Live from Nightingale Concert Hall. On-Demand thru May 31.
Mayo, a Los Angeles native literally grew up within earshot and sight of musical superstars. His fresh recordings reveal his advancing stylistic range — from his smoother than melting butterscotch a cappella presentation of “If You Could See Me Now” to his commanding, on-point urgency in “What’s My Name,” performed at the 2019 BRIC JazzFest with the band Kneebody. At other times, Mayo uses his body to mimic instrumental sounds with mind-blowing results — you’ve simply got to hear Mayo’s vocal rendition of John Coltrane’s classic instrumental, “Giant Steps.”
Mayo grew up in the studio with his mother, a singer, and father, a saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist. “They would go on tour, sing with people like Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson… all the greats,” Mayo recalls. He listened well and his musical identity was formed long before he hit the stage with his own interpretations of contemporary music, R&B and jazz standards.
After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music, Mayo was coached daily by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Herb Alpert, Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Heath while earning his MFA from the prestigious, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance — an achievement only three jazz vocalists have won. He also received masterclass training from Dianne Reeves — multiple Grammy award winner and NEA Jazz Master Award winner.
Mayo’s career highlights include performing at The White House, The Kennedy Center, on the PBS program “American Voices” with operatic soprano Renée Fleming, as well as the Panama Jazz Festival. He’s recorded and/or performed internationally with Herbie Hancock, Kneebody, Michael Jackson, Usher, Matchbox 20 and Josh Groban, to name but a few. Mayo’s own band was a standout group at the 2019 Playboy Jazz Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival and Monterey Jazz Festival.