Sherwood Mangiapane

Sherwood Mangiapane

Click here to listen to Mangipane’s audio interview @ MusicRising

Mangiapane (1912-1992) was considered one of the all-time great New Orleans bassists. He worked with Johnny Wiggs, Raymond Burke, Edmond Souchon and the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble and was a Preservation Hall regular.

Mangiapane played his first paid gig as a drummer aged eleven, switched to sousaphone during high school and, unable to afford his own, was loaned his first string bass by bandleader Joe Clesi. Mangiapane’s German grandfather ‘played all string instruments’ and showed him how to tune it, but neither objected to his intuitively idiodextrous approach nor suggested restringing.

Mangiane admired the ‘slapping’ style of Pops Foster (1892-1969) and adopted a similar technique. Unlike Loyacano, Mangiapane recalls playing mostly four to the bar – ‘a nice, flowing, easy beat’.

Video of Mangiapane performing in Art Ford’s 1958 all-star ‘New Orleans Jazz Party’ reveals how that four to the bar feel was nevertheless slap-based and very different to a modern walking feel:

Mangiapane’s left hand is clearly ‘popping’ the strings away from the fingerboard in typical slap style. The thumb of his right hand is visible on the side of the fingerboard, indicating a technique not overly concerned with fast mobility of the fingering hand:

Tech 1 close

Unfortunately, no evidence has yet surfaced regarding Mangiapane’s own thoughts about the consequences of adopting an idiodextrous approach.


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