Obituary: Experimental musician Joe Maneri, 82

Posted on: September 2, 2009

In Wednesday’s (9/2) New York Times, Ben Ratliff writes, “Joe Maneri, a composer poised between jazz and classical and a saxophonist and clarinetist recognized later in life as an original force in experimental, improvisational music, died on Monday in Boston. He was 82 and lived in Framingham, Mass. … Mr. Maneri was an influential teacher at the New England Conservatory in Boston for 37 years, emphasizing theory, composition and performance technique. He taught dozens of improvisers who would enliven New York’s music scene from the 1980s onward, among them John Medeski, Marty Ehrlich, Eyvind Kang, Matana Roberts and Matthew Shipp. … By the mid-’90s Mr. Maneri, a round, cheery, charismatic presence with a snow-white beard, was regarded as a musician ahead of his time, a forerunner of the exploratory, eclectic improvised music then flourishing as ‘downtown’ jazz. … Several of Mr. Maneri’s compositions, including ‘Divertimento for Piano, Drums and Double Bass,’ were performed at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1961. Soon afterward he was commissioned to write a piece for the Boston Symphony. … As a composer and musical theorist, Mr. Maneri pursued an interest in microtonalism, music that uses intervals smaller than the semitone, the smallest by Western music standards.”

Posted September 2, 2009