Rochester native Chuck Mangione was born into a large, music-loving family.

Chuck has often recalled that his father, a tremendous jazz fan, invited touring musicians who were performing in Rochester home for a good Italian dinner and some wine. While he was still a boy, Chuck had met a Who’s Who of 1950s jazz royalty, including such great artists as Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughan, and the man he claimed as a “musical father,” Dizzy Gillespie.

With so much great music in his childhood, it is no surprise that Chuck attended the Eastman School of Music, playing trumpet and graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in music education. BY that time he had recorded several albums with pianist brother Gap, performing as The Jazz Brothers.

In 1968, Chuck Mangione returned to Eastman, directing the Eastman Jazz Ensemble until 1972 and helping to expand the School’s jazz programs. In 1970, he also presented the famous Friends and Love concert with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, which was recorded for Mercury Records and shown numerous times on PBS. When Chuck left Eastman, he was well on his way to “household name” status as a composer, arranger, flugelhorn player, and bandleader.

Within the next ten years, Chuck had won two Grammy awards and an Emmy, and his album Feels So Good became one of the most successful jazz albums ever produced. An estimated 90,000,000 people heard Chuck perform at the closing ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. An honorary doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1985 put Chuck in the company of such American musical icons as Aaron Copland, Isaac Stern, and Rudolf Serkin. In May 2007, Chuck received Eastman’s Alumni Achievement Award at a concert recreating Friends and Love.

Newsweek began a profile of him with the words: “Chuck Mangione makes jazz that sounds the way he looks – ingenious, upbeat, and instantly likeable.” For his own part, Chuck has said,  “If you’re honest and play with love, people will sit down and listen … My music is the sum of all I have experienced.”