As a Chicago native, Mario Abney's trumpet playing fuses traditional and extended techniques in an inventive way. His uniquely personal vision for music endows it with an infinite array of tonal colors. He is recognized for his ability to create pure musical dialogues and hear music in a universally spiritual way. These qualities make him one of New Orleans' most pioneering young jazz musicians.
Trumpeter, composer and bandleader Mario Abney's musical career began at age 7 when he was introduced to the piano by his uncle Arthur. Influenced by both his uncle's playing and the musical background of his church, Abney developed a love and fascination for music that grew throughout his years in high school. It was during this time that his interest turned from piano and drums to wind instruments; however, he continued to hone his percussion skills by playing drums for church services.
Mario's first encounter with jazz was when he heard the sounds of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. This sparked a fascination and soon Mario began to explore music by Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and other great trumpet players who established this genre. During his second year of high school under John McFadden, Mike McGrath and Phill Crews from Thornton Township High School , Mario started playing the instrument himself .
Every weekend Ora Abney (Mario's mother) would take him along with some friends to Fred Anderson’s The Velvet Lounge – an iconic Chicago Jazz Landmark known for its captivating jamsessions that served as launching pads for many aspiring musicians like Mario himself. His experiences at The Velvet Lounge were essential in developing both his own career but also those of countless others around him - allowing them all to blossom musically speaking!
A band scholarship in hand, Mario attended Central State University, Ohio. He majored in Music Education with a minor in jazz studies. "During my college years I became involved Dayton's jazz scene by playing trumpet for several professional ensembles such as the Afro-Cuban Jazz ensemble, Babalu, and the Chicago based House of Twang. I also played for The Afro-Rican Ensemble and SYM during this time." These experiences solidified his passion for music and education.
In 2001, after a few years on the sidelines playing in other bands, Mario Abney was motivated to form his own Quintet. At an event at Dayton's RiverWalk Festival two years later he heard the Hot 8 Brass Band and felt drawn towards New Orleans' vibrant music culture. By spring 2008 him and two of his bandmates had relocated there to become part of its scene themselves. During their inaugural year they were invited onto stage by renowned artists such as Charmaine Neville, Ellis Marsalis, Delfpheo Marsalis, Irving Mayfield and Bill Summers while also getting opportunities to collaborate with George Porter Jr., among many others from that area’s incredible musical landscape.
Fast forwarding to 2024, Mario Abney is once again gracing the stages of his beloved hometown Chicago. From iconic venues to up-and-coming spots, he's become a regular feature with fans eagerly anticipating each and every performance. His music has resonated deeply within their hearts as they look forward in anticipation for what comes next from this creative musician! We perform regularly at Andy’s Jazz Club, Untitled Supper Club, professional sporting games, Salt Shed and many other reputable venues.