MANGIONE BROTHERS SEXTET : THE JAZZ BROTHERS
Chuck Mangione (tp) Larry Combs (as) Sal Nistico (ts) Gap Mangione (p) Bill Sunders (b) Roy McCurdy (drs)
NYC; August 8, 1960
1.Something Different (6:06) (Chuck Mangione)
2. Secret Love (6:31) ((Webster-Fain)
3. Alice (6:15) (Gap Mangione)
Struttin' With Sandra (4:05) (Chuck Mangione)
Nemesis (5:01) (Larry Combs)
The Gap (5:13) (Gap Mangione)
Girl Of My Dream (6:01) (Charles Clapp)
This album serves to introduce to most of the jazz public one of the freshest and most vibrant young groups it has ever been our pleasure to hear, an incredibly mature and richly talented unit that seems destined to make a long, deep and wide impact on the jazz world.
We say “most” of the public, rather than “all,” because we can think of two sets of listeners who have already had a preview exposure to the Mangione brothers and their associates. One is made up of residents of the Rochester, N.Y., area, where the band has been playing for enthusiastic club audiences since the Fall of 1959. You might suspect such audiences of being influenced by local pride, but the second set of listeners clearly were judging the band strictly on merit. That was the crowd in attendance at the second night of the 1960 Randall’s Island Jazz Festival, in New York City, where the Mangione group, playing in the curtain-raising spot customarily allotted to new talent, brought down the house so thoroughly that they were brought back for an unprecedented encore appearance in mid-concert.
Shortly before that festival triumph had come the recording of this album, which came into being because Cannonball and Nat Adderley (who ought to know a good brother team when they come across one) had heard the group during a visit to Rochester and had been mightily impressed.
This is amazingly young band. There have of course been more than a few individual jazz stars discovered at very tender ages; but for a full group this young you probably have to look as far back as Chicago in the ‘20s and the Austin High Gang. Gap Mangione reached his twenty-second birthday barely a week before this record date; his brother and co-leader, Chuck, was 19; the two saxophonist are both 20; the bassist and drummer are both in their early twenties. But there is no need to label them as merely “promising.” Instead, the principal reaction must be one of wonderment at the high degree of skill and polish, so far out of proportion to their slim quantity of years, that they are able to combine with their youthful vigor and excitement. Even after hearing them, it’s still not easy to believe. And the very fact that the soloists are white is bound to upset those who hold certain hide-bound theories about jazz feeling.
A look at their background reveals considerable variety, but some patterns in common. Pianist Gap Mangione and drummer Roy McCurdy are largely self-taught; the others have had varying degrees of musical schooling. (Trumpeter Chuck Mangione attended both the preparatory and the regular undergraduate departments of the famed Eastman School of Music; altoist Larry Combs, who was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and played clarinet in the Charleston Symphony at the age of 13, came to Rochester to study at Eastman.) all of them – obviously – began playing at very early ages;’ both tenorman Sal Nistico (born in Syracuse, N.Y.) and bassist Bill Saunders have already served apprenticeships on the road in rhythm-and-blues bands. McCurdy (who, like the Mangiones, is a Rochester product) and Saunders (a second Charleston-ite) played in military bands while in the service. All have been able to listen avidly to recorded and live music. Rochester draws a more-than-average share of traveling jazz, so that Chuck Mangione for example can note that, escorted by his father, he was able to meet and even sit in with groups led by such as Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, etc., while still a very early teen-ager. (The “up-do” trumpet was a present from Dizzy – who handed over his born in a spontaneous gesture of approval after hearing Chuck play!)
There are limits, of course, to how much of their accomplishments can be credited to how they have learned and how they have listened to and been influenced by. To a large extent it must simply be accepted that Gap, Chuck, San and the others are naturals, that their grasp of modern jazz and their spirit and imagination they bring to it are basically from within – undoubtedly heightened and hastened, but not created, by such fortunate circumstances as early exposure and having been able to find each other early.
This last point is certainly of importance, though. For this is definitely a band. Linked by similar tastes and by love for the music, the sextet has meshed into a tightknit unit in very short order, so that the term “Jazz Brothers” can readily be taken as applying to the group as a whole, not just to the two related co-leaders. The program they offer here, mixing their own tunes and standards, ably demonstrates this. It ranges from soulful numbers like Something Different (with its unusual and impressive ensemble choruses) and Struttin’ with Sandra through the more complex Nemesis to a straightforward swinger like Secret Love.
The present recording is also available in Monaural form on RLP 335.
The heading “A Cannonball Adderley Presentation” designates a series of albums – of which this is the fourth – conceive, organized and supervised by the many-faceted Julian Adderley, already known as a major instrumentalist, leader of a top-ranked quintet, an incisive and articulate writer on jazz subjects and a highly perceptive judge of jazz talent. On these LPs, Cannonball will spotlight either completely new or comparatively neglected artist he finds particularly worthy of attention.
Riverside is proud to be able, in turn, to present Adderley, one of our most distinguished recording stars, in this unusual and uniquely valuable role.
Previous albums in this series are –
Sound of the Wide Open Spaces: James Clay and David “Fathead” Newman (RLP 12-327;
Stereo RLP 1178)
Dick Morgan at the showboat (RLP 329; Stereo RLP 1183)
The Texas Twister: Don Wilkerson (RLP 332; Stereo RLP 1186)
Adderley is represented musically on several outstanding Riverside LPs, including –
Them Dirty Blues: Cannonball Adderley Quintet (RLP 12-322; Stereo RLP 1170)
Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 12-311; Stereo RLP 1157)
Produced by JULIAN “CANNONBALL” ADDERLEY
Notes by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Recording Engineer: BILL STODDARD (Bell Sound Studios)
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.