Hey 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!