What Instrument Does Chuck Mangione Play? A Quick Insight

Chuck Mangione, an acclaimed American musician, gained widespread recognition for his talents as both a composer and performer.

Best known for his melodic playing style, Mangione has established a lasting legacy in the world of music. But what instrument has he become so closely associated with, capturing the hearts of listeners worldwide?

Instruments Played by Chuck Mangione


Chuck Mangione is most well-known for his skillful performances on the flugelhorn. As an American flugelhorn player, trumpeter, and composer, Mangione has gained widespread recognition for his contributions to the world of jazz music.

His mastery of the flugelhorn has given this instrument a unique voice within the jazz community and showcased its versatility and rich tonal qualities.


In addition to the flugelhorn, Chuck Mangione is also proficient in playing the trumpet. He first gained attention as a member of Art Blakey’s band in the 1960s, where he played the trumpet. Later, he co-led the Jazz Brothers along with his brother Gap, showcasing his remarkable trumpet skills.

Although Mangione is more associated with the flugelhorn, his trumpet performances have contributed to his longstanding career in the jazz domain and established him as a multi-talented musician.

Career and Musical Style

Early Years

Chuck Mangione was born in Rochester, New York, on November 29, 1940. He began his musical journey at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied and eventually started performing on various instruments, including electric piano, keyboard, trumpet, and flugelhorn. As a trumpeter and composer, Mangione developed a unique style that would captivate audiences for decades.

The Jazz Brothers

In the 1960s, Chuck Mangione and his brother Gap formed a mainstream jazz band called The Jazz Brothers. During this time, Chuck Mangione played trumpet and was heavily influenced by artists like Art Blakey.

They gained prominence through their skillful performances and compositions, establishing a foundation for Mangione’s renowned musical career.

Solo Success

Chuck Mangione succeeded significantly as a solo artist, particularly with his hit composition “Feels So Good,” released in 1977. This flugelhorn-based instrumental track became a staple in the smooth jazz genre and showcased Mangione’s talent as a composer and performer.

The track’s popularity helped solidify Mangione’s status as an influential musician in the world of jazz.

Film and Television

In addition to his recording career, Chuck Mangione has also made various contributions to film and television. Notably, he made multiple appearances on the animated series “King of the Hill” as himself, further expanding his reach and influence in the entertainment industry.

His music has been utilized in numerous film soundtracks, demonstrating the versatility and impact of his musical compositions.

Signature Recordings

Feels So Good

“Feels So Good” is a standout piece in Chuck Mangione’s repertoire. Released in 1977, this tune showcases his exceptional skills on the flugelhorn. The track quickly gained popularity, becoming one of his most well-known works. At the 21st Grammy Awards in 1979, “Feels So Good” received a nomination for Record of the Year and separately for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

The song remains an iconic example of Mangione’s melodic playing style, highlighting the flugelhorn as a key jazz instrument.


“Bellavia” is another essential recording in Chuck Mangione’s career, earning him his first Grammy Award in 1977. This composition, named after his mother, won in the category of Best Instrumental Composition.

The piece was recorded during Mangione’s collaboration with saxophonist Gerry Niewood, with whom he formed a popular quartet throughout the 1970s. The success of “Bellavia” further solidified Mangione’s reputation as a talented composer and flugelhorn player in the jazz world.

Children of Sanchez

The album “Children of Sanchez,” released in 1978, is a notable work in Chuck Mangione’s discography. This double album serves as the soundtrack for the film adaptation of the novel The Children of Sanchez. The album earned Mangione another Grammy nomination in 1980 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

The title track, as well as other songs on the album, features Mangione’s skillful flugelhorn playing and composition abilities. Overall, “Children of Sanchez” is a testament to Mangione’s competency in blending his talents with film scoring, further broadening his musical spectrum.

Collaborations and Influence

Working with Other Artists

Throughout his career, Chuck Mangione has had the opportunity to collaborate with many accomplished musicians. As a member of Art Blakey’s band, Mangione honed his skills alongside other jazz greats like Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Clifford Brown.

Additionally, while co-leading the Jazz Brothers with his sibling Gap, Mangione played with artists such as Kenny Dorham, Bill Hardman, and Joe Romano.

In the 1970s, Mangione formed a successful ensemble, which included talented musicians Gerry Niewood on saxophone, Chris Vadala on saxophones and flutes, Grant Geissman on guitars, Charles Meeks on bass guitar, and James Bradley Jr. on drums. Notable collaborations also took place with revered musicians such as Chick Corea and Steve Gadd.

Influences on Chuck Mangione

Many artists have influenced Chuck Mangione throughout his life, shaping his musical style and how he plays his primary instrument, the flugelhorn. Jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie have impacted Mangione’s approach to music, and his time with Art Blakey’s band played an essential role in refining his sound.

Mangione was also mentored by trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, as well as drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, further cementing the foundation of his jazz training.

Influencing Others

In return, Chuck Mangione has significantly impacted the music world, serving as a source of inspiration for countless jazz enthusiasts and musicians. His 1977 jazz-pop single “Feels So Good” showcased his skills on the flugelhorn, popularizing the instrument in mainstream music and further broadening the reach of jazz.

Mangione’s unique style, combining smooth sounds and melodic compositions, has undoubtedly left a mark on the jazz genre and popular music as a whole. Trailblazing artists, such as saxophonist Frank Pullara, have been known to cite Mangione’s work as an important source of inspiration for their own musical careers.

Awards and Recognition

Chuck Mangione is a renowned musician who plays the flugelhorn. Throughout his career, he has garnered numerous awards and recognitions for his exceptional talent.

Mangione’s composition “Bellavia,” which was recorded during his collaboration with the band, won him his first Grammy Award in 1977 for Best Instrumental Composition. Another famous composition titled “Chase the Clouds Away” gained significant attention when it was used during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec.

In the following years, Chuck received even more awards and accolades for his outstanding work in the music industry. His 1980 single and album “Feels So Good” reached new heights and became one of the most recognized melodies since the Beatles’ “Michelle.” Chuck’s success continued with a total of 14 Grammy nominations throughout his career.

In 1979, Mangione performed at the prestigious Hollywood Bowl, further solidifying his reputation as a prolific flugelhorn player. Apart from his Grammy achievements, Chuck’s music has also been part of notable events, such as the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980, where his song “Give It All You Got” served as a theme for the games. Although he has not received a Golden Globe award, his music has been featured in movies and television shows, reaching a wider audience and enhancing his visibility as an artist.

Overall, Chuck Mangione’s accomplishments in the world of music are a testament to his skill and dedication as a flugelhorn player. His awards, recognitions, and contributions to significant events have played a significant role in making him a prominent figure in the industry.

Personal Life and Legacy


Chuck Mangione, an American flugelhorn player, and composer, has been known for his philanthropic activities throughout his career. With his fame in the world of jazz, he has used his influence to give back to society and support various charitable causes.

Later Years

In his later years, Mangione continued to be active in the music industry, composing and performing as a solo artist and with his trio. He has recorded with several prestigious labels, such as A&M Records, Columbia Records, and ventures like Journey to a Rainbow and Love Notes. Unlike many jazz flugelhorn players, Mangione has also shown versatility by performing on electric piano and cornet.

Mangione gained notable mainstream recognition when he composed and performed the theme for the 1976 Olympic Games. This exposure further cemented his status as a prominent musician in the American jazz scene. Mangione is known for his signature white and red jacket and has become an influential figure for aspiring musicians.

Apart from his own records, Mangione has had the opportunity to collaborate with renowned artists such as James Bradley and Billy Joel. His music has continued to captivate audiences with its unique jazz and pop elements blend.

Furthermore, Mangione’s legacy expanded beyond music as he made a cameo in the popular animated television series “King of the Hill.” In the show, he portrayed himself as a Mega-Lo-Mart employee, adding a touch of humor to his already impressive career.

As a confident and knowledgeable musician, Chuck Mangione has left a lasting impact on the world of jazz, securing his place among legends like Les Paul. With a neutral and clear tone, Mangione’s music has brought joy to many over the years, and his legacy as a talented composer and performer will be remembered for generations to come.



Chuck Mangione’s discography includes several noteworthy albums featuring a blend of jazz and pop music. In 1975, he released the album “Chase the Clouds Away” under Mercury Records, showcasing his melodic, uncluttered style. “Land of Make Believe” followed in 1973, featuring The Boys from Rochester and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mangione gained further recognition with his 1977 album “Feels So Good,” which included the single “Hill Where the Lord Hides.” The popularity of the album led to his music being played in disco clubs and by various radio stations. Some of Mangione’s other notable albums include “An Evening of Magic,” recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl, and “Tarantella,” which was released in 1980.

In the later years of his career, Mangione ventured into other endeavors. He recorded the album “Friends & Love” with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1971 and later signed with Chesky Records to release “Keep in Sight” in 2000.


Apart from his well-known albums, Chuck Mangione also released several singles throughout his career. “Give It All You Got,” a single released in 1980, demonstrated his ability to fuse jazz with pop music. This single, alongside others like “Hill Where the Lord Hides” from the album “Feels So Good,” became iconic in Mangione’s discography.

Mangione’s versatility was also showcased through his incorporation of various instruments, such as the saxophone, and his collaborations with renowned musicians like The Boys from Rochester. St. John’s Nursing Home fundraisers also featured Mangione’s music, further illustrating his dedication to giving back to the community.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.