Charlie Mariano Biography

Charles Hugo Mariano, 12 November 1923, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. One of many fine students to emerge from Boston’s Berklee College Of Music, Mariano gained most of his early experience in and around his home town. Among the musicians with whom he played in the formative years of the late 40s and early 50s were Herb Pomeroy, Nat Pierce, Gigi Gryce, Quincy Jones and Jackie Byard. In 1953, he joined Stan Kenton for a two-year spell and then worked in Los Angeles with Shelly Manne. By 1958 he was back in Boston, this time teaching at Berklee College Of Music. The following year he was briefly with Kenton again, then met, married and formed a band with Toshiko Akiyoshi. This association lasted into the mid-60s, with part of that time spent in Japan. During the 60s Mariano also played with Charles Mingus, spent more time teaching at Berklee, travelled extensively in the Far East, and led his own jazz rock group.

In the 70s and 80s Mariano lived mostly in Europe, leading bands with Philip Catherine and others, continuing to explore eastern music and playing many kinds of fusion music with, among other groups, the United Jazz And Rock Ensemble and Eberhard Weber’s Colours. Throughout his career, Mariano has displayed a striking ability to encompass many diverse musical forms and incorporate them into jazz without losing the emotional intensity of his early bebop-orientated playing style. Through his continued exploration of ethnic musical forms, particularly those of eastern origin, Mariano has established a secure and significant place as a truly international jazz artist.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.