(Mack Avenue Records)
Not unlike Bobby McFerrin, vocal virtuoso Michael Mayo astonishes audiences with his remarkable dexterity, conjuring a full band with just his voice and tape loops. As the son of two musicians, the Los Angeles-born Mayo grew up watching performers such as Diana Ross, Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder from the wings. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music, he was just the third vocalist accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, where he studied under Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Luciana Souza. Since then, the New York-based musician has performed at the White House and Kennedy Center, and collaborated with jazz-world luminaries including Gretchen Parlato, Christian Sands, Ben Wendel and Theo Bleckmann. His upcoming album, Bones (Mack Avenue), provides a showcase for Mayo’s engaging artistry, as heard on “The Way,” a lush synth-and-keyboard-powered track that splendidly displays his remarkable range with multi-tracked Take 6-like harmonies.