August, 2009, has been a horrible month for the jazz world. First it was Rashied Ali, then Les Paul. Now, AllAboutJazz.com and Time Out New York report that saxophonist and innovator Joe Maneri died last night at the age of 82.
Maneri labored mostly in obscurity, introducing the twelve-tone compositional technique into jazz and pioneering the use of microtones in composition and improvising. Though widely unknown, he was a great influence and mentor through his long stint as a teacher at the New England Conservatory, the first fully accredited jazz education program in the United States. In the ’90s, however, his son Mat Maneri – a jazz violinist who also engages with microtones – lured Maneri out into live performance and recording, where he found steady work in the Downtown scene until his death.