Mario Pavone 1940–2021

May 23, 2021 505

BY: Michael J. West

Mario Pavone, a bassist, composer, and bandleader who came to music late but spent half a century exploring the cutting edge of jazz, died May 15 at his home in Madeira Beach, Florida. He was 80. His death was reported in numerous outlets and confirmed in a family announcement. Pavone had been fighting cancer for 17 years; a native of Connecticut, he spent his twilight in Florida.

Growing up in the industrial city of Waterbury (“The Brass City”), Pavone seemed set in his youth to join its ranks, earning a degree in engineering from the University of Connecticut. However, attending John Coltrane’s funeral when he was 26 proved to be a life-altering experience—and one that earned jazz his lifelong devotion. Within months, he had joined pianist Paul Bley’s band and was touring the United States and Europe.

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