Gerry NiewoodView in iTunes
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Gerry Niewood was best known for his association with Chuck Mangione. Niewood was a talented multi-instrumentalist who had appealing sounds and styles on tenor, soprano, and flute. He attended the University of Buffalo and first joined Mangione's band in 1968, but continued studying until he gained a degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1970. Niewood was with Mangione through 1976 and appeared on most of his famous records, adding a strong jazz flavor to the music; however, his solo career never achieved real success (he recorded two obscure albums, in 1976 and 1978, as a leader for A&M). Niewood had a post-bop quartet with Dave Samuels from 1976-1977, led the Sunday Morning Jazz Band in the early '80s, and played with Joe Beck a few years later. But he mostly worked in the studios and freelanced in low-profile jobs until rejoining Mangione in the mid-'90s when the flügelhornist began his comeback -- although Niewood's 2004 album Facets proved the saxophonist/flutist's strengths as a session leader in his own right during the 21st century. He played with Mangione up until February 12, 2009, when, tragically, Niewood and bandmate Coleman Mellett died in the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 en route from Newark to Buffalo, where they were scheduled to appear with Mangione and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra the following evening. ~ Scott Yanow