Mike Melillo

Mike Melillo

279 BOPCENTRIC
MIKE MELILLO TRIO

MIKE MELILLO, PIANO
MASSIMO MORICONI, BASS
GIAMPAOLO ASCOLESE, DRUMS

BOPCENTRIC
GENERIC LABELS ATTACHED TO ART IN ORDER TO CHARACTERIZE A PARTICULAR STYLE OR PERIOD OFTEN HAVE THE UNFORTUNATE EFFECT OF MARGINALIZING EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUALS, EVEN GENIUSES, SUCH AS THELONIOUS MONK AND HERBIE NICHOLS. AS IN POSITIVIST SCIENCE WHERE ANOMALIES ARE RATIONALIZED AWAY IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE DESIRED RESULTS, NICHOLS AND MONK WERE DISMISSED AS ECCENTRICS, MAKING PROPER CONSIDERATION DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR YEARS AND DEPRIVING THEM OF NEEDED PUBLIC EXPOSURE. FORTUNATELY, THE PRAISE OF FELLOW MUSICIANS AND, ABOVE ALL, FAITH IN THEIR CREATIVE LOGIC HELPED TO MITIGATE THEIR INEVITABLE ISOLATION. HISTORICALLY, SERIOUS MUSICIANS HAVE BEEN PRESSURED TO TEMPER THEIR IDEAS IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE THE MYOPIC VISION OF RECORD PRODUCERS, PROMOTERS AND AGENTS WITH SHORT-TERM MARKET VALUES.
THE STORY GOES THAT MONK RETIRED WHEN ASKED TO RECORD AN ALBUM OF BEATLES' TUNES, OF ALL THINGS. IF TRUE, SUCH AN INSULT IS BENEATH CONTEMPT AND ANALOGOUS TO KIND OF CULTURAL TERRORISM. HERBIE NICHOLS, ON THE OTHER HAND, REFUSED FROM THE OUTSET TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GAME AS CHARLES IVES, THE GREAT AMERICAN COMPOSER, HAD DONE FIFTY YEARS BEFORE. TODAY, ATTEMPTS AT CULTURAL MANIPULATION HAVE REACHED MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS WITH FUSIONS OF CLASSICAL, "ROCK", AND EVEN ETHNIC MUSICS BEING EXPLOITED AND DILUTED, PARTICULARLY IN EUROPE, TO CREATE A "POLITICALLY CORRECT" INDUSTRIAL SOLIDARITY MARKET COMPLETE WITH JAZZY SOLOS AND OBLIGATORY ACCORDION, PROVING ONCE AGAIN THAT EXCUSES FOR MEDIOCRITY AND BAD TASTE ARE INEXHAUSTIBLE. IN ADDITION, THE ARTIST'S NEED TO PURSUE INSPIRATION FREELY HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD BY THOSE WHO CONFUSE THE INDIVIDUAL'S DIFFICULT SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND IN SOCIETY WITH FACILE COMPROMISE. AS LENNY BRUCE, THE AMERICAN COMIC, ONCE ADVISED, "DON'T BE A BABY, BE A MAN, SELL OUT".
MONK AND HERBIE NICHOLS, IN FREE ASSOCIATION WITH OTHER UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS SUCH AS "BIRD, "DIZ", BUD, MILES, ART, SONNY, GIL, "PHILLY JOE", TRANE, HORACE AND BILL, AMONG OTHERS, FORM THE BOPCENTRIC JAZZ FAMILY. THIS DISC IS HUMBLY DEDICATED TO ALL THE UNFASHIONABLE "MAVERICKS", AS ORSON WELLES ONCE REFERRED THEM, WHO, ABOVE ALL ELSE, ADD TO THE DIVERSITY OF IMAGINATION AND FANTASY ESSENTIAL TO THE FREE CREATIVE SPIRIT. I WANT TO THANK MASSIMO AND GIAMPAOLO FOR THEIR SPIRIT IN THIS ENDEAVOR, SERGIO VESCHI FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.AND PIERRE RIEBEN FOR HIS HELP.

Mike Melillo

MIKE MELILLO WAS BORN IN NEWARK, NJ, JUNE 9, 1939. HE RECEIVED A B.A: FROM RUTGERS UNIVERSITY IN 1962. HE HAS PERFORMED WITH COLEMAN HAWKINS, BEN WEBSTER, ART FARMER, ZOOT SIMS, CLARK TERRY, SONNY ROLLINS, PHIL WOODS, CHET BAKER AND MANY OTHERS. IN 1965 HE JOINED THE SORRY ROLLINS QUARTET AND PLAYED FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS DURING ONE OF SONNY'S MORE CREATIVE PERIODS BUT UNFORTUNATELY AN UNRECORDED ONE DUE TO A DISPUTE WITH A RECORDING COMPANY.
HE BECAME PIANIST/COMPOSER/ARRANGER WITH THE PHIL WOODS QUINTET AT IS INCEPTION IN 1976 AND TOURED THE WORLD SUCCESSFULLY MANY TIMES. THE QUINTET, AND LATER THE QUARTET, RELEASED NINE RECORDINGS 2 OF WHICH, "LIVE AT THE SHOWBOAT" AND "THE PHIL WOODS QUARTET VOL. 2" WON GRAMMY AWARDS.
IN 1985 MIKE COMPOSED MUSIC FOR SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA AND JAZZ ENSEMBLE FEATURING CHET BAKER AS SOLOIST. THE MUSIC WAS RECORDED AND RELEASED ON SOUL NOTE (SN1134) 1986, "MIKE MELILLO/CHET BAKER SYMPHONICALLY". HE BEGAN AN ASSOCIATION WITH RED RECORDS IN ITALY IN 1983 RELEASING FOUR RECORDINGS TO DATE INCLUDING HIS LATEST MICHAEL MOORE ON BASS AND BEN RILEY ON DRUMS "MOONLIGHT ON THE GANGES" THE MIKE MELILLO TRIO, (RR 123264.2) 1995, SELECTED RECORDING BY HERB WONG ON JAZZ EDUCATOR JOURNAL. MIKE IS A FORMER FACULTY MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK STATE COLLEGE OF MUSIC, JERSEY CITY SATE COLLEGE, TOMBROCK COLLEGE AND LEHIGH UNIVERSITY. MIKE HAS COMPOSED MUSIC FOR ORCHESTRA AND ENSEMBLE INCLUDING STRING QUARTETS, CHORAL WORKS AND QUARTER TONE PIECES FOR PIANO. HE BEGAN EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW FORMS AND PROCEDURES IN IMPROVISATION EARLY IN HIS CAREER. IN 1979 MIKE WAS AWARDED A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS GRANT FOR COMPOSITION.
FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS MIKE HAS TOURED EUROPE AND US EXTENSIVELY AS A SOLOIST AND LEADER OF HIS OWN GROUPS.

MIKE MELILLO E' NATO A NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, NEL 1939. FORMATOSI IN UNA SCUOLA DI COSIDETTA LIGHT MUSIC DOVE INCONTRO' WOODY SHAW E LARRY YOUNG, DOVE PRIMA DI LUI AVEVA STUDIATO WAYNE SHORTER E DOVE AVEVANO RICONOSCIUTO IL SUO INNATO TALENTO PER IL JAZZ ("HO COMINCIATO SUONANDO LE CANZONI CHE ERANO NELL'ARIA, SENZA SAPERE CHE IL MIO MODO DI SUONARLE ERA JAZZ…") E DIPLOMAMDOSI POI ALLA RUTGERS UNIVERSITY NEL 1962. INTANTO GLI ERA STATO OFFERTO IL POSTO DI PIANISTA FISSO DEL TOOP ROOM JAZZ CLUB E COSI' EBBE MODO DI MISURARSI CON COLEMAN HAWKINS, BEN WEBSTER, ART FARMER, ZOOT SIMS, CLARK TERRY, CHET BAKER…NEL '65 ENTRA NEL QUARTETTO DI SONNY ROLLINS E VI SUONA PER DUE ANNI IN UNO DEI PERIODI DI MASSIMA CREATIVITA' DEL "SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS", PURTOPPO PER TUTTI NON DOCUMENTATO DISCOGRAFICAMENTE PER UNA DIATRIBA CON LA CASA DISCOGRAFICA, LA RCA. NEGLI ANNI '70 DIVENTA PIANISTA E DIRETTORE MUSICALE DEL QUARTETTO/QUINTETTO DI PHIL WOODS E GIRA INTENSIVAMENTE IL MONDO CON GRANDE SUCCESSO. INCIDE CON PHIL WOODS NOVE DISCHI DI CUI BEN DUE VINCONO IL GRAMMY AWARD.
L'ULTIMA REGISTRAZIONE DEL QUARTETTO DI PHIL WOODS, CON MIKE MELILLO AL PIANOFORTE, E' STATA REGISTRATA DALLA RED RECORDS E PUBBLICATA, IN UN DOPPIO CD, CON IL TITOLO EUROPEAN TOUR LIVE ED E' CONSIDERATO UN DISCO INDISPENSABILE NELLA DISCOGRAFIA DI WOODS. MELILLO NEL 1985 COMPONE UN CONCERTO PER ORCHESTRA SINFONICA E JAZZ ENSEMBLE CHE VEDE CHET BAKER SOLISTA PRINCIPALE ED E' DOCUMENTATO NEL DISCO SOUL NOTE "MIKE MELILLO/CHET BAKER SIMPHONICALLY".
DAL 1983 E' SCRITTURATO DALL'ITALIANA RED RECORDS CON CUI INCIDE DUE DISCHI DI PIANO SOLO: SEPIA E 'LIVE AND WELL E TRE DISCHI IN TRIO: ALTERNATE CHANGES FOR BUD DEDICATO ALLA MUSICA DI BUD POWELLCON MASSIMO MORICONI E GIAMPAOLO ASCOLESE; MOOLIGHT ON THE GANGE CON MICHAEL MOORE AL BASSO E BEN RILEY ALLA BATTERIA DEDICATO AL COMPIANTO MASSIMO URBANI CON IL QUALE MIKE MELILLO HA SUONATO E REGISTRATO.
MIKE MELILLO INSEGNA ATTUALMENTE AL NEW YORK STATE COLLEGE, AL TOMBROCK COLLEGE ED ALLA LEHIGH UNIVERSITY. HA INOLTRE COMPOSTO MUSICA PER ORCHESTRA E VARIE ENSEMBLE INCLUSI QUARTETTI D'ARCHI, OPERE CORALI E PER PIANOFORTE, SPERIMENTANDO NUOVE FORME E PROCEDIMENTI FRA CUI COMPOSIZIONI PER QUARTI DI TONO. IN AGGIUNTA MIKE MELILLO SI ESIBISCE COME PERFORMER IN PIANO SOLO E TRIO IN EUROPA, AMERICA E GIAPPONE.

REVIEWS

"MELILLO IS A STRIKING PIANIST, A CHAMELEON WHO HAS A BUD POWELL TOUCH ON A CHARLIE PARKER BE BOP NUMBER, WHO EVOKES APPROPRIATE ECHOES OF THELONIOUS MONK .."
JOHN S. WILSON - NEW YORK TIMES

"MELILLO NEVER TAKES THE EASY WAY. HE'S A NATURAL FREE-FORM PLAYER VERY LEAN AND ACERBIC BUT CAPABLE OF JOLTINGLY QUICK TEMPO ACCELERATIONS AND RETARDS OR LEAPING LOCKED HAND CHORDS AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE. HE'S FULLY AS INTERESTING SOLOIST…"
JEFF SIMON - BUFFALO EVENING NEWS

"HIS SOLO STYLE LEANS MOSTLY TO FAST, CRISP SINGLE-NOTE LINES WITH OCCASIONAL LOCKED-HANDS CHORDAL PASSAGES, AND HIS ACCOMPANIMENT WORK, WHETHER IT'S SENTIMENTAL BALLAD RIPPLES OR SPARSE SWINGING PUNCTUATION THAT'S CALLED FOR, GIVES NEW MEANING TO THE WORD TASTY."
JIM AIKEN - CONTEMPORARY KEYBOARD

"MIKE MELILLO MERITA DI ESSERE SCOPERTO DA UN PUBBLICO PIÙ VASTO PER LA PROFONDITÀ E LO SPESSORE DELLA SUA MUSICA. FRA POWELL E MONK MELILLO ESIBISCE UNO STILE ASCIUTTO, AGRODOLCE, RITMICAMENTE RICCO, ARMONICAMENTE SOFISTICATO E MODERNISSIMO."
SERGIO VESCHI - JAZZNOTICE

"PIANISTA DI NOTEVOLI RISORSE RITMICHE E DALL'INCISIVO FRASEGGIO, ARMONIZZATORE COLTO E SOFISTICATO, POETA DELL'INQUIETUDINE, NARRATORE DI ATMOSFERE AGRODOLCI E AMAROGNOLE, EVOCATORE DI UNA UMANITA' SOFFERTA CHE TROVA NELLA BELLEZZA DELL'ARTE LA SUA CATARSI E IL SUO RISCATTO, MIKE MELILLO R' SICRUAMENTE, AL DI LA' DI QUANTO LE OCCASIONI PROFESSIONALI GLI HANNO FINORA CONCESSO, UNO DEI MUSICISTI PIU' VERI, RIGOROSI E AUTENTICI CHE CIRCOLANO NEI MEANDRI E NELLE OSCURITA', MA COSI' PIENI DI LUCE INTERIORE E VERITA',DEL JAZZ DI OGGI."
COSTANTINO GABRIELLI - BLUE JAZZ

MIKE MELILLO ON RED RECORDS

SEPIA AND 'LIVE AND WELL" PIANO SOLO - SOON TO BE RELEASED ON CD
211 ALTERNATE CHANGES FOR BUD MIKE MELILLO TRIO PLAYS THE MUSIC OF BUD POWELL
264 MOONLIGHT ON THE GANGE MIKE MELILLO TRIO
163 EUROPEAN TOUR LIVE PHIL WOODS FEATURING MIKE MELILLO
203 GUEST ON ATMOSPHERES FABIO JEGHER AND ITALIAN VOCAL ENSEMBLE

MIKE MELILLO can be contacted at:
P.O. BOX 314
DELAWARE WATER GAP, PA
18327-0313
TEL 717.424.0893

IN ITALY c/o PIERRE RIEBEN
VIA S. OBRIZIO, 1
CINGOLI, MC
TEL & FAX +39.0733.603457

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