Smooth Jazz with Charley Langer
Get ready to let your heart and mind be moved by one of the most refreshing smooth jazz artists in recent time.
There’s no doubt that Charley Langer, a Northern California based saxophonist, can connect with thousands of contemporary jazz fans.
Langer incorporates everything from smooth contemporary jazz to rock/fusion, old school soul/jazz, Latin and straight ahead/swing. The result is best described as intelligent smooth jazz – think Phil Woods meets Boney James. The title track Never The Same, that everyone is hearing on The Weather Channel and Smooth Jazz Radio, is great but just scratches the surface of Langer’s many musical muses.
“Never the Same” is the culmination of years of writing and hard work in the studio, and features some incredible world-class talent, including Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report), Wally Minko (Jean Luc Ponty) and Michito Sanchez (Joe Sample).
It lives up to its name in that each of its ten tracks has its own distinct vibe, personality and set of musical influences. Written to reflect a challenging time in his life, the easy funk title track finds Langer in a slight melancholy mood in the verses, feeling hopeful in the pre-chorus and hitting his stride, breaking through to the light on the exuberant chorus. The tropical, Latin-flavored “Epifania” introduces the listener to Langer’s wistful melodic soprano, his colorful horn texturing and Wally Minko’s lively acoustic piano. The similarly vibrant and percussive “Outside In” features a playful jazzy sax melody and Minko’s Fender Rhodes coolness over Matt Bissonette’s bubbling bass groove. Following the lighthearted and melodic “Refuge” is the edgy jazz/rock fusion ballad “Remember When”—the first song Langer composed for the album. It begins as a moody sax driven ballad, then evolves in emotional intensity and a touch of gritty blues with Griffey’s blistering electric guitar intensity. Minko’s Hammond B-3 adds an old school bluesy jazz flavor to the bouncy mid tempo funk of “City Lights,” which features Langer at his alto strutting best.
Though the seductive reflection of “Gray Skies” has a gentle melancholy feeling, Langer actually wrote it on a very hot Sacramento afternoon when he was dreaming of a cooler, cloudy day. He calls the album’s spirited; straight ahead jazz/swing excursion “Upside Down” because it was inspired by one of his favorite Charlie Parker tunes, “Confirmation.” To create the classic big band vibe, Langer says he flipped Parker’s song upside down, so his song is rhythmically similar to the original tune but the melody moves in a completely opposite direction. Never The Same wraps with the in-the-pocket, soaring “Once In A Lifetime” (which features colorful horn textures and brass flourishes) and the dark, haunting “Expressivo”, an ambient piece which includes a tender call and response pattern between Langer’s emotional soprano and Mark Morris’ acoustic guitar.
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