Charlie Mariano © 2004 by Gerd Löser Charlie Mariano Tribute

Praise & Prizes

CD Reviews
Live Reviews


ECHO Jazz 2010
In 2010 Charlie Mariano will be posthumously awarded the ECHO Jazz Special Prize for his live recording, The Great Concert, with pianist Jasper van't Hof and guitarist Philip Catherine.
WDR Jazzpreis 2007
In 2007 Charlie Mariano received the Honour Award for his life's work offered by German broadcaster WDR.

article at Senioren OnLine
Ehren RUTH 2007
In 2007 Charlie Mariano received the Ehren RUTH (German Music Award offered by mdr Figaro and TFF.Rudolstadt) for his life's work.
Ehrenurkunde 1999
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
(German Record Critics' Award)


Musicians about Charlie Mariano

Julian Adderley | Jerry Bergonzi | Kent Carter | Dale Hillary | Roberto Magris | Shelly Manne | Glen Moore | Jimmy Mosher | Bill Perkins | Ray Pizzi | Herb Pomeroy | Bob Powers | Tim Price | Herb Robertson | Marvin Stamm | David Valdez | Ken Watters | Ernie Watts

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley saxophonist from USA

"… Ironically, I used to admire and hope to be like Charlie Mariano and other guys with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. I thought, 'If I could get into that kind of scene I'd be very happy.' I never thought of assaulting New York. …"

talking to Pat Wilson in an interview for Down Beat, Vol. XXXIX, June 1972
quoted from
Doc Stewart

Jerry Bergonzi saxophonist from USA

"I started playing on the clarinet but I switched to alto sax in seventh grade and tenor in eighth grade. From then on I always played tenor, except when I was eighteen and I used to go to the jazz clubs and listen to Charlie Mariano. I felt so much in love with the way he played that I started playing alto again for a whole year. But after a year, I got depressed and I had to start playing tenor again."

talking to Marco Pignataro, read the full interview here

Kent Carter bassist from USA

AAJ: Other than the trio, what are some of the irons that you have in the fire for the near future?

KC: Different projects; I had my group called the Kent Carter Project, and I started to play with Karl Berger again, which is fantastic because we go back to the old days. He's sounding great. Klaus Kugel, the percussionist, I'm doing a lot of things with him - he started the Kent Carter Project a few years ago in Germany. Charlie Mariano joined us on that gig, Albrecht Maurer, and this wonderful soprano saxophone player Petros Vysniauskis. This record just came out; Karl is on it, and it's from a concert in East Germany.

AAJ: Mariano seems to pop up in the most odd and interesting contexts.

KC: He's a great player, really. I've been doing stuff with him in different combinations, having a good time in Germany. Bobby Bradford has been over here a couple of times recently, too. "

talking to Clifford Allen, read the full interview at All About Jazz

Dale Hillary saxophonist from USA

"Gavin. man, you have got to listen to and study Charlie Mariano and forget about Eric Dolphy, Oliver Nelson and John Handy (I had not met Handy at this point)........Mariano makes them all sound like beginners........well Handy's ok, I guess.""

quoted from Gavin Walker's "Jazz Feature For August 13:the Toshiko-mariano Quartet." posted on August 10, 2007 at the Vancouver Jazz Forum

Roberto Magris pianist from Italy

Marc Myers: Are there other legends you'd like to play with?

Roberto Magris: Oh sure. Yusef Lateef, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Charlie Mariano and Jimmy Heath, for starters.

Read the full interview at Marc Myers' blog JazzWax

Shelly Manne drummer from USA

"Charlie Mariano is one of the most underrated — perhaps THE most underrated alto men in the country. I listen to him in my band every night, and his sense of melodiousness amazes me again and again. His melodic lines are exquisite and he improvises with great consistency. … I don't know any other jazz musician with such a sense of beautiful melodic developments in his solos like Charlie Mariano."

quoted from the liner notes to Beauties Of 1918

Glen Moore bassist from USA & David Valdez

"I played two gigs with Glen Moore this weekend, the great bassist from the group Oregon, and we started talking about Charlie Mariano. He was saying how he has done several European tours with him and that he still sounds incredible. Mariano is eighty-something years old! I think the term Glenn used for Charlie's playing was "balls to the wall". Mariano has been living in Cologne, Germany for some time now and he rarely plays in the states anymore. There are very few of his early straight-ahead recordings still available. He did some classic records with Charles Mingus in the early sixties. He was once married to Toshiko Akioshi in the late fifties and they put out a really great record that is one of my all time favorites. Charlie with Joe Viola at Berklee long ago and later taught there.

In the seventies Charlie went to India to study classical Indian music for several years. He was taught in the traditional way where you're not even allowed to touch an instrument for a long time, you must first learn to sing. Came back to Boston wearing long white flowing robes, sandals and playing the Nagaswaram (sounds like a cross between a oboe, bagpipes and a flock of geese).
More recently he recorded a couple of slamming CDs with master oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil.

In my book Mariano is still one of the greatest alto players ever. He has such a classic yet personal tone, his own musical vocabulary, and an amazing sense of intonation (he is the bend master). He recorded the soundtrack in the late sixties for the movie adaptation of Herman Hesse's masterpiece 'Steppenwolf', if you can ever find a copy on VHS. The film is totally psycedelic and the music is spectacular. I always wanted to go to Cologne (which is a gorgeous city) just to take a few lessons with Charlie, maybe someday......"

posted by David Valdez at his blog

Jimmy Mosher alto saxophonist from USA

David Valdez: Anything that you can remember saying about his musical concept?

Annette Mosher: I remember that Stan Getz told me once that he was happy that Jimmy never chose to play tenor. Jimmy had two heroes - Bird and Charlie Mariano. I once asked him how he improvised - he said that he sees the music staff stretched out in front of him horizontally and he just weaves in and out through the chord structure. "

Jimmy Mosher's widow Annette answering David Valdez' email questions.
Read the full interview at
David Valdez' blog

Bill Perkins saxophonist from USA

Les Tomkins: What's your feeling about the freedom thing?

Bill Perkins: Well, I agree with you. I think that if you start like that, there's nowhere to go. And I understand they manage to get most of the public money too for that kind of music, and they sort of dominate the field because they're given that support.

LT: In my opinion, it's a kind of a confidence trick in some cases. At times it seems inferior talents may be getting exposure, getting paid whereas if they were forced to play, as you might say, 'properly', you would realise that their talent was inferior.

BP: Could be — yes, I suspect that. An interesting case in point there is that Charlie Mariano has gone into many extensions of his playing, and when we were asked to play with a small group up at the Kenton festival, we paired off. Shorty and I played together, Bud and Jiggs Whigham played together, and then Charlie played just with bass and himself. And he played an extended Indian raga.

Some of the people in the audience were dumbfounded, because they expected him to recreate something he'd done with Kenton, but in fact it was a beautifully formalised piece of music — but it was not done by Western harmonies. Generally, the response was positive, which made me very happy. Now, Charlie went on the next day and played "Stella By Starlight" — he went right back to that style to show people he could do it with the best. The point is: in 1956 Charlie was one of the great Parker–style soloists; so where do you go from that spend thirty years trying to improve on Parker? You can't improve on him: he's the original. So I'm in favour of what he's doing.

LT: Well, the difference is to my mind, that Charlie Mariano is a superb musician. He applies musicianship of a high degree to whatever he does.

BP: That's right. So what he does, even if you don't like that particular thing, you at least know that he knows what he's doing. If someone comes at it from another approach, and really can't play at all, and just wiggles his fingers and makes noises, you have to scratch your head and say: "Well, we'll analyse this very carefully."

Bill Perkins talking to Les Tomkins in 1987.
full interview

Ray Pizzi saxophonist from USA

Tim: "Who did you study clarinet with in Boston? And who are your inspirations jazz wise?"

Ray: "I studied clarinet with Attilio Poto at Boston Conservatory. When I went to Berklee from '60 through 64, they weren't accredited yet; they were doing jazz education at Berkeley, and all the classical courses and other courses were out of the Boston Conservatory. I had the benefit of both of those schools!
There were people going to Berkeley then, like Gary Burton, Tony Williams, Steve Marcus. It was a great education. It was incredible. I also learned a lot from Charlie Mariano in my Boston days; he's an influence to me, yes. In my early years, yes, Charlie just made me say "Wow" when I heard him. Though apart from that, I tried to do it my own way; I knew I had my way of playing and it worked for me."

Ray Pizzi talking to Tim Price in January 1991.
full interview

Herb Pomeroy trumpeter from USA

"Nat [Pierce] was one of my earliest and strongest musical influences. While a student at Harvard in 1949, I would cut classes and go to the Mardi Gras club in Boston, where Nat rehearsed. I listened carefully to his writing and the jazz playing of Charlie Mariano. After Nat left Boston to go on the road, I formed my first band in 1952 using some of his guys. My musical career would not have gone in the direction that it did without my relationship with Nat and the players in his early Boston band."

original source and date unknown, quoted from the website of the New England Jazz Alliance

Bob Powers writer from USA

"One of my favorite saxophone players from my youth (the Stan Kenton Orchestra was then my favorite band) was Charlie Mariano, who back in those years long ago played in the Kenton band. Mariano also worked with Shelly Manne. Later Mariano married the pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi and played the first saxophone in her big band for several years. Mariano marks his 75th birthday with his first album in a long while. «Savannah Samurai» (Jazzline Records) contains nothing but originals, including a four-part «Climate Suite.» Mariano shows no diminishing of his remarkable chops. The album has a quality of lushness about it, although sometimes it seems aimed more at the intellect, instead of the heart. However, it's wonderful to have a great musician back and sounding simply superb."


Tim Price saxophonist from USA

"Mariano is my hero....the guy still is playing in his 80s.

GO CHARLIE !!!!!!!!!!!!"

posted on June 29, 2006 in a thread at Sax on the Web
"... Mariano is something else. One day he plays all day he plays ragas and next day he plays with an Oud player doing stuff in 13/8.
If he lived here in the States he'd be not doing as much or as busy. ..."

post in a thread at Sax on the Web

Herb Robertson trumpeter from USA

"... When I was at Berklee some of the students there at the time were Art Baron, Bill Pierce, Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, George Garzone, Danny Hayes… etc. John La Porta, Herb Pomeroy, Charlie Mariano, Phil Wilson were some of my teachers. ...

... Charlie Mariano also had some great adventuresome improvisational small band ensembles that I participated in. ..."

talking to Joe Milazzo, September 2002, read the full interview here

Marvin Stamm trumpeter from USA

"Certainly these experiences had much influence on me, especially in the early years. Stan and Woody were great bandleaders and mentors as evidenced by all of us who came through their groups and have become part of the jazz scene over many years. They helped many of us to learn and grow through their influence and guidance. Through the constant touring and recording opportunities, we had great exposure to the many jazz fans and began to develop our own following. We also were strongly influenced by those musicians whom we sat next to and played with night after night. For me, it was saxophonists Charlie Mariano and Marvin Holiday and trombonist Bob Fitzpatrick on the Kenton band. On Woody's band, it was bassist Michael Moore, trumpeter Paul Fontaine, trombonist Carl Fontana, saxophonists Sal Nestico, Frank Vicari, Bob Pierson and drummer Ronnie Zito."

Ken Watters trumpeter from USA

Question: "You cite trumpeters Woody Shaw and Tim Hagans as influences. But what non-trumpeters have influenced you? How and why have they influenced you?"

Answer: "... Charlie Mariano (his ability to really work many different moods), ..."

talking to Allen Huotari, read the full interview at All About Jazz

Ernie Watts saxophonist from USA

... Though Watts' most powerful influence clearly is John Coltrane, his identity today was also shaped by many other musicians, some of whom he heard as a child. Charlie Parker clearly made a profound impact on him as did several practitioners of non-reed instruments, notably Miles Davis. He pays tribute to Charlie Mariano, whose association with him at Berklee proved invaluable as his style began to reach maturity. ...

from Leonard Feather's liner notes to Ernie Watts' album "Planet Love". Read the full liner notes at

List of musicians who studied with Charlie Mariano

  • Sam Burtis, trombonist, lower brass player, composer, arranger, educator
  • Perry Conticchio, saxophonist, composer
  • Tony Dagradi, saxophonist
  • Alan Futterman, Music Director of the Academy Chamber Orchestra, the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and the Peninsula Ballet Orchestra of Seattle Washington
  • Bruce Gertz, bassist, composer, teacher, author
  • Frank Gratkowski, saxophonist, band leader, clinician, educator
  • Jim Guerra, saxophonist, educator
  • Kent Hewitt, pianist, composer, arranger, accompanist, vocalist, and educator
  • Dale Hillery, saxophonist
  • Nesin Howhannesijan, bassist
  • Charlie Jennison, multi-instrumentalist
  • Anne Kaftan, saxophonist
  • Joe La Barbera, drummer
  • Makanda Ken McIntyre, alto saxophonist, flutist
  • Mike Morris, saxophonist
  • Dawan Muhammad, saxophonist
  • Sgt. Maj. Jim Perry, saxophonist, band leader
  • Billy Pierce, saxophonist, educator
  • Ray Pizzi, woodwinds, composer, arranger, educator
  • Tim Price, jazz saxophonist, electro-bassoonist, multi-woodwind player, clinician, jazz educator, author
  • Alex Riel, drummer, band leader
  • Herb Robertson, trumpeter, band leader
  • Heikki Sarmanto, composer, pianist
  • Al Shikaly, reeds player
  • Howard Shore, composer, conductor
  • Fred Stone, bassist, teacher
  • Edward Tomassi, reeds player, educator
  • Christopher von Volborth, reeds player
  • Christian Weidner, saxophonist
  • Chip White, drummer, composer

Note: The musicians listed above left their mark on the web. I'm sure there are students of Charlie Mariano not mentioned here.

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© hepcat1950 TOP last update: April 14, 2010