Mike Mainieri

White Elephant

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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.

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