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Gap Mangione

Gap Mangione

The Daily Messenger
[October 17, 1997] --

Occupation: Musician

Place of Birth: Rochester, NY

Marital Status/Children: "My wife's name is Janet and I have two grown children, Ardis and Jason."

Schooling: "I went to Franklin High School and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in liberal arts and music."

How I Got Started in Music: "My family was always attracted to music and I was lucky enough that they offered me piano lessons, which I started at age six. However, I often spent more time doing pieces I wanted to do than what the teacher had assigned. Also, my grandparents had a player piano. I used to sit for hours pedaling the piano and watching the keys go up and down. It gave me time to observe, to hear what the piano could do."

Where I perform: "The majority of my performances are at the Lodge at Woodcliffe."

Memorable Music Highlights: "There was one memorable performance in the late '70s when [my brother] Chuck led the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in front of 10,000 people and I was the featured pianist. The place was so big that it was a quarter or a mile from the stage to the back seats. Another standout happened about a week ago, when Oscar Peterson [72], the great jazz pianist, was at Woodcliff and stopped to hear me play. I felt like a teen-ager when I saw him, because it's not often that one gets to perform in front of one's idol."

People I've Met Along the Way: "I've met some incredible people, many major political figures like Gerald Ford, Jack Kemp, and George Bush. One person that really had me floored was Sophia Loren, who I met at the Strathallan. We even carried on a conversation in Italian about her son, who was interested in music."

On Going to Bed Late: "There's so much energy that comes off after a performance that I usually go home and compose/arrangelate at night. I usually get to bed by 2 a.m. and we often tell people we get up at the crack of 9."

What I Enjoy Best About My Career: "My major perk is that I play music for a living. It's the best thing I can do."

Music Preference: "It's like choosing between your children! I like jazz, classical, and big-band."

Favorite Childhood Memory: "My father would take Chuck and me to musical performances, often outdoors or places far away. We often traveled to Crystal Beach, Ontario Canada, where there was a huge dance hall. We saw every major big band you can imagine."

A Pet Who Owned Me: "None. I lavish my attention on my children and my wife."

My Favorite Form of Exercise: "It's a tie: either bicycling or walking -- and I usually walk along Lake Ontario since it's near my home."

Latest Book Read: "'The Singers and the Song,' by Gene Lees. It's about music and musicians, and I gave copies to my children,telling them to read it to understand what I was all about."

I Enjoy Cooking/Easting: "Pasta. My mother used to -- and my wife does -- make a unique red sauce. When I was a child we'd have it twice a week. and now we have it more often. I'm not into cream sauces, only red, and we often add other things like peas or cauliflower. Meat is mostly used for flavoring. It's very healthy."

Stuck to My Refrigerator Door: "A picture of Miles Davis smiling and a phone number of an Italian specialty store where we order sandwiches."

Ideal Vacation: "North and South. We like the Adirondacks on a quiet lake with a canoe -- places like Blue Mountain Lake. In the past, I used to spend the first three months of winter in Miami or L.A., something I really enjoyed at the time."

You'd Be Surprised to Know That: "For a person whose business is so public, I like to be quiet, spending time in my back yard, which resembles an arboretum. I don't even have background music on."

On Living in Rochester: "I've always had a home here, but most of my life I've traveled elsewhere. I'm convinced that when you've been elsewhere and come back home, you come to realize how good Rochester really is."