Desert Island Jazz
Gildo Mahones (2013)

(Photo by Brooke Anderson)

Native New Yorker Gildo Mahones was in the right place at the right time when the bebop revolution began, playing as a rising young pianist alongside Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke at Minton's Playhouse with just about everyone who hadn't been drafted. So he ended up playing with Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis when he was barely into his 20s.

After Gildo's own stint in the military ended in 1953, he was part of Lester Young's band for three years. In the late 1950s, he was a member of the forward-looking group The Jazz Modes, which featured the unusual—perhaps unique—front line of tenor saxophone (Charlie Rouse) and French Horn (Julius Watkins); others who rotated through the group included bassists Oscar Pettiford and Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor.

Then came five years with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. When Jon Hendricks did his "Evolution of the Blues Song" at the 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival, Gildo was right there.

Gildo freelanced around New York City, playing with the likes of James Moody, Frank Wess, and Sonny Stitt, and in the 1960s appeared on strong sessions with Kenny Burrell, Ted Curson, and Booker Ervin.

After moving to Southern California, Gildo stayed busy doing his own thing, playing with just about everybody, and, notably, backing singers such as Lou Rawls, Jimmy Witherspoon and Lorez Alexandria. He also has recordings under his own name on Prestige and Venus.

This wonderfully swinging soulful player relocated to Oakland a few years ago in order to be with family.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Lester Young The Ultimate Lester Young Somebody Loves Me Verve
# 2 The Jazz Modes Les Jazz Modes Stallion Dawn
# 3 Charlie Parker Complete Savoy and Dial Master Takes Ko Ko Savoy
# 4 John Coltrane Ken Burns Jazz Afro Blue Verve
# 5 João Gilberto Amoroso/Brasil Estaté Warner Bros
# 6 Shirley Horn Here's to Life Here's to Life Verve
# 7 Lambert, Hendricks and Ross The Hottest New Group in Jazz Blue Columbia
# 8 Gildo Mahones Summertime Summertime Venus
Book Gildo's eyesight prevents his reading much any more
Luxury Item A Star Trek replicator
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