Chris Vadala, one of the country’s foremost woodwind artists, is celebrated for his multifaceted career as a professional jazz and classical saxophonist. As a prolific performer, educator, and recording artist, his contributions to the world of saxophone have been immense. Born on June 19, 1948, in Poughkeepsie, New York, Vadala grew up in a musical family, which fostered his early love for music.
In the early stages of his career, he garnered experience as a lead alto player and a featured soloist with the Chuck Mangione Quartet, a connection that lasted for over a decade. Their collaboration resulted in five gold and two platinum albums, and the group even secured a Grammy Award. He was known for his vibrant and energetic solos, which added a distinct flavor to the Quartet’s performances.
Vadala’s musical expertise wasn’t limited to performing. He was a distinguished professor and the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Maryland from 1980 to 2019, where he educated and inspired countless aspiring musicians. His teaching style, grounded in practical experience and a deep understanding of jazz, has shaped a generation of saxophonists. Vadala also authored several instructional books, further solidifying his position as a respected educator.
His discography is extensive, having appeared on more than 100 recordings to date. As a studio musician, he performed on recordings of well-known artists across various genres, including Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Prince, showcasing his versatility as a saxophonist. He also released several albums as a leader, including “Out of the Shadows” and “Point of View.”
Chris Vadala passed away on January 17, 2019, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional music and education. His body of work remains a testament to his talent, dedication, and the profound influence he had on the saxophone community.
Page last updated 6/23/2023.