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Mario Pavone (1940 - 2021)

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    Posted: 23 May 2021 at 1:25pm
Mario Pavone was a fighter - in real life and in his music. For 17 years he has fought cancer and they way he played his bass looked a bit like fighting as well - with a lot of force, keeping his strings a little high and overplaying them. He said that his style was rather sculptural. In any ways, it was spectacular watching him.

Pavone, who was born in Waterbury/Connecticut in 1940, was actually an engineer and had no formal musical training in his youth. The initiatory experience that led him to music was something special: John Coltrane’s seminal residence at the Village Vanguard in 1961. Shortly after that he began playing the bass and settled in New York City, where he got to know pianist Paul Bley and trumpeter Bill Dixon. That’s how he became part what would later on be called the first loft era.

In 1968 he went on a European tour with Bley, with whom he worked until 1972. In the early 1970s he performed with vibraphonist Bobby Naughton and was a member of Bill Dixon’s Orchestra of the Streets, as well as John Fischer’s Interface. In 1975 he formed the Creative Music Improvisers Forum (CMIF) in New Heaven with Bobby Naughton, Wadada Leo Smith, Gerry Hemingway, and many others, before he began his 18-year collaboration with Thomas Chapin in 1980. His most important formation with Chapin was the trio with drummer Michael Sarin, one of the most important bands of the downtown Knitting Factory scene. From 1990 to 1996 the trio was very productive and toured in Europe and the U.S. After Chapin's untimely death in 1998, Pavone began a long recording career as a leader and worked with almost everyone who’s important in the New York free jazz scene - from Tony Malaby to Steven Bernstein, Gerald Cleaver, Craig Taborn, Oscar Noriega, Matt Mitchell, Tyshawn Sorey, to name only a few. 

 Recently, Pavone had focused his musical energies on the classic piano trio format, reconnecting with Paul Bley for a recording, releasing a live disc with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver, recording 3 CDs with his Dialect Trio featuring Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey, the latest to be released in July 2019 on Clean Feed Records. In a recent interview with Downbeat Magazine he said that he planned to “make a final artistic statement, in two parts“. He recorded sessions in 2020, with two quartets including six new tunes approached from different perspectives. Blue Vertical (Out of Your Head) was for his ongoing “implied time” trio with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, plus trumpeter Dave Ballou. Isabella (Clean Feed) was for the grooving “overt time” of Mario and “the three Mikes” - his son Michael Pavone on electric guitar, altoist Mike DiRubbo and drummer Michael Sarin, his longtime collaborator from the days with Thomas Chapin. “I’m just happy to get these two releases done,” Pavone said in the interview with Downbeat. “It took every bit of energy, and the music is what got me through. I’ve had a great life and I’m so appreciative of all the players who jumped in and generously contributed, from the heart. I’m grateful, happy, satisfied with my life, ready to move to this next cycle.”

On Saturday, May 15th, Mario Pavone lost his fight against cancer. It’s sad to know that he isn’t there anymore.

from www.freejazzblog.org

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