“My GAIA 2 is the only mouthpiece that gives me EVERYTHING!”
Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Florida, Dean Mongerio’s music career began at an early age. Initially self-taught, he began on drums, picking up the saxophone at age 12. By age 16, he was performing professionally on saxophone, guitar, and bass, often balancing school while having gigs five nights a week.
In 1995 Dean attended the University of North Florida on multiple music scholarships. After studying with jazz legend Bunky Green for three years, Dean left school and hit the ground running with touring and recording, garnering a vast range of experience in Jazz, R&B, Rock, Pop, Funk, and Gospel, as well as producing and arranging numerous projects and leading several of his own groups in various musical genres.
On the more traditional side, Dean has performed with jazz artists Rufus Reid, Marcus Printup, Sam Rivers, and Danny Gottlieb, as well as contemporary artists such as Chieli Minucci, Marc Antoine, Ed Calle, Chris Standring, Mike Phillips, Craig Chaquico, Will Donato, and Blake Aaron. He’s also performed and/or recorded with a diverse array of mainstream artists including The Temptations, The O’Jays, Steve Cropper, The Drifters, Ryan Shaw, Khristian Dentley (Take 6), and Tony Battaglia (Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Mandy Moore, Shinedown). He has also been featured on recordings alongside Brandon Fields, Mike Miller, and David Sanborn.
Dean produced, arranged, and performed on the debut album In the House for Gospel Artist Manny Luster, which was nominated for the 2009 NIGMA Rhythm of Gospel award for “Traditional Album of the Year”, and won the award for “Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year”. At the same time he had co-founded The Groovemasters, a powerhouse quartet of musicians with the purpose of being able to cover the repertoire of name acts for jazz festivals. The group became the most sought-after band in the area for this, performing with Ed Calle, Jeff Kashiwa, Chieli Minucci, Chris Standring, Will Donato, and many others. They went on to write and perform their own material, which landed them in opening act slots for names like Waymon Tisdale, Nestor Torres, Gerald Albright, Bob James, Chuck Loeb, and Pieces of a Dream. In 2010, The Groovemasters released their eponymous EP, and their original song “Brown Rice” – featuring Dean’s “fiercely funky saxophone playing” – won the Top Jazz Song of 2010 by Indie-Music.com.
In 2011 Dean moved to London and immediately got to work with his own groups, performing at several famous venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, and Charlie Wright’s. In January of 2013 he joined the two-year European tour of the production New Jersey Nights, where he was the featured soloist. The show performed in A-list venues all over the UK and Europe – including the Edinburgh Playhouse and Liverpool’s Echo arena – with Dean garnering consistently rave reviews for his performance.
Late 2015 saw the release of Dean’s solo album debut Inter/change. This album includes 10 tracks of all original compositions in a wide range of styles, along with Dean’s unique and inventive approach to using effects pedals with the saxophone, and features the talents of guest stars Khristian Dentley (Take 6), John Turville (Gilad Atzmon, Tim Garland), Anton “TC” Castillo (Akon, Jeff Kashiwa), Kevin Glasgow (Tommy Smith, Randy Brecker) and many others.
Dean’s first two radio singles were In the Bag (one of the top 5 “Most Played” tracks in 2015 as reported by Radiofacts.com) and Get It Done, both of which landed in the top 25 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart, and the top 15 on Smoothjazz.com’s radio chart.