Bassist/Composer Mario Pavone has been part of some of the most pivotal milestones in jazz over the past six decades. After being inspired by hearing John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard in 1961, Pavone began playing the bass, settling in New Yok City and making connections with pianist Paul Bley and trumpeter Bill Dixon, participating in what would eventually be called "the first loft era." Pavone went on to tour and record with Bley and Dixon.
In New Haven, CT in the mid-70's Pavone became involved with Wadada Leo Smith and Anthony
Braxton as part of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Form (CMIF), a musician run collective based on some of the precepts of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), organizing and playing in large orchestra concerts featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Marty Ehrlich, Oliver Lake, Ray Anderson, Carla Bley, and many others.
In the mid '80's Pavone became involved in the groundbreaking downtown Knitting Factory scene, building a deep relationship with alto saxophonist Thomas Chapin and becoming part of his highly acclaimed power trio. From 1990 to 1996 the trio recorded extensively, toured in Europe and the U.S., and performed at major international jazz festivals.
After Chapin's untimely passing in 1998, Pavone began a long recording career as a leader, beginning with the New World and Knitting Factory labels. Then touring widely in Europe with an enduring core group of A-list improvisors – Tony Malaby, Steven Bernstein, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Madsen, and Michael Sarin, the bassist was also collaborating on projects with guitarist Michael Musillami and recording over a dozen CD's for Musillami's Playscape Recordings label. At present Pavone has recorded 30 critically
acclaimed CD's as a leader, many placing on Top 10 year-end lists.
For 25 years Pavone has been associated with Litchfield Performing Arts, serving as a board member, an educator at its Jazz Camp, and bringing many of his innovative projects to the Litchfield Jazz Festival stage.
In 2010 Pavone was recipient of a significant Doris Duke Foundation composer's grant resulting in multiple performances and a recording of Pavone's compositions arranged by virtuoso trumpeter Dave Ballou. Pavone and Ballou enjoy an ongoing musical collaboration.
More recently, Pavone focused his composing and performing 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 CD's with his Dialect Trio featuring Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey, the latest released in July 2019 on Clean Feed Records. Among other recent activity, Pavone had been touring and recording with legendary vocalist Patty Waters in a group featuring Barry Altschul and Burton Greene, and recording with long-time associate, trombonist, Peter McEachern on the trombonist's new CD.
In 2020, Pavone enjoyed his home in Florida and in February 2020, Pavone presented a workshop at St. Petersburg College there. He also lent his music to the Helios Jazz Orchestra led by David Manson. A St. Petersburg concert of Pavone's music performed by one of his bands fell victim to the Covid shutdown. In 2019 and early 2020, he did some straight ahead work with vocalist/pianist Karen Benjey in St. Pete and Clearwater clubs. In October 2020, he live-streamed with Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey from the Telefunken Studios in Windsor, CT. The performance was sponsored by Litchfield Performing Arts in recognition of Pavone's 80th birthday. Pavone composed continuously. In 2021, as the carcinoid cancer that had plagued him for 17 years got the upper hand, Pavone managed to make two final recordings. One in February in Tampa, FL with his son Michael Pavone on guitar, Mike DiRubbo on sax, and Mike Sarin on drums. This recording, titled ISABELLA, was dedicated to his beloved granddaughter who passed away in 2020. The second and final recording, BLUE VERTICAL, with Matt Mitchell on piano, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, and Dave Ballou on trumpet, was recorded in March in New York City. This work carried Pavone to the end. He died on May 15, 2021 in the loving care of his wife Mary and sister Josie at his home in Madeira Beach, Florida. His life on earth is over; his music and his tender soul live on.