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Gap Mangione

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By Mary Kunz

The Buffalo News

[June 6, 1997] --They recall the vanished days when big bands crisscrossed the country, entertaining at glamorous dances. But there's nothing musty or old-fogeyish about Gap Mangione's Big Band -- a bouncy, brassy 13 piece outfit based in Rochester. Gap Mangione, Chuck's urbane, piano-playing brother, fell under the spell of big bands while he was still a boy. As a student at Syracuse University, he played in big bands accompanying entertainers like Sammy Davis Jr, and Nat "King" Cole. Even now, though he performs occasional solo and trio gigs, the big band is his first love. He has three trumpets, three trombones, four saxes, plus rhythm section and vocalists.
Any time they swing through Buffalo, it's a glitzy happening event. You never know who will turn up -- guest performers over the past few years have included locals like Dave Schiavone and Jeff Jarvis. And you're never sure exactly what the band will play -- a mix of blues, bop, Latin numbers and romantic standards, with occasional calypso and funk thrown in. (Most recently, in honor of summer, the band has recorded a unique "Take Me Out To The Ball Game.") The only thing that's predictable about Gap Mangione's Big Band is a big, enthusiastic audience, Mangione's wide, unwavering smile -- and the certainty that whatever happens is going to be fun