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Mike Barone was born in Detroit in Michigan on December 27, 1936 and began playing trombone at age 12. Both Mike and his brother Gary were taught by their father, Joe Barone, who played trumpet with the Bob Crosby Orchestra and many other big bands from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Mike graduated from Brush High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1954 and studied trombone, guitar and arranging until 1956, when he was accepted into the West Point Army Band. There he studied trombone with Louis Van Haney of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. After his West Point stint, Mike was stationed in Germany, where he was with Special Services and also formed his first Jazz big band, touring service clubs in Germany.
In 1959, Mike attended Valley College in Van Nuys, California and left school to tour with the Sy Zentner and Louis Bellson Orchestras. Mike spent many years working with Louie and Pearl Bailey, touring, recording and arranging for the band. In 1962, Mike recorded Lalo Shifrin's New Continent, which was performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Dizzy Gillespie's Quintet. The next few years were spent performing and recording with Dick Grove, Pete Jolly, Gabor Szabo, Oliver Nelson, Terry Gibbs and many others. During this time, Mike also wrote and played with Gerald Wilson and 27 of his arrangements were recorded by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and other artists. One of these is the now classic Johnny Hartman album “Unforgettable” of which Mike wrote 7 of the 11 arrangements. Mike played on the Peggy Lee hit recording “Is That All There Is.” Mike and Frank Rosolino formed a jazz quintet that played at the famous Donte’s jazz club in North Hollywood Ca. and other jazz clubs in Orange Co. Ca. Then around 1968 Mike recorded one album with Bob Edmondson and later three with Frank for “Trombones Unlimited” which became classic pop jazz albums. Mike recorded 2 great jazz albums with John Williams and Shelly Manne “My Fair Lady and “Manne That’s Gershwin”.
Mike also performed as a session musician for many film and TV soundtracks, including Harper, The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes, Sweet Charity, Up The Down Staircase, The Thomas Crown Affair to name a few. He also played first trombone on the Mission Impossible theme for the original TV series. In 1964, Mike started his own big band which was featured at Donte's Jazz Club from 1966 to 1969. Mike wrote over 300 compositions and arrangements for the Johnny Carson Tonight Show Band from 1968 till 1992. Other work in Los Angeles included and arranging and composing for television and movies, such as Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Rocky Three, The Grammys, The Midnight Special, Redd Foxx Show and of course the Johnny Carson Tonight Show.
Mike moved to Colorado in 1987, where he released an album on TBA Records featuring Ernie Watts. After spending six years in Colorado, he moved to Vancouver, Washington in 1993.
Mike moved back to the LA area in 1997 and formed a new big band, which has performed at the Jazz Bakery, Clancey's, Ken Poston Big Band Party, The Lighthouse, Vitello’s and the Big Band Jazz Party in Palm Springs. Meanwhile Mike's old big band recording, Live at Donte's 1968, was released around 2000 by VSOP Records.
Mike wrote for the Academy Awards TV Show in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005 for Bill Conte.The Mike Barone Big Band has released 8 CD's since 2005 on Rhubarb Recordings, Mike's own independent label. They are: “ Live 2005!”, “Metropole”, “By Request”, “Class Of 68”, “Flight Of The Bumblebee”, “Live 2005! Redux”, “Birdland” and "La Fiesta". Other releases by Rhubarb Recordings include Trombones Unlimited – “Original Recordings” and "Original Recordings Vol ll", The Barone Brothers CD “Blues and Other Happy Moments” and "The Vamp!" by Turquoise. Two great trombone albums “All My Friends Are Trombone Players” and “The Academy Brass” have also been released on Rhubarb Recordings. Mike is currently writing and planning his next big band CD. The band rehearses every Tuesday morning at the Musicians Union in Hollywood and is open to the public.