the late Thomas Chapin (1990-97), and co-led a variety of notable ensembles with Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Marty Ehrlich, and Michael Musillami. His list of sidemen past and present includes Steven Bernstein, Gerald Cleaver, Dave Douglas, Peter Madsen, Tony Malaby, Joshua Redman, George Schuller, Michael Sarin, Craig Taborn, and Matt Wilson among many others. And, unlike most artists whose careers span five decades, his most recent recordings are his most widely acclaimed, appearing on best-of-the-year lists from,, AllAboutJazz-New York, Coda, and the Village Voice among others.

Although a long career in jazz awaited him, Pavone never received formal music training and didn't seriously encounter jazz until his freshman year at the University of Connecticut in 1958. Growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut, he developed a fondness for black R&B vocal groups, as well as the 1940's movie music he heard as a child, but a college friend's jazz record collection-and seeing John Coltrane one fateful night at the Village Vanguard in 1961-set him on the musical path. With legendary guitarist/fellow Waterbury native Joe Diorio's encouragement, Pavone rented a bass in the summer of 1964 and began plucking out the percussive sound that would become his trademark.

He was playing professionally by 1965, though his full-time job was putting his Industrial Engineering degree to work for major corporations. Upon hearing the news about Coltrane's death in 1967, he left his briefcase on his desk, got in the car, and drove to the funeral, where he decided on the spot to dedicate the rest of his life to music. He toured Europe with Paul Bley in 1968, and performed on the pianist's recording, Canada (Radio Canada), with Barry Altschul. Soon after he met vibraphonist/composer Bobby Naughton, among others, and became a part of New York's early 70's loft scene with groups like Bill Dixon's Orchestra of the Streets. By 1975, he was a founding member of the New Haven, Connecticut-based Creative Music Improvisers Forum (CMIF), with Naughton, Wadada Leo Smith, Gerry Hemingway, Wes Brown, Reverend Dwight Andrews and others, which produced concerts and recordings that gave musicians more control over their own music.

In 1980, Pavone began an 18-year musical relationship with Thomas Chapin, which would lead to a number of collaborations, most notably Chapin's seminal trio with drummer Michael Sarin. Around the same time, Pavone recorded his first titles as a leader, 1979's Digit and 1981's Shodo on his own Alacra label, crediting Naughton and Smith with motivating him to write his own music and teaching him about open-ended composition. Since Chapin's untimely death in 1998, Pavone has recorded exclusively with his own bands, with the exception of his son Michael's 2001 debut, Trio (Playscape). His discography now features 16 recordings as a leader/co-leader, including his acclaimed 2004 release, Boom, on Playscape Recordings, the label he has called home since 1999. In addition to his ongoing activities as a bandleader, Pavone's artwork and photography have graced the covers of dozens of recordings since the mid 90's, and he currently serves as an educator, administrator and board member for the Litchfield Jazz Festival and Litchfield Summer Jazz Music Institute in Litchfield, Connecticut.


Selected Press Quotes:

"His work has never been less than compelling..."
-Ben Ratliff, NY Times

"...a cutting-edge bassist and composer..."
-David R. Adler, NewMusicBox

"Bassist/composer/bandleader Mario Pavone has a stellar reputation among fans of avant-garde jazz, particularly given his years as bassist for the Thomas Chapin Trio. But Pavone's agreeable music should hold appeal for listeners of both inside and outside persuasions, from those enamored of hard bop and post bop through to those favoring more open-ended styles of jazz exploration."
-Dave Lynch, All Music Guide

"He continues to search for ways to express and expand his sound and to create sonic landscapes that allow his fellow musicians to develop their own voices."
-Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant 

"The bassist Mario Pavone works his strings with the force and persistence of a sculptor chipping away at granite. The sheer dynamism of his playing is matched by the lustre of his writing and arranging for small bands."
-The New Yorker

"Pavone's units are lean outfits built for dancing fast and scrimmaging hard."
-Steve Smith, Time Out-New York 

"Freebop is the bassist-composer's meaty metier; his tunes are sculpted so swing-based extrapolations have plenty of elbow room, and his bands are staffed to make sure that elbow room is filled with the most inventive sounds possible."
-Jim Macnie, Village Voice

"To tip the hat to that cliché, Pavone wears a coat of many colours. He writes with an ear for melody, but it is his intuition in adding the breadth and the scope, in the constant reshaping of the song, that makes his music so exceptional."
-Jerry D'Souza,

"Pavone writes pieces full of smart angular swagger and the group nails them with assurance, collectively stretching them with an elastic sense of free swing. Here is a band steeped in the tradition from bop to freedom, with the smarts and originality to make music that grabs the listener from start to finish."
-Michael Rosenstein, Signal to Noise

"Pavone's pieces are masterful examples of group interplay, rooted in a compelling union of smarts and intuition, predetermined and ephemeral forms. At the heart of things is an extraordinary pulse-sometimes swinging, sometimes grinding and sometimes sliced into's loose and immensely disciplined."
-Greg Buium, DownBeat 

"Pavone's compositions are unconventional in that the bass is the axis upon which all rotates, with his thick, yet quirky bass lines instigating the others what makes them so compelling is the spontaneity, despite the written lines, and the high-caliber soloists who consistently provide substance for interested ears."
-Jay Collins, Cadence

"A thrilling combination of the oblique and the clearly-stated, Boom is another fine offering from Pavone, who continues to move the tradition forward with every record."
-John Kelman,


Selected discography:

As a leader:
Digit (Alacra, 1979)
Shodo (Alacra, 1981)
Sharpeville (Alacra, 1988; reissued Playscape, 2000)
Toulon Days (New World/Countercurrents, 1992)
Song for (Septet) (New World/Countercurrents, 1995)
Dancer's Tales (Knitting Factory, 1997)
Remembering Thomas (Knitting Factory, 1999)
Totem Blues (Knitting Factory, 2001)
Mythos (Playscape, 2002)
Orange (Playscape, 2003)
Boom (Playscape, 2004)

As co-leader with Anthony Braxton:
Nine Duets (Music and Arts, 1993)
Seven Standards (Knitting Factory, 1994)

As co-leader with Michael Musillami:
Op-Ed (Playscape, 2000)
Motion Poetry (Playscape, 2001)
Pivot (Playscape, 2002)

With Thomas Chapin:
Third Force (Knitting Factory, 1990)
Insomnia (Knitting Factory, 1991)
Anima (Knitting Factory, 1992)
Menagerie Dreams (Knitting Factory, 1994)
Haywire (Knitting Factory, 1996)
Sky Piece (Knitting Factory, 1998)
Nightbird Song (Knitting Factory, 1999)
Alive (8-CD set) (Knitting Factory, 1999)

With Bill Dixon:
November 1981 (Soul Note, 1981)
Thoughts (Soul Note, 1985)
Son of Sisyphus (Soul Note, 1988)

With Others:
Samm Bennett :: Knitting Factory Tours Europe 1991 (Knitting Factory, 1991)
Sangeeta Michael Berardi :: Divine Song (New Pulse Artists, 1979)
Paul Bley :: Canada (Radio Canada, 1968)
Paul Bley and Annette Peacock :: Dual Unity (Tokuma, 1971)
Creative Improvisers Orchestra :: The Sky Cries the Blues (CMIF, 1982)
Vernon Frazer :: Sex Queen of the Berlin Turnpike (Woodcrest, 1988)
Motation :: Live At Hillside (Alacra, 1988)
Michael Pavone :: Trio (Playscape, 2001)
Dan Rose :: Close Opposites (Alacra, 1979)

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mario Pavone
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