Mat Maneri, a leading improvisational voice of his generation, was born in Brooklyn in 1969. He began studying the violin at the age of five, but since borrowing a viola for a jam session at the 1998 ECM festival in Badenweiler, he has made the viola his instrument of choice. Maneri co-founded the legendary Joe Maneri Quartet with his father, drummer Randy Peterson, and bassists Ed Schuller and John Lockwood. The quartet’s recordings for ECM, HatOLOGY and Leo Records were widely acknowledged by critics and fellow musicians as among the most important developments in 20th century improvised music. Maneri’s 1999 solo debut on ECM Records marked his emergence as a musician with a singular, uncompromised voice. Pianist Matthew Shipp called him “one of the five greatest improvisers on the planet”, reflecting a growing consensus of Maneri as a central figure in American creative music.
Since then, the long list of musicians with whom he has worked includes icons such as Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Paul Motian, and William Parker, as well as influential 21st century bandleaders such as Joe Morris, Vijay Iyer, Matthew Shipp, Marilyn Crispell, Joelle Leandre, Kris Davis, Tim Berne, and Craig Taborn.
Important influences on Maneri’s work – in addition to all the major forces of jazz – include Baroque music (which he studied with Juilliard String Quartet co-founder Robert Koff), Elliott Carter, and the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, which was also of central importance to his father, the late, great saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator, Joe Maneri. Jon Garelick has written of Maneri’s distinctive style: “Maneri’s virtuosity is everywhere apparent – in his beautiful control of tone, in the moment-to-moment details that unfold in his playing, in the compositional integrity of each of his pieces, in what visual artists might call the variety of his ‘mark-making’: spidery multi-note runs, rhythmically charged double-stops and plucking, subtle and dramatic dynamic shifts.”
The Mat Maneri DUST Quartet features Mat Maneri (viola), Lucian Ban (piano), John Hébert (bass), and Randy Peterson (drums).