Microtonal innovator Joe Maneri was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1927, learning to play clarinet from a neighborhood shoemaker and making his professional debut on the Catskills society band circuit at age 17. Three years later, he was introduced to the work of Arnold Schoenberg, the famed inventor of the 12-tone system, and immediately thereafter formed his own 12-tone jazz ensemble, additionally performing in a number of ethnic music combos. A decade of study under composer Joseph Schmidt (himself a former Schoenberg student) followed, before Maneri came to the attention of conductor Eric Leinsdorf, who commissioned him to compose a piano concerto. He made his first recordings for Atlantic in 1963; the session went unreleased for three and a half decades until seeing release (at the instigation of American Splendor writer Harvey Pekar) as Paniots Nine by John Zorn's Avant label in 1998. In the face of recording industry indifference during the early '60s, Maneri was largely silent for the remainder of the decade, finally resurfacing in 1970 teaching theory and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music.