February 13, 2009

2 Members Of Chuck Mangione Band Die In New York Plane Crash

Two members of Grammy Award-winner Chuck Mangione’s band have been identified as among those killed Feb. 12 on the plane that crashed into a Buffalo, New York, house. Publicist Sanford Brokaw identifies the band members as Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett. In a statement Mangione, best known for his smash hit "Feels So Good,” said that he was “in shock over the horrible, heartbreaking tragedy."

Niewood, a flutist and saxophonist, has appeared on albums by Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Jason Miles and Patti Austin. In 2004, he released a CD titled Facets on the smooth jazz label Native Language. Niewood was also the first saxophonist for the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra.

"I am in a state of shock," said Miles. "I knew Gerry since 1974. He was one the nicest, mellowest guys you will ever meet. Gerry was really, along with Grover, one of the first guys who really played contemporary jazz."

Guitarist Mellett, who has performed with many top stars, was called on to replace smooth jazz guitarist Grant Geissman as Mangione’s band guitarist. Mangione and his band were scheduled to perform Feb. 22 in Wickenburg, Ariz.

Posted by Brian Soergel at February 13, 2009 9:58 PM