After meeting Chuck Mangione five times since 1980, he, along with his quartet
consisting of Chris Vadala on saxaphones and flutes, Peter Harris on guitarts,
Everett Silver on drums, and bassist Gordon Johnson, remembered me when I went
backstage after his concert on Feb. 28. I took this opportunity to ask him for
an interview for the Spectrum. He then called his P.R. man to make an
appointment for the next Friday at 3:45 p.m. at the Sunrise Musical Theatre. I
looked forward to the interview with nervous anticipation. Mangione turned out
to be every bit the professional person as he appears to be in concert. The time
and effort he gave me could not have been better if he were being interviewed
for a Barbara Walters special.
Some of Mangione's achievements in the music world include: 2 Grammy awards, 1
Emmy, and his "Feels So Good" album is moving to double-Platinum status while
his other albums are selling just as fast. One of his most noteworthy honors was
when he was commissioned to write the theme for ABC's coverage of the 1980
winter Olympics. The result was the fabulous, "Give It All You've Got" which he
performed for an "intimate T.V. audience of several million." The interview went
Q: When people think of Chuck Mangione, they think not only of the great music,
but of the long hair, the hat, and the beard. Why the hair, hat, and beard?
A: "There was a hat much like this one that was given to me by two good friends
when my daughter Diana was baptized. Then a couple of pictures wee taken with it
on and it stayed. Then the beard came, the hair got longer...I don't think of it
as a good luck charm or anything although a lot of good things have happened to
me since I've been wearing it. It's like a good friend or finding the right
baseball glove, it stays with me."
Q: Do you still get "butterflies" before a concert?
A:"I think you still have the anticipation, but not a fear. And, if you don't
feel it you might not want to be going out there."
Q: Where do you go for a vacation when your busy schedule allows you to have
A: "We have gone to Islamirada Islands, and fishing in the Thousand Island. We
go to ball games, that kind of thing. But when we get time off, instead of being
a tourist, we just like to go home and be with our families."
Q: What was the highpoint of your life?
A: "Just finding out at a very young age what I wanted to do was a thrill for
me. A lot of people go through their whole lives not knowing what they want to
do, and I think that's bad."
Q: You were on "Magnum P.I", and all of the girls are probably dying to know
what Tom Selleck is really like.
A: "He's a terrific person. He's probably the most modest, unassuming kind of
person I have ever met. He makes you feel totally at ease. He loves what he
does, and he works hard at it. He is a genuine person."
Q: Does Chuck Mangione have anybody he looks up to in the music world?
A: "Dizzy Gillespie is definitely one of my favorite people and I keep very
close ties with him."
Q: There are many people out there who want Chuck Mangione to stay around for a
long time. Is there any end in sight?
A: "WELL..., I really don't know of anything else I could do,...I've been doing
this since I was very young and when I stop performing for a couple of weeks, I
start to twitch...it's kind of like a jogger who jogs every day and suddenly
stops. It's physical as well as emotional. I have no plans to get out and I hope
to stay in for a long time whether it's always in a performing capacit, or a
writing capacity, or with a small group, big group, or a producing capacity, I
really don't know. I'll keep the doors open and I hope to keep involved with
music for a good long time."
Threading through the interview was his obvious understanding and warmth for
people. It is clear that he picked his quartet not only to compliment his style
of music, but also because they share his appreciation for music itself.
I am very greatful for the opportunity to interview one of the greatest
musicians jazz has ever known and it is an experience I will never forget. I
would like to thank my older brother, Matt, who took a half day off to accompany
Bill Myers and myself down to Ft. Lauderdale. I also would like to thank Bill
Myers for the use of his recorder and for the great pictures he took.