The relative rarity of vibraphonists in the history of jazz remains one of the musical genre’s true mysteries. Despite the natural beauty of the instrument’s sound and the historical importance and celebrated popularity of its most famous players – Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson – comparatively few artists have chosen to make the vibraphone their primary means of expression. Fortunately, Joe Baione has and on Oh Yeah!!! - his second outing as a leader and impressive successor to his distinguished debut The Superhero – he shows that the vibes and the mallets with which he plays them are in very good hands.
A native of the state of Delaware, Baione grew up in a jazz drenched musical environment. His father, the clarinetist-saxophonist-educator Jim Baione, is a graduate of Philadelphia’s prestigious Combs Conservatory of Music, where he earned both his B.A. and B.Mus.Ed. degrees and first met Joe’s musician mother, Barbara. The other musical members of the Baione family include Joe’s two older brothers, bassist Tom and guitarist Jimmy. Following in his father’s foot steps, Joe studied both music education and jazz performance, graduating from the University of Maryland in 1995. Since then he has gone on to become a passionate and creative band teacher by day and an energetic and innovative band leader and performer at night. Baione is also President of Delaware Charitable Music, Inc. and serves as producer of the annual Jazz, Blues & BBQ in the Park, a festival he co-founded with the mission of bringing live jazz and blues to the young people of his community.
In 2003, Joe had the good fortune to meet saxophonist/composer Benny Golson, when the jazz legend participated in a series of clinics and benefit concerts in Delaware. The two forged a lasting friendship and Golson became an important mentor to the vibraphonist, encouraging him to pursue his dual dream as a jazz musician and music educator. Golson’s appraisal of Baione as “a young man with vision who is able to realize the future today” is one that has inspired the young veteran vibist to reach for the stars. Following the release of his first album in 2005 the eminent jazz critic Dr. Herb Wong noted that ”Baione's CD is refreshing and not the same old rinky-tink sound you hear in vibe players today.” This disc delivers on the promise of that first effort and demonstrates the continued development of one of the most gifted mallet men in jazz today.
On Oh Yeah!!! Baione builds upon the success of The Superhero using the same stellar sextet instrumentation with one important addition to the lineup – that is the enlistment of veteran producer Todd Barkan as a member of the team. Barkan, who regularly worked with Hampton-Jackson-Hutcherson triumvirate of vibists (as well as many other of the music’s most important artists) during his years as owner of the legendary Keystone Korner says, “In addition to being one of the hardest swinging members of his generation of vibers, Joe consistently reaches his listeners with the distinctiveness of his musical voice as both a truly creative virtuoso on his instrument and an increasingly compelling composer. In short , both his playing and his tunes speak more and more clearly and strongly to us."
Baione's performance resume continues to grow. He has performed at the prestigious Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in Montego Bay, Temecula Valley Jazz Festival and has performed at such festivals as The Cape May Jazz Festival, The Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, and The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Performance venues include, The Jazz Bakery, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in NYC's Lincoln Center, The Kimmel Center and Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia and Sydney's Blues and Jazz Restaurant, just to name a few. In the past two years Baione has opened for Michael Bolton, Monty Alexander, Joey DeFrancesco and in April Joe will open for the legendary Dave Brubeck.
Baione has won several awards including "Teacher of the Year" in 2003, "Emerging Jazz Artist" in 2005 by Philadelphia Weekly and "Rising Star of Tomorrow" by Jazz at Lincoln Center.