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Sounds from a More Laid-Back Time Coming to Devou, Courtesy of Kentucky Symphony

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra will catch the sun on Wednesday, August 6, featuring the smooth sound and crossover jazz classics of Chuck Mangione, Spyro Gyra, Deodato, and Chick Corea for a free concert in Devou Park.  

“These tunes and artists were heard everywhere in the ‘70s and early ‘80s,” said KSO Music Director James Cassidy. “It was kind of our collective instrumental sound-track for a more laid back time.”

The Phil DeGreg Trio (including pianist Phil DeGreg, bassist Aaron Jacobs and John Taylor on drums) will be featured, along with Brad Myers on guitar and Brian Malone on assorted percussion.

This is the 22nd summer that Cassidy has been programming a variety of musical genres from ragtime to crossover jazz “that have all but disappeared from live performance,” Cassidy asserts.

Saturday’s concert offers several Spyro Gyra hits (“Morning Dance,” “Catching the Sun” and “Heliopolis”) “by Jay Beckenstein, who was the reed man for the group. Steel drums, marimba along with rhythm and sax created Spyro Gyra’s signature sound, and infused their tunes with a breezy tropical flavor.”

Chuck Mangione’s 1978 concert and live recording at the Hollywood Bowl was dubbed “A Night of Magic.” And Cassidy says those hits will return, “with a slightly scaled down accompaniment” of “fabulous Mangione tunes” “Feels So Good,” “The Hill Where the Lord Hides,” “Land of Make Believe” and “Children of Sanchez.”

Brazilian Emuir Deodato’s funk/jazz fueled version of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” rocketed to #2 on the Billboard Hot-100 singles chart in 1973, and won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental.

Chick Corea’s rhythmic “Spain” has become a jazz standard.

The depth of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky talent pool is the reason KSO can program this concert, Cassidy said. “You can’t begin to play this music without musicians who get it, know it, and have played it. This music is really all about style.”

Side-men Hal Melia (reeds), Rob Parton (flugelhorn), and Dominic Marino (trombone) headline the crew fronting the KSO for the concert. “It will make cloud and star-gazing both a sonic and visual treat,” Cassidy promised.

Catching the Sun, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6. Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Devou Park, Covington. Free admission and parking, donations suggested. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. .Picnics welcome, Buona Vita Pizzeria food truck will be on hand serving meatball sliders and more. Guests can also phone-in catered orders and pick them up in the park (menu on-line

A round-trip TANK Shuttle from Covington Catholic to the band shell runs from 6:00 -7:30 p.m., $1 each way. For more information, call the KSO at visit the KSO at 859-431-6216 or visit

-Staff report
Photo: Chuck Mangione (Wiki Commons)