Second Spin: Chuck Mangione, Fun and Games
Artist: Chuck Mangione
Album: Fun and Games
From: Vintage Vinyl
Label: A&M Records
What it sounds like: Fluttering flugelhorn flatulence. (Say it five times fast)
Best Track: "Pina Colada." But unfortunately for Chuck, it will always be the second greatest song about Piña Coladas after Rupert Holmes' timeless "Piña Colada Song."
Still, this one ain't half bad.
It opens with some gibberish (the only lyrics on the otherwise instrumental album) that sounds something like "baby baby b'kong baby baby" sung over a tense hi-hat drumroll. After that, it bursts into the most interesting jazz on the otherwise smooth-as-a-baby's-bottom record--with abstract, artful horn solos over a scrambling bass line. Every once in awhile Mangione shouts "Piña Colada."
Worst Track: "Give It All You Got" ABC Sports commissioned Mangione to compose this song for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Mangione, who also composed songs for the 1976 games, performed it live at the closing ceremonies.
It sounds like a cross between porn groove and a smooth jazz workout song. Maybe something that a montage of curling highlights would be set to. There's enough brass involved to build a bed--flugelhorns, trumpets, saxs, trumpets and trombones--and it's all the same inoffensive, whitebread smooth jazz.
Thanks to the Olympics, the song peaked at 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and 12 on the R&B chart in 1980. It was nominated for a Grammy in '81 for "Best Instrumental Composition", but lost out to John Williams' score for The Empire Strikes Back, which blows this shit up like the Death Star did to Alderaan.
Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Art Direction and Design: Junie Osaki. If you look closely, Mangione gives a special thanks to T.I., whose southern rap styling's were obviously a big influence in the making of this record.
-Mangione is best known for the 1978 song "Feels So Good." In 2000, smooth jazz radio stations named it the number one smooth jazz song of all-time, saying it was the "most requested instrumental of the past 20 years." A bitter, tearful Kenny G could not be reached for comment.
-He voices a caricature of himself on the show King of the Hill. He is the celebrity spokesman for Mega-Lo-Mart. Each time he appears a different songs plays, then turns into "Feels So Good."
-Two members of his band, saxophonist Gerry Niewood and guitarist Coleman Mellett, died on February 13, 2009, when their plane, Flight 3407, crashed near Buffalo.
-He's released nearly 40 albums, starting with The Jazz Brothers in 1960 and ending with "The Best of Chuck Mangione" in 2002.