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Charged up again
Chuck Mangione’s storied career
'Guitars Under the Stars Festival'4th annual event with Chuck Mangione and his band, including guitarist Coleman Mellett, opener Michael Ruff and Friends, and fireworks at about 9:20 p.m.
Where: Turtle Bay Resort, West Lawn
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, with food and beverage stations open from 5 p.m.
Tickets: Adults $30 in advance and $35 at the gate; children 4-11 years $15
Call: Ticketmaster, toll free (877)750-4400; for Turtle Bay Resort room packages, call 293-6000
Mangione and his brother, Gap, first attracted attention while performing in a mainstream jazz band, The Jazz Brothers, in which Mangione was compared to the man he refers to as his musical father, Dizzy Gillespie, who gave him an "updo" horn just like his own.
Mangione's years with the Jazz Brothers overlapped with his education at the Eastman School of Music, and eventually resulted in his solo album debut. He left home to play with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, assuming the trumpet chair that had belonged to such great players as Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham, Bill Hardman, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard.
During his first recording contract with a major label, Mercury Records, Mangione received his first Grammy nomination.
Mangione eventually signed with A&M Records, where he recorded two successful releases in one year, "Chase the Clouds Away," used as background music during the telecast of the 1976 Olympic Games; and "Bellavia" ("Beautiful Way"), named to honor his mother.
The Star-Bulletin caught up with Mangione between performances at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, to talk about his long career:
Question: How do you stay inspired?
Answer: The only thing I get tired of is the travel. It was much easier when I started. There's so much more effort to travel than there is for a performance. But it's the performance part that recharges your battery and gets you to keep doing it.
Q: Do you tire of repeatedly having to play fan favorites?
A: Not at all. I feel very blessed that for a guy who honks on a flugelhorn and plays instrumental music there are people who actually have fallen in love with my melodies and still want to hear them. There aren't too many artists who have signature songs, especially an instrumental. You can't believe what people tell me they were doing when they first heard some of my music. And I take no responsibility for any increase in the population.
Q: What was that self-imposed commercial recording exile?
A: I had been on the road for 20 years doing nine months a year all over the world and doing an album a year, so it was time to recharge my batteries, so I stopped.
Q: A lot of different strains that you've explored in other recordings seem to come together in "The Feeling's Back." What do you like most about it?
A: It represents all the ingredients that are in Chuck Mangione music: strong melodic content, good rhythmic foundation, and kinda reflects the experiences we have as a human being. When you're young you emulate the people you love musically, and as you grow, hopefully, it reflects your experiences in life.
Q: The album has a strong Brazilian feel to it.
A: I have always liked Latin music; it's been a part of my music for a very long time. But David Chesky asked me to do this album and he put together a concept that got me really excited because he wanted me to record something that had a Brazilian feel.
Q: How much did recording the album live influence your enthusiasm?
A: Recording live is the most honest way to go. It forces you to give it all you got right then and there. And no performances are ever the same. When you put one microphone in the middle of everybody, there aren't too many options to fix anything later.
Q: Do you approach playing trumpet differently from playing flugelhorn?
A: Absolutely. The trumpet is known for its power and brilliance and strength in the upper register. The flugelhorn has a warmer, mellower sound, and it's rounder and fatter and its strength is in the middle register. A lot of trumpet players who try to play the flugelhorn approach it the same way as the trumpet and really overblow it and end up having it sound like a trumpet.
Q: How did the late Art Farmer influence your career?
A: Art Farmer is my favorite flugelhorn player and I think the best ever. What he did with Gerry Mulligan was incredible. I visited him shortly before he died in a nursing home. His heart was like the sound he made with the horn, very warm. I gave him my new CD, and he said, "Put it on ... Turn it up real loud so they think it's me playing!" I asked him if he wanted to play some because I saw that he had his horn. Then he started playing "The Way You Look Tonight." Just the two of us, we played, and when we were done I said, "Man, I don't think I've played that song in 30 years." He said, "That's a good song to play when you haven't played it in 30 years."
Q: Was Chet Baker an influence?
A: He's one of those people that I always forget to mention. He had a real breathy air sound in his horn. He was a guy who preferred simplicity over musical gymnastics. He never tried to impress anybody.
Q: What about Herb Alpert?
A: Oh, his influence was more that he owned a record company called A&M Records and Jerry Moss signed me in the mid-'70s to the label. I got a letter from Herb one time after he had stopped playing, (and he said) that he heard my "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor" and it inspired him to start performing again. And he recorded it. Herb should definitely get credit for saving the trumpet from extinction because there was a period when there were just two guitar players and a drummer, and that's what every band was. There were no brass instruments at all.
Q: Who would be in your dream band?
A: Honestly? It's the one I'm playing with now, Coleman Mellett on guitar, Dave Tull on drums, Kevin Axt on bass, Jerry Niewood, saxophone and flute.
Q: What in your career would you still like to do?
A: I would like to take the whole world and play for them in my living room and get them that close to the music. I want a 60-piece orchestra and play music for them rather than take it all over the world.
Kapena will perform at K5's summer concert series, "Heineken Hot Hawaiian Nights," which continues through Aug. 19.
» Place: Hawaii Prince Hotel promenade
» Time: 7 p.m. Friday
» Admission: Free
For love of the land
Kawaiolaonapukanileo, an a cappella ensemble specializing in Hawaiian choral music, will perform music honoring the land. There also will be dancing by Paris' Halau Hula O Manoa. The Hawai'i Youth Opera Chorus, Scelto and Na Leo Kuho'okahi Ensembles will also perform.
» Place: Mission Memorial Auditorium, Diamond Head of Honolulu Hale
» Time: 7 p.m. Saturday
» Admission: Free
Celtic and Hawaiian music
Featuring various performers including Daniel Ho, Jennifer Johnson and Jamie O'Brien.
» Place: Paliku Theater, Windward Community College
» Time: 2 p.m. Sunday
» Admission: $19 to $24
» Call: 235-7433