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Underrated Record: An Evening Of Magic by Chuck Mangione

Chuck_Mangione_-_An_Evening_of_Magic_Live_at_the_Hollywood_Bowl_Cover_artHey folks, it’s Jason Crane, the guy who writes the blog. I was thinking today about underrated records, and one of the first examples that came to mind is An Evening Of Magic, a live album recorded at the Hollywood Bowl by Chuck Mangione.

This was the first record I ever bought with my own money. I grew up in Rochester, NY, where Chuck also grew up, and I was certainly familiar with his music as a kid. So when I finally had some cash of my own (probably from babysitting), I went to a record store in Eastview Mall and picked up a two-cassette copy of this album.

Chuck is a vastly underrated composer and player, in my opinion, and also a great talent scout. His bands were always full of amazing musicians, and this live set is no exception. In addition to a full orchestra, he’s joined by Charles Meeks on bass, Grant Geissman on guitar, James Bradley Jr. on drums, and Chris Vadala on saxophones and flute. Vadala is one of my favorite soloists, and he had a big impact on how I saw the job of a sax player in my early years.

Chuck Mangione has been overlooked by many jazzheads, probably because he had a huge radio hit. That tends to be the death knell for credibility where the hardcore jazz folks are concerned. Not me, though. I love this music and I invite you to check it out.

Got some thoughts on Chuck, or an underrated favorite of your own? Let us know in the comments!

4 comments

  1. I agree with you as I think Chuck Mangione is one of the all time greats and I always loved him. I was fortunate that I haven’t been around too many of the haters of his. I really didn’t get into jazz heavily until 1990 and then I learned so much about it, I fell all in, but Chuck and Chick Corea were the two I knew when I was a little kid in the 1970’s.

    The first album I bought with my own money was Paul Simon’s Graceland in 1986, which I think may be in the argument for greatest record of all time. It just knocked my socks off and I couldn’t stop listening to it for years. Perhaps the best world music album ever in my opinion. It’s not jazz, but Paul liked jazz and incorporated much of it into his own music and style over the the years.

  2. Chuck is one of my favorite artists. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and meeting him in person a few times. For someone who played with Maynard Ferguson and Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (check out Buttercorn Lady) he’s no slouch. Live At The Hollywood Bowl is a culmination of all the great tunes he had written with the quartet and orchestra up through Feels So Good and Children of Sanchez. It’s a high energy, solid performance, considering the very limited rehearsal time Chuck had to prepare for the concert. Check out the Art Blakey book “Hard Bop Academy” Chuck well featured and quoted with all the great Jazz Messengers, a really great read.

    1. Will do, one of the most brilliant jazz minds in the country and the man who introduced and taught me the world of jazz the one and only Andy Cook!

      Yes, I’ve been leading a secret life, and it will have to continue for a few more years, until I’m done. Not being distant, just protecting you and your family. I’ll be back in a few years when I’m done.

  3. Hi Jason!

    What a coincidence! Long ago I had a union course, some 38 years ago. It was a two day course and slept overnight in a beautiful location in Holland. In the morning of the second day one of the course leaders played the ‘Live at Hollywood Bowl’ LP (vinyl) of Chuck Mangione. It was an unforgettable moment when hearing the first tunes of “Land of make believe”.
    Even thinking about it gives me goosebumps again. Yes, Chuck is and will be one of the top artists for me ever since. To be honest the most important moment of the entire Union course was for me to meet the music of Chuck and Big Band Jazz music. When returning home I went to the recordshop and purchased the magnificent album. At home the eyebrows of my parents lifted hearing this music from their son who usually played rock, soul and punk music. The door to the beautiful world of Big Band Jazz was opened for me and the last two years I’m listening to it again thanks to Jihye Lee Jazz orchestra with the album ‘April’ and Miho Hazama’s jazz-album-of-the-year-in -Japan ‘Time River’ . Two great talented women who will continuing the Big Band Jazz in future.

    Oss Holland,April 28 2017.
    Kind Regards.
    Jos

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