Chuck Mangione – The Chuck Mangione Quartet (1972)

FrontCover1In 1978, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing the instrumental “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione. It ascended to fourth position on Billboard’s Hot 100 that year and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979, ultimately becoming certified multi-platinum.

Unknown to many at the time, Mangione had already established himself as a respected mainstream bop trumpeter ten years earlier on albums recorded for Jazzland and Riverside (alongside his keyboardist brother, Gap) under the moniker The Jazz Brothers. The Chuck Mangione Quartet, along with one other Mercury release, Alive, presents Mangione just before his music took a turn toward more pop-oriented leanings. It captures a vibe that existed in the early ’70s that is missed today, suggested in the cover photo of a long-haired, bearded Mangione, casually dressed in bell-bottoms, long-sleeve t-shirt and ever-present fedora. He’s slouched in his chair, one leg crossed over the other, exuding a sense of relaxation, mellowness and chic. The era saw a transition from hippie culture to yuppie culture — from Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful dead to Windham Hill and ABBA, the introduction of the Sony Walkman, the launch of Don Cornelius’s Soul Train and the overwhelming popularity of disco fueled by the music of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Unfortunately, Mangione, basking in the celebrity accompanying his success, rarely returned to his former musical style.

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The music on . . .Quartet falls squarely in the genre of straight-ahead jazz, but its overall character approaches easy listening. It’s as smooth as silk. There is not a harsh moment on the entire album, and the solos are tastefully executed with nary a false note. The lead off, “Land of Make Believe,” is a bouncy Latin-tinged number with a catchy melody and nice soloing by Gerry Niewood on soprano sax and Mangione on his burnished-sounding flugelhorn. The lovely, lengthy “Self Portrait” features Niewood on understated flute on top of a bed of Latin percussion with Mangione paying a brief homage to Miles Davis in his solo and Ron Davis contributing some fine conga playing. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s modal composition “Little Sunflower” finds Mangione once again channeling Miles Davis before he gets lost in aimless noodling. Niewood, revealing he has listened to a lot of John Coltrane, fares better with a striking solo atop some tasteful, electric piano courtesy of Mangione. Niewood’s composition “Floating” finds the composer doing just that on his soprano sax in this lazy, lyrical number featuring fine solos all around. Niewood is especially effective on one of the album’s highlights, Luis Bonfa’s popular “Manha De Carnival,” where his playing swoops in and around the melody in the tropical mood established by Mangione’s electric piano. Mangione catches fire when the tempo doubles during his solo and lays down some solid horn playing. Drummer Ron Davis and the late bass player Joel De Bartolo provide the music’s rhythmic drive and solid foundation.

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Personnel:
Ron Davis (drums, percussion)
Joel DiBartolo (bass)
Chuck Mangione (fluegelhorn, piano, cowbell)
Gerry Niewood (flute, saxophone, tuba, guiro)

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Tracklist:
01. Land Of Make Believe (Mangione) 8.50
02. Self Portrait (Karshner/Mangione) 10.33
03. Little Sunflower (Hubbard) 9.00
04. Floating (Niewood) 6.17
05. Manha de Carnival (Bonfa) 8.32

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Chuck Mangione – An Evening Of Magic – Live At The Hollywood Bowl (1978)

FrontCover1An Evening of Magic, Live at the Hollywood Bowl is Chuck Mangione’s second live album. It was released through A&M Records. It features Charles Meeks on bass guitar, Grant Geissman on guitar, James Bradley Jr. on drums, and Chris Vadala on several woodwind instruments. It features many of his popular songs such as “Feels So Good”, “Main Squeeze”, “Land of Make Believe”, and “Children of Sanchez”.

Recorded at the height of Chuck Mangione’s fame when “Feels So Good” was still busting up the charts, this double-LP set attempts to recapture the dynamism of his earlier live albums but falls short on a few counts. For one thing, the sound gives the listener no idea of what it was like to be in the audience that evening; there are only fleeting traces of the live presence and electricity of the event in this tightly mic’ed recording. For another, the sense of fresh discovery of a new voice in the Mercury sets is replaced by a mostly self-congratulatory round of reprises from earlier albums, centered in the jazz-funk idiom of Mangione’s then-current quintet (the funkified “Hill Where the Lord Hides” in particular lacks the majesty and tension of the original live version). Mangione and his sidemen (Chris Vadala, winds; Grant Geissman, guitars; Charles Meeks, bass; James Bradley, Jr., drums) are sufficiently pumped up and energetic, sometimes outdoing the studio performances of the material, and there is a 70-piece orchestra of L.A. musicians who mostly form part of the scenery.

LiveThe only “new” stuff (as of July 1978) is a set of excerpts from the film score to Children of Sanchez — a heavily truncated selection from what was heard that night — that comes off pretty well. Of the two live Mangione A&M albums, this one is a more accurate career retrospective, but Tarantella is quirkier and thus more fun. (by Richard S. Ginell)

Booklet01Personnel:
James Bradley, Jr. (drums)
Grant Geissman (guitar)
Chuck Mangione (fluegelhorn, piano)
Charles Meeks (bass)
Chris Vadala (saxophone, flute)
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Nate Alford (percussion)
Richard Chamberlain (trombone)
Larry Covelli (saxophone, flute)
Jeff Kievit (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ron Leonard (cello)
Art Linsner (trombone)
John Mitchell (saxophone, flute)
Adah Mosello (flute)
Keith O’Quinn (trombone)
Jerry Peel (french horn)
John Stevens (tuba)
Frank Szabo (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Jeff Tkazyik (trumpet)
Jay Wadenpfuhl (french horn)
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Gerry Vinci (concertmaster)

Booklet02Tracklist:
01. Feels So Good (Mangione) 9.17
02. The XIth Commandment (Mangione) 6.37
03. Chase The Clouds Away (Mangione) 9.38
04. Hill Where The Lord Hides (Mangione) 5.26
05. Doin’ Everything With You (Mangione) 7.38
06. Love The Feelin’ (Mangione) 7.23
07. I Get Crazy (Mangione) 4.15
08. Land Of Make Believe (Mangione) 9.09
09. Hide And Seek (Ready Or Not Here I Come) (Mangione) 8.39
10. The Day After (Our First Night Together) (Mangione) 7.38
11. Children Of Sanchez (Main Theme) (Mangione) 6.49
12. B’Bye (Mangione) 5.06
13. Children Of Sanchez (Finale) (Mangione) 3.55
14. Main Squeeze (Mangione/Mann/Grolnick/Tropea/MacDonald/Tee/Bassini/Levin) 6.35
15. Feels So Good (Encore) (Mangione) 3.14

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Chuck Mangione – Children Of Sanchez (OST) (1979)

LPFrontCover1Children of Sanchez is the sixteenth overall album by jazz artist Chuck Mangione. It is also the soundtrack to the 1978 film Children of Sanchez. Chuck Mangione won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the title song, “Children of Sanchez”. The title track is sung by Don Potter. (by wikipedia)

Thanks to the Latin-inflected title track, Children of Sanchez became another huge hit for Chuck Mangione. The title song even earned him a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and serious jazz listeners will spot a problem with that award — it was for pop, not jazz. That, of course, is an accurate assessment of Mangione’s music, since there isn’t much improvisation on the album at all. Instead, there’s a selection of Spanish and Latin-flavored instrumentals, arranged as if to give the impression that the album is a song cycle. If so, it’s a song cycle/concept album that doesn’t go anywhere. Nevertheless, there’s enough pleasant music here to satisfy fans of his pop stylings.(by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

About the movie:

MoviePosterThe Children of Sanchez is a 1978 American drama film based on the book and with the same title by Oscar Lewis. The film was entered into the 11th Moscow International Film Festival.

Among those in attendance at the film’s American premiere on November 16, 1978 were President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, who were greeted at the premiere by Anthony Quinn, Ferrer and director Bartlett. Quinn himself escorted the President and the First Lady to their seats, and all proceeds went to the Mexican Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The musical score for the film was written by Chuck Mangione and won a Grammy award. The film’s title song was also written by Mangione and earned him a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. (by wikipedia)

MovieStillThe Children of Sanchez is a 1961 book by American anthropologist Oscar Lewis about a Mexican family living in the Mexico City slum of Tepito, which he studied as part of his program to develop his concept of culture of poverty. Due to criticisms expressed by members of the family regarding the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) government and Mexican presidents such as Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and Adolfo López Mateos, and its being written by a foreigner, the book was banned in Mexico for a few years before pressure from literary figures resulted in its publication.(by wikipwedia)

Booklet02APersonnel:
James Bradley, Jr. (drums)
Dick Decker (french horn)
Grant Geissman (guitar)
Chuck Mangione (flugelhorn)
Charles Meeks (bass)
Jerry Peel (french horn)
George Stimpson (french horn)
Mayo Tiana (trombone)
Jeff Tyzik (trumpet)
Chris Vadala (clarinet, flute, sacpühone)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Children Of Sanchez (Overture) 14.10
02. Lullabye 3.51
03. Fanfare 1.05
04. Pilgrimage, Pt. 1 2.58
05. Pilgrimage, Pt. 2 2.37
06. Consuelo’s Love Theme 17.02

CD 2:
07. Hot Consuelo 4.04
08. Death Scene 4.45
09. Market Place 3.11
10. Echano 2.37
11. Bellavia 3.15
12. Lullabye (vocal version) 3.40
13. Medley 8.20
14. B’bye 8.29
15. Children O Sanchez (Finale) 3.06

All songs written by Chuck Mangione

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SingleSingle: “Children Of Sanchez”