May 18, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Nick Mancini focused his early musical years on the drums, practicing hundreds of hours. He never intended to take up the vibraphone. But a college program required him to learn an instrument that could produce a melody and he chose the vibes.
Mancini hasn’t looked back. He graduated cum laude from SUNY Postdam’s Crane School of Music in New York and earned a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music’s jazz program. He has performed extensively in New York and Europe playing vibraphone with top bands. As a sideman he has recorded with Julian Fleisher and his Rather Big Band, Johanna Grüssner’s Manhattan Jazz Orchestra and Dave’s True Story. As a bandleader, he has written, recorded and produced music.
On May 23 Mancini will bring his talents to La Sierra University’s Pierce Street Jazz series. The Nick Mancini Quartet will take the stage with Gary Matsumoto on piano, Ramon Banda on drums, and Henry Franklin on bass.
The concert will take place at 7 p.m., at the La Sierra University Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. The alumni center is one block from the university main campus in front of La Sierra Natural Foods market. Admission is free. For additional information call 951-785-2148.
“Songs are at the heart of what I do,” Mancini says in his biography. “I try to stay connected to the songwriter’s original intent. I think that keeps listeners engaged in a way they aren’t typically used to when listening to instrumentalists. Also, I think that there’s an element of surprise in my playing--not that I’m trying to pull any fast ones. But I do feel that my sense of humor comes out in my playing.”
Mancini’s band members are experienced musicians whose extensive backgrounds include performances with such notable names as Al Jarreau, Freddie Hubbard, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Bradford, Count Basie and many others.
Bassist Franklin’s extensive musical background includes performances on more than 150 albums and compact discs including gold releases, many of which he produced. Last March he released his 24th album, “Soul of the World,” recorded with his band on his SP Records label. His band’s 2009 album, “Home Cookin’,” features the renowned Barbara Morrison on vocals. The project received airplay on KJAZZ 88.1 FM.
Franklin has played his upright bass with numerous jazz and pop greats and was part of the legendary Hugh Masekela’s band during the late 1960s. When not on tour in various parts of the United States and the world, Franklin performs at The Historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif.
Drummer Banda performed 24 years with the Grammy award-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He is a current band member with famed jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. Banda grew up in Norwalk, Calif., part of a large musical family. He started out on the guitar but switched to drums in 1967. Banda and his electric bass-playing brother, Tony Banda, performed weekend gigs during their school years with several bands including with Poncho Sanchez. In 1996 he and Tony formed their own ensemble, The Banda Bros. Group, with Tony on upright bass. The duo has performed on numerous worldwide tours and with many famous acts. Over the past two decades, Ramon has performed on more than 22 recordings and recorded and played with such music greats as Dizzie Gillespie, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Diana Reeves and others.
Pianist Matsumoto graduated in 1999 from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s of music degree and in 2002 from the California Institute of the Arts with a master’s degree. At UCI he studied with Dr. Lorna Griffith and with Miles Davis pianist Kei Akagi. He studied with David Roistein at the art institute.
Matsumoto’s performance and recording experiences include work with film composer Nathan Wang, with famed MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer in his opening performance for Cheap Trick, and performances with international recording artists Coco Lee, JJ Lin, Vivian Hsu, and Jenny Tseng. In 2008, SP Records released “The Matsumoto Trio - Days Ahead.” Other playing credits include work with Franklin, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Rodriguez, Clayton Cameron, Charles Owens, Mark Ferber, Jeff Littleton, Ricky Woodard, Jeff Clayton, Herman Riley, Sam Most, and Phil Ranelin.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University