August 31, 2001, performance reviewed by Dave Conlin Read
Chuck Mangione dispensed with the formalities and opened his set Friday night with the familiar Land of Make Believe, giving the big crowd at Ozawa Hall what they came for right away. The 60 year old central New York native, who made ‘fluglehorn’ a household word three decades ago, then proceeded to lead his six piece band through a dozen numbers of thoroughly convincing jazz, before closing with the equally familiar Feel So Good (plus the encore Freddie’s Walkin)
Rendered threadbare by the jammed jukebox of pop culture, those huge hits seem incongruous containers for the big, bright, and bold tunes they book-ended. Best known as the maker of those memorable, romantic, melancholy melodies, Mangione tonight showed himself to be a savy leader of a very bluesy jazz band. Chuck Mangione – Amazon page
The solos were done craftily so that the audience didn’t lose the focus of the tune – they coalesced to serve the song, rather than sacrificing the song to serve the solo. Like in the third number, a tune that’s even more familiar than Mangione’s biggies, and one in which Mangione and his outfit accomplished the unbelieveable task of making it sound and feel as fresh as a thunder storm.
They built a boisterous, unabashed blues out of Amazing Grace, a tune that’s included in the new album Everything for Love, and the tune that this auditor will be coming to hear the next time this band comes around.