Charley Langer

A classically-trained saxophonist, Charley Langer developed his technique under such masters of the instrument as Vincent Gnojek, Douglas Masek, and Laura Hunter. His experience includes numerous live venues, television, and radio; as well as performances with notables Morton Gould, John Adams, Zita Carno, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and others. During a temporary relocation to Hawaii, Charley worked as a sideman for several local entertainers, including island chart-topper Jon Basebase ("Suddenly"), the Bobby King Royal Combo, and the Willie Barton Orchestra.

Charley has played and/or recorded with contemporary Christian artists Annie Herring, Julie Meyer, Chris DuPre, Pablo Perez, Gregg Stone, and others. He has also been a contributing performer on numerous independent recordings. Produced by Ron Wikso, Charley's new solo CD Never the Same features world-class jazz musicians Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report), Wally Minko (Jean Luc Ponty), and Michito Sanchez (Joe Sample).

Although his current musical focus is on recording and composition projects, Charley makes time to perform with the award-winning Sacramento band, Steelin' Dan.

Charley was recently interviewed by Jeffrey Callison, host of KXJZ's (NPR) Insight radio program. During the interview, Charley discussed his music, the making of his new album, and did a live wind synthesizer demonstration, which you can listen to here.  

How do you describe your music to people, Charley?
Intelligent smooth jazz: Phil Woods meets Boney James.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
At my pleading, my dad bought me an alto saxophone when I was in the fifth grade. I still remember the feel and smell of it. I slept with it under my bed so I could reach down and touch the case.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I love my wife and kids -- whatever they're doing, that's what I want to be doing. But if what they're doing can incorporate fishing a remote trout stream, that's certainly a bonus!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Getting sucked into focusing on details.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
An aeronautical engineer or a saxophonist. There is still a "nerdy" side to my artistic nature. Why else would I put a twelve-tone funk piece on my album?

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I was fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood that valued the arts. Last I heard, my high-school had five jazz bands -- and the school isn't that big. I had the opportunity to study music with excellent teachers at an early age.

What other artists out there do you love?
I grew up listening to Paul Desmond, Richie Cole, and Phil Woods. I never get tired of listening to Michael Brecker. The Yellowjackets, Weather Report, Dave Weckl, and Chick Corea are also in pretty heavy rotation on my iPod right now.

What does your future hold?
A band to promote my original compositions? Could happen...

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