CHUCK MANGIONE, HUGH
MASEKELA, AND CLARK TERRY:
In the Sunnyside
High School band I was playing the B-flat trumpet when I be-came fascinated
with the sound of the E-sharp flugelhorn.
But, of course the E-sharp fingering was totally different from that of
the trumpet – like learning a foreign language.
Nevertheless, during my senior year I did make the change.
principal photography was completed on “The Harrad Experiment,” I met with
composer Artie Butler to go over the score.
In the upstairs composing and screening room of his Beverly Hills home,
Artie played the musical score on the piano while I watched the scenes on a
the music and we locked in the sound track score over a three day period. I then inquired about the
instrumentation. He advised that for
most of the cuts he intended to use a trumpet lead. I didn’t say anything at the time, but my
mind was working overtime.
Artie Butler was putting the final touches on the compositions and arrange-ments,
I met with my musical producer, Neely Plumb, who was an award winning record
producer but at the time was best known as the father of Eve Plumb, who played
Jan Brady on the TV series, “The Brady Bunch.”
I asked Neely to con-
Artie Butler to allow me to play the trumpet lead during the recording ses-sions
for the “Harrad” soundtrack; but that instead of playing the trumpet, I would
play the flugelhorn.
that Neely was shocked would be the proverbial understatement. I ex-plained that I had briefly played the
flugelhorn in high school. “How long ago
was that,” he inquired? “Fifteen years,”
I admitted. Neely was
flabbergasted. “Do you even own a
flugelhorn,” he gasped. “No, but I can
always rent one,” was my determined reply.
Neely’s noncommittal reply was that he would discuss it with Artie but
suggested that I not give up my day job.
Butler’s comment was that I was the producer and as such it was my film. I could do whatever I wanted, but that he
would have a studio musician standing by.
If I didn’t turn in a flawless performance on the first take, the studio
musician would step in. I had one week
to find a horn, practice, and get my armature back before the recording session
at Capital Records’ Studio A.
aside, I had the advantage over the studio musicians in that I had the score
ahead of time and was able to practice the numbers. A studio musician, which represents the
best-of-the-best, goes on the clock – is handed the arrangement – given a
couple of minutes to go over it, and then plays his or her instrument without
the luxury of any rehearsal. They are
able to play flawlessly in a cold reading and that’s why they get the big
neighbor, Academy Award composer Hugo Friedhofer (1901 -1981) let me use his
soundproof studio to practice and over the next five days I spend from 7 to 11
p.m. rehearsing the score, over and over.
the moment of truth arrived, I was ready.
Afterwards, the studio musicians who knew that I was not a member of the
union but the film’s producer (playing under the Taft-Hartley Act) were
impressed and to a person told me so.
But it was Artie and Neely’s reaction that I was concerned about. I needn’t have wor-ried. Artie was willing to sponsor my membership
into the Studio Musician’s union and Neely was standing by to book me on future
YEAR LATER: A year later, when composer
Pat Williams was composing the music for the “Experiment” sequel, “Harrad
Summer,” I once again approach-ed my musical producer.
read my mind and said, “I know. You want
Pat to use a flugelhorn lead and give you a week or so to get your armature
back.” Like Artie Butler, Pat Williams
was not about to take any chances. He
had Chuck Magione standing by in case the “Harrad Experiment” session was a
fluke. Between takes, Chuck and I became
close friends and I could tell he admired my work, especially in that I was a
so impressed that after the first recording session, he quickly arranged a duet
version featuring several of my flugelhorn solos and booked Capital Records’
Studio B (the smaller studio) wherein I overdubbed myself. According to Doovid Barskin, Capital Records’
A&R man, this overdub was what made the record album memorable.
YEARS LATER: It was seven years later
before I once again picked up the Flugelhorn.
In 1981, having just returned from covering the Zimbabwe War of
Independence for Reuters, I was producing and directing a television program
entitled “Ad Lib,” later to be aired on the newly formed Black Entertainment
Hendricks (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, later Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan)
was one of the first guest artists to appear in the series. Hendricks once made an album with Clark
Terry, who played both the trumpet and flugelhorn. At the time Terry was with the Tonight Show
and had his own recording contract with Main-stream Records. He also appeared on the concert circuit with
a group of Tonight Show musicians, sans Doc Severinsen, called The Tonight Show
All-stars, led by trumpeter Eugene “Snooky” Young. I asked Jon Hendricks if he would use his
influence to get the Tonight Show All-Stars to appear on “Ad Lib.” He did, and they did.
lunch at Musso & Franks, in Hollywood, Jon introduced me to Clark Terry who
in turned introduced me to “Snooky” Young.
I explained that I wanted the Tonight Show All-Stars to do an entire
half-hour “Ad Lib” show, which normally consisted of five tunes. I further explained that I wanted the
All-Stars to play three tunes of their choosing and two tunes of my
tunes of my choosing were “Coincidence,” and “Child of the Earth,” both written
and made famous by trumpeter Hugh Mesekela.
On “Coincidence,” my intent was to merely sit in with the
All-Stars. However, on “Child of the
Earth,” I arranged a version that pitted Clark Terry and me in a Flugelhorn
battle broken only when Terry breaks into a vocal; the same vocal sang by
Masekela on his MGM album, “The Lasting Impression of Hugh Maselela.”
time I was doing two such TV shows; “Ad Lib,” and a show called “The Rocky
Road,” the latter for the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service
(AFRTS). We taped the 26 “Ad Lib”
episodes at various recording studios over a two day period – every four
weeks. The 59 episodes of “Rocky Road”
were all shot during a one week period on the Chaplin Stage – at A & M
Records – where we shot from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
While we were videotaping a band on one end of the stage, a second band
was setting up on the other end. When
finished with one group all we had to do was turn the cameras around and begin
shooting the second group. I directed
all the “Ad Lib” shows and shared directorial duties with the veteran, Chris
Donavan, on “Rocky Road.”
shows featured the best groups – Jazz and Rock & Roll – that were
available, many coming from as far as Chicago, St. Lewis and New Orleans to
appear on the show. Episodes included
groups like Missing Persons, Tower of Power, Bus Boys, Roach & the White
Boys, Romeo Void, James Harmon Band, Lost Angeles, Great Buildings, Huey Lewis
and many other popular names.
day we were to tape the Tonight Show All-Stars, everything was going according
to schedule. That morning we had completed
a show featuring Jimmy Witherspoon and another with Linda Hopkins. After lunch, we completed the third show for
the day, with Freda Payne. It was
shortly after 2:45 p.m. when we started taping the Tonight Show All-Stars.
p.m. we had completed the first three tunes and now it was my turn to join the
All-Star group for the final two numbers.
It was at this point that “Snooky” Young received a phone call from Doc
Severinsen. Severinsen wanted the band
assembled immediately to rehearse a number that had been added to that nights’
broadcast, at the last minute. Needless
to say, the three previous musical numbers were all we were able to get from
the Tonight Show All-Stars. And,
unfortunately, we were unable to get them back.
so devastated that I never again touched a musical instrument. But that didn’t mean the end of my flirtation
with musical programming. The lead
singer for the Bus Boys, Brian O’Neal (“The Boys are Back in Town”) introduced
me to Huey Lewis. Having previously
appeared at the Purple Onion, Hugh Anthony Cregg, III (Huey Lewis) and I hit it
off from the start.
wanted a series of musical videos to promote his albums and the two of us met
at Huey’s Marin County home, just north of San Francisco to discuss making of
the video that America would embrace and could not get enough of.
pushing for either myself or Chris Donovan to direct. However, Huey decided to go with his own
choice; which turned out to be a good one.
However, Lewis anointed my company (Cinema Arts Productions, Inc.) as
the official production service company for the project.
the moment the video was aired on MTV, in June of 1984, The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll started on its road to becoming an instant
hit. In 1985, Huey Lewis & the News
opened the Grammy Awards with the tune.
In October 1985, “Sports” was certified multiplatinum in the US and
Canada; silver in the UK and Australia.
A few months later, the album went gold in Japan as well. I like to think that the video that I had a
hand in producing might have had something to do with it.