KUNM Jazz Radio Show May 10, 2012

Jack Manno and pianist John Rangel, April 10, 2o11 | Photo by Mark Weber

May 10, 2o12

83 minutes of jazz @ Noon every Thursday – Host MARK WEBER – KUNM Albuquerque, USA – 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web > KUNM.org – Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

Today our guest will be Jack Manno, pianist, arranger, vocal coach, composer, jazz choir director, and resident of Santa Fe. We will be looking into jazz vocal groups of which Jack knows more about than anybody I know. It will be wall-to-wall vinyl from his personal collection.

Well-known to New Mexico audiences as the director/conductor/arranger for his Southwest Jazz Orchestra (2004-2010). “Our first performance was October of 2004 and our last was March 2010 at the Outpost.”

Before that Jack was on the road with the Ray Charles Singers (1962); Perry Como TV show out of NYC (1963); Radio City Music Hall with the Lang-Manno Singers (eight guys, including his musical co-hort Art Lang)(summer 1965); three albums of Irving Berlin music with his Jack Manno Singers (1968); and then an all-star band plus JM Singers, one album of Walter Donaldson music (1973) which we will listen to a little taste on this show. We will also listen to the work his Jack Manno Singers did in collaboration with Duke Pearson (1969), of which, “Cristo Redentor” has been a favorite of mine for years. He free-lanced on the New York scene 1962-1974.

Jack Manno and pianist John Rangel, April 10, 2o11 |  Photo by Mark Weber

Born October 3, 1939, Upper Darby, PA (suburb of Philadelphia) — graduate of Penn State (Class of 1961) — no jazz curriculum existed in the music department those years so Jack contented himself with refining his piano chops, “I listened to a lot of Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk, strangely enough those two disparate musicians are my biggest influence on piano.”

As well, he joined the Penn State Jazz Club and “sometime around 1959 or 1960 the club brought Willie the Lion Smith, and it just blew me away.”

“Marty Paich was the first arranger I really listened to. And Russ Garcia.”

Jack Manno & drummer Cal Haines, April 10, 2o11, Santa Fe, New Mexico |  Photo by Mark Weber

His long-standing trio (15 years at this writing) with Rick Fairbanks, bass, and Arlen Asher, woodwinds, is still active, calling themselves Crosscurrent. Jack moved to Albuquerque in Fall of 1987, relocated to Santa Fe in 1994, which brought him closer to work with the famed Santa Fe Desert Chorale which he joined in 1988 and was a member for “more than ten years,” singing in the bass section. As well, he produced the “jazz cameo” series every year from 1994-1997 utilizing a vocal quartet from the Chorale.

We’ll begin our survey in the 1950s, “That’s when I started listening, when I was in high school, that’s what I know about.”
Double Six of Paris
Swingle Singers
The Four Freshmen
Manhattan Transfer
The New York Voices
Mel Torme & the Mel-Tones

4-part harmony, 5-part harmony, 8-part harmony. Harmony in chorale. Open harmony, close harmony, block harmony.

*All quotations are from telephone conversation May 6, 2012 with Mark Weber

Jack Manno & drummer Cal Haines, April 10, 2o11, Santa Fe, New Mexico |  Photo by Mark Weber


  1. Mark Weber

    Briefly, interesting to note the themes of some of the
    annual “jazz cameos” Jack produced for Desert Chorale.

    1) First jazz cameo was summer of 1994 and was staged
    at the Shidoni foundry — Jack played piano and directed,
    and Mark Tatum played bass, plus 4 voices from the Desert Chorale.

    2) 1995 — Jack became 5th voice to celebrate the 50th
    anniversary of end of WWII — they did Modernaires-type
    material and Johnny Mandell, things like “Straighten Up
    and Fly Right,” etc

    3) 1996 was a Broadway theme’d presentation.

  2. Mark Weber

    I asked bassist Lenny Tischler about his involvement in the establishment of the 10-piece Southwest Orchestra.

    Hi Mark..i was one of the original organizers with Jack and also a board member for a while. I also wrote several arrangements: Lets see…
    I wrote arrangements for the following tunes:

    Alice’s Wonderland, A Mingus tune; I Mean You, a Monk tune; You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, Cole Porter tune; In A Mist, Bix Beiderbecke tune; Leah’s Mood, my original tune. I cant remember if there were any others but that should do it.

    As always, I appreciate your show and the work you do and the wonderful tributes, histories and interviews you do for musicians who dont always get the bold headlines but are essential to the guts of the music,

  3. Lenny Tischler

    Mark..a little more history re Jack. We met in 1985-6 when I was the organizer of the Wet Mountain Valley Jazz Festival (Jazz in the Sangres) in Westcliffe, Colorado. Jack lived in Fort Collins and we hired Jack’s trio. Menage a Trois…with Lynn Skinner, and Pete Jacobs to perform at the Jazz Festival. We became friends and colleagues. We both moved to Santa Fe around the same time and did some gigs together. Jack taught me some arranging skills, edited my scores and also taught me how to use Sibelius…the music writing program.
    I am indebted to him for that. The SJO was a bold attempt to establish a community based music organization. Jack gets a lot of credit for that along with Richard Atkinson.


  4. Lenny Tischler

    How could I forget the Monk Project. That was a program Jack and I organized that preceded the SJO by a year or two. It included quite a few groups of musicians from Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos performing only Thelonious Monk tunes and was performed both at the Outpost in Abq and also in Santa Fe.

  5. Judy Christopher

    Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed ALL THAT JAZZ today !
    Absolutely wonderful !!

    We’ll welcome more of the same, anytime !! :-)

    Look forward to seeing you both sometime soon.


  6. Mark Weber

    sing, Sing, SING jazz rAdio sHow
    May 10, 2o12 KUNM Albuquerque
    Host Mark Weber
    Guest JACK MANNO
    1. New York Voices, “Sing, Sing, Sing” 1999
    2. Four Freshmen “I’m Gonna Go Fishin'” 1962
    arr. by Bill Holman
    3. Hi-Lo’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”
    4. Hi-Lo’s “Mayforth” ibid.
    5. Hi-Lo’s “Bali Ha’i” Lp ALL OVER THE
    6. Double Six of Paris “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”
    7. Les Double Six + Dizzy Gillespie
    8. Jack Manno Singers “Medley” 1973
    9. Jack Manno Singers w/Duke Pearson
    (Andy Bey–featured) “Clara” 1969
    10. Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross “Down For
    11. LH&R “Cottontail” Lp SING ELLINGTON
    12. Swingle Singers “Granada” Lp SPANISH

  7. victor

    Back in the late 60’s there was a jazz/latin jazz program hosted by a fellow that went by the name of ‘THE PRIEST’. It was on there in ABQ, on Friday nights. Any info on this? Thanks

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