Meet The Sultan Of Sonic Soul™

Gus Mancini, a notable career spanning 20 years and counting.

Gus Mancini, The Sultan Of Sonic Soul™, has performed time and again at Green Kill with The Sonic Soul Band and Spirited.

The one of lineups of Sonic Soul performing at Green Kill featuring, left to right Peter Head, E.c. Lorick, Nfamara Badjie, Larry Packer (hidden) and Gus Mancini.

Gus never tires of playing. Now into year seven, Sonic Soul features a roster of 4 to 12 players, a rotation of over 50 different musicians. A great gig is a product of natural chemistry. There or no rehearsals. The musicians love the fact that Gus asks nothing of them other than to play something they never played before. No doubt, the musical freedom accounts for Sonic Souls longevity. It’s obvious, Gus and the players always have engaging smiles on their faces. An event is a jam session, rare blend of classical, big band, and improvisational jazz music. Many of Gus Mancini’s recordings are available here.

Have a listen to Thance and Dance in Blue

In his Own Words

Ten Questions

Do you remember when you first saw yourself as an artist?

8 years old playing a little Beethoven piece on Clarinet at an assembly in grade school.

Do you have anything you feel compelled now to say about your art?

For me it shows that the depth of your surrender, to a note, reveals your heart and in that vulnerability is the power of the music you can share.

Is there an artist that keeps coming back to you for inspiration?


Do you feel you have support from colleagues?

Always have, never a thought until this question, perhaps it’s because I am always listening.

Do you feel removed from the conventional world?

Never a conflict. It creates opportunities to grow not just in your creativity askIng why am I here?:

What is it like to wake up everyday for you?

Just moving from one dream into another.

What role do you see your art having in society?

Make people recognize the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing seems to enter the ear and then has to pass through giant road block we call a brain with all its conditioning and never gets to the heart where listening happens.

Do you get high from creating?

Yes with my feet on the ground.

What are you not being asked that you’d like to share?

Nothing really, probably one answer, perhaps One word, would have been enough, 

Surrender, Understanding not a giving up, but a moving to.

When are you most happy?

When I don’t pursue it, It just comes over me and I am grateful In that moment, which in turn, helps to face all the arrows and the flowers ...

Gus Mancini The Sultan Of Sonic Soul on Saxophone

About Gus Mancini

Gus Mancini, also known as The Sultan Of Sonic Soul, is a family member of the Woodstock Roundtable’s Sunday morning Radio Show on WDST at 100.1 FM. Gus has now performed on the show over 300 times, live on air, spanning 20 years and counting. The Sonic Soul Band is one of the most unique bands in the Hudson Valley because their performances are TOTALLY improvised. The Sultan, a master of improvisational saxophone, with a varied musical career spanning 60 years, has performed with many of the elite of all genres of music. Most notably he’s performed with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and for many years in the great Cathedral of Saint John Divine in NYC. At the Cathedral, he’s been accompanied by the well known Native American contemporary group The Hawk Project.

Now what truly makes the Sonic Soul Band unique is the addition of Master Nfamara Badjie. Master Badjie is one of the very few remaining (drum)masters from Gambia, West Africa with dual citizenship in the USA. In fact, he is the only ONE in America playing the Bugaraboo drums. Nfamara is helping to keep this ancient tradition of gathering and dancing alive. Badjie has been drumming since he was 4 years old. The Sonic Soul Band creates grooves and explorations in the moment. Master Badjie plays his ancient rhythms with an unparalleled energy alongside world class improvisers weaving spontaneous musical forms ranging from modern experimental jazz to classical, to funk, and to blues soundscapes. As The Sultan likes to say about these performances, "What you’re hearing will be for the first time and the last!"

He has produced and performed on many albums including Samadhi and Sunrise with didgeridoo master Phil Jones on Intuitive Sound productions with both c.d.'s reaching the top 10 on the Indie charts. He has also produced a Parents' Gold choice award children's album, The Shooting Star Express. He has produced the eclectic group of jazz and poetry Odd City, and co-produced and performs with The Hawk Project, one of the leading contemporary Native American Jazz ensembles in the country.

He established the Brooklyn Conservatory Jazz Program and has lectured on the directions of world music at Oxford University and the Royal Conservatory in England. He is currently co-producing the Woodstock Roundtable radio show broadcast live on WDST radio in Woodstock, NY, and webcast over and AOL. He performs with some of the top poets, writers and musicians in the nation such as poet laureate Robert Bly and author Robert Thurman.

Some of Mancini's compositions were recently performed by Mancini and The Hawk Project with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra under the direction and orchestral arrangements by Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer in Flagstaff, Arizona.


Gus Mancini Bio