Charlie Mariano : In India 1973

Charlie Mariano - In India 1973

Untitled Original 1 - 08.56
Untitled Original 2 - 12.35
Untitled Original 3 - 18.31

Charlie Mariano

In India


Charlie Mariano’s career has been somewhat overlooked, due to the fact he spent much of his life living and working in Europe. The Boston native’s main instrument was the alto saxophone, though he also played tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones, flute, bamboo flute and the nadaswaram, a traditional Indian wind instrument, which he studied for four months while living in India in 1973. While still based in Boston, he worked with Shorty Sherock, Nat Pierce and led his own small groups. He toured with Stan Kenton for several years in the mid-1950s. Relocating to the West Coast after leaving the pianist’s orchestra in 1956, he recorded several albums as a sideman with Shelly Manne and other leaders before returning east to teach at Berklee. He met his first wife, pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi while there and they worked together on a number of records before divorcing in the late 1960s. During this period of his career Mariano also recorded with Charles Mingus, Chico Hamilton, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones. By the late 1960s, Mariano’s focus had shifted to fusion, with his sound taking a more exotic air. He founded Osmosis and his music had a stronger rock influence, though he never completely left behind his bop influence when playing alto sax. In addition, Mariano played in the fusion bands Embryo, Pork Pie, the United Jazz & Rock Ensemble and Colours. By the early 1970s, he had moved to Germany with his second wife, where he continued to perform and record. Charlie Mariano died at his Cologne, Germany home on June 16, 2009.

The saxophonist’s studio session In India lay forgotten for decades, though when it was uncovered, the list of participants was missing., though there’s a chance these selections are actually from the Blue Stone session. In the extended opener, Mariano plays the nadaswaram, accompanied by electric piano, bass and percussion, with a traditional wood flute providing harmony and also soloing. Once the droning introduction has concluded, the piece takes shape with a dreamy atmosphere. The second track has a mournful air with 2 metal flutes sharing the lead, playing intertwined lines with a definitive Far Eastern flavor. The flutes fade away as Mariano takes center stage on soprano saxophone, alternating between long and short bursts, adding depth to the sorrowful mood. The final track essentially blends avant-garde in a fusion with world music in an explosive performance, with Mariano’s lively soprano sax engaging in a simultaneous dialogue with wood flute and electric piano. While this session may have been overlooked, it is no longer a hidden treasure.

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