. . . IS IN THE EAR
The Mangione name means a lot here in Rochester. Hometown
sons who have honored our city with their superb musical
output through the last few decades, Chuck and Gap's talents
are not just revered within the Rochester borders but far
beyond. The pianist of the brothers, Gap Mangione performed
with Chuck in The jazz Brothers in the early 60's, until
he released his first solo album, "Diana In the Autumn,"
in 1968. To date, Gap has eight solo albums to his credit,
including his latest, "Ardis," and appears on
ten recordings with Chuck Mangione.
artist who surrounds himself with greatness, not only has
Gap maintained musical company with his brother, but has
often crossed paths with top players like Larry Carlton,
Steve Gadd and Tony Levin. Carlton (noted guitarist from
The Crusaders, as well as his vast solo work) produced a
couple early Gap records, as well as playing on them. While
Gadd (a premier drummer most famous for his work with Eric
Clapton, Paul Simon, The Gadd Gang, and more) and Levin
(the distinctive bassist who has played with King Crimson
and Peter Gabriel's Band, to name a few), were recorded
for the first time on Gap's debut album, and have performed
on many of his subsequent releases. All of these players
reunite with Gap once again on many of the selections on
his new effort, along with numerous other ace musicians
who also lend a hand. Named for his daughter Ardis, this
CD becomes even more special for the lively Ramón
Santiago portrait of her that graces its cover; Gap dedicates
the album to the recently departed artistic genius he calls
"a wonderful friend" in the liner notes.
pure instrumental recording, Gap's precise touch at the
piano gives enough voice and personality throughout the
sixteen tracks, seven of which are strictly solo piano.
His spirited and lounge-styled jazz sound moves from sweet
innocence to sharply sultry to just plain sexy, depending
on the song. Originals like the swingy, "Jason"
(named for his son) and the overtly happy "Our Wedding
Day" shine among a timeless piece like The Beatles'
"Yesterday," where Mangione, Levin and Gadd make
the song all their own. This musical combination also lights
up the melodic and moody "Legacy (Main Theme),"
a Chuck Mangione composition. Gap plays it loose on the
dancey "I Don't Know," which teeters on the edge
of vintage disco, while the cover of The Zombies' "Time
of the Season" includes the original "Sister Jo
(Medley)", adding a nice touch to the jazz-rock version
of this classic.
collection presents a most harmonious excursion where instruments
work in concert with each other. While Gap's illustrious
piano work is the main attraction, his playing... sometimes
understated, sometimes bold... is never overpowering of
the other performers. Just one of the many characteristics
that makes this pianist one of a kind, and continues the
tradition of the Mangione magic.
Note: The Gap Mangione, New Blues Band performs most weekends
at the Lodge at Woodcliff, including Friday, February 8th
and February 15th.