- Category : Entertain-Music-Composer/Arranger
- Type : PE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (45)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 4
American musician, producer and jazz composer, versed in the trumpet, flugelhorn, and keyboards. He was well known in jazz clubs in New York before bursting on to the pop music charts in the late '70s with his hit, "Feels So Good." Mangione has been one of the few jazz artists able to cross over to the pop music charts. His four albums from 1978 to 1980 made the Top 30 Billboard pop charts. Some critics in the music industry feel Mangione's relaxed blend of jazz paved the way for the mass popular audience of clarinetist Kenny G.
Mangione grew up in Rochester, New York with his brother Gap listening to his father's jazz albums. He knew he was different because the neighborhood kids were listening to Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets. His father encouraged his boys' appreciation for jazz, taking them to Sunday afternoon matinees at the jazz clubs. As a kid, he saw the performances of Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Rollins, and Cannonball Adderly. His father invited the great jazz artists to come home with him and enjoy good homemade Italian meals. Musicians and artists were more than happy to eat home cooking while they were on the road. Mangione grew up believing all kids had Carmen McRae and Art Blakey over for dinner.
He studied at the Eastman School of Music in his home town. In his teens from 1960 to 1964, Mangione and his brother worked professionally as the "Jazz Brothers." In 1965, he moved to New York City and played with Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson. He worked with Art Blakey's "Jazz Messengers" from 1965-'67. On Blakey's 1966 live album "Buttercorn Lady," Mangione delivered one of his finest performances. He became the director of the jazz ensemble of the Eastman School of Music from 1968 to 1972. In 1973, he toured the U.S. and Canada with his quartet he founded in 1968. He toured major jazz festivals in the U.S. and in Europe in the '70s.
In the late '70s, Mangione achieved the peak of his fame in the music industry. During the '80s, he continued to tour but his recording career at A&M records stalled. He suffered from major artistic burn-out by the late '80s. In the early '90s, Mangione retired from the music industry for three years. He had to battle his record company to re-release his commercially successful albums from the '70s on compact discs. In 1997, he returned to touring the U.S. and recording his new albums.
Mangione is married with two children. His nickname in the jazz clubs is "The Hat" for his trademark black felt, narrow-brimmed hat and his big brassy flugelhorn.