Mangione, along with his brother Gap, emerged from the culturally rich town of Rochester, NY, home of the Eastman School of Music. After graduating from Eastman, Mangione became a staple on the national jazz scene, with a powerful quartet that included saxophonist Gerry Niewood (a future member of Dave Brubeck's Quartet); bassist Tony Levin (later a mainstay with both King Crimson and Peter Gabriel); and drummer Steve Gadd (arguably one of the best drummers in the world today and the main drummer for both Eric Clapton and James Taylor). After signing with A&M, who took a big chance getting behind a jazz artist trying to release pop records, his career took off with the success of "Feels So Good" in 1977.
In the mid-1970s, Chuck Mangione was arguably the most popular jazz musician in America. With the hit single, "Feels So Good," he had scored the first major Top 40 pop hit from a jazz recording since Dave Brubeck's "Take 5," and helped launch what would become the "smooth jazz" genre.
During this period, Mangione (and his brother), had received the full promotional and financial backing of their label, A&M Records, in the same way that the label had gotten behind acts such as Peter Frampton, the Carpenters, and Cat Stevens. During this period and shortly thereafter, Chuck Mangione was selling out venues as prestigious as the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall.