PLAYS ORIGINALS AND JAZZ CLASSICS ON NEW CD
26, 1997] -- The big-band sound is alive and well -- at
least when Gap Mangione is at the helm. The veteran Rochester
pianist and arranger showcases his band marvelously in Planet
Gap, a zestful, hour long collection of crisply recorded
jazz classics and Mangione originals.
album, which has just arrived in local stores, features Mangione
as leader, pianist and arranger, heading a 14-piece orchestra.
key guest support are Mangione associates who have substantial
solo careers: drummer Steve Gadd, bassist John Patitucci,
guitarist Dan Schmitt and reed players Gerry Niewood and Pat
on Cafe Records, the album opens with a rousing jazz band
treatment of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," an infectious
track that deserves to be heard regularly during festivities
at Frontier Field.
each verse progresses, Mangione and the band move from a swing
opening to a tradition-bound, waltz-tempo treatment to a hard
driving rave-up finale.
jazz standards on Planet Gap include the easy-swinging
loop of "Groovin' for Nat," the hot Latin rhythms of "Bernie's
Tune," a sexy slow paced reading of "Round Midnight," a funky
"Doodlin'" flavored with Niewood's deep down baritone sax,
and an uptempo swing through "Orange Colored Sky," showcasing
vocals by Rochester singer Cindy Miller.
intriguing, though, is Mangione's arrangement of Charlie Parker's
the tune is bebop standard, Mangione makes it a stylistic
gumbo. He gives it a rock beat but arranges the trumpets into
a modern interpretation of Louis Armstrong's 75 year old landmark
solo on "Potato Head Blues."
of the sort of melodic originals made famous by Mangione's
younger brother, Chuck, will enjoy the album's two-song interlude
that pairs a Gap original, "My Favorite Dream," with Chuck's
"Rochester, My Sweet Home," the tune originally composed for
our city's sesquicentennial in 1984.
the CD's most entertaining track is "Calypso for Janet," a
rhythmic delight that's built upon ascending melody lines
and dedicated by Mangione to his wife.
help launch Planet Gap, Mangione and The Big Band have
scheduled several local appearances in the coming months,
as well as a June 9 gig at New York City's prestigious Blue