A saxaphonist with a sense of fulfillment and completion.
CHARLEY LANGER By Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D. M
iles Davis was fond of encouraging others to experiment. "Don't do today," he urged, "what you did yesterday." His words come to life in the title of
jazz saxophonist Charley Langer's recent release, "Never the Same." Describing the process of composing, of creating something that didn't exist before, Langer says, "Music brings a sense of fulfillment and completion for me. Composing in particular," he reveals, "does this for me. I can start with just the smallest idea—practically nothing—and it becomes something that expresses what is deep inside of me, and something that can be felt emotionally by someone else." This drive to create is evident in Langer's admission about
being compelled to play music. "If I'm not physically playing my horn," he admits, "I'm often practicing it in my head!" In his head, he's also philosophizing—not so rare a com -
bination of talents, it seems. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once observed that, "Without music, life would be a mistake." (He also asserted that he would only believe "in a God who knew how to dance.") Langer, too, compares music to life itself. "All of it has meaning and purpose," he says. "I want to embrace all of my life, and not just the happy parts." He reveals that "Never the Same" taught him this lesson. "It was written," he shares, "after a difficult time in my life. I hear sadness in the verse, a transition to hope in the pre-chorus, and a full expression of joy in the chorus." Listen to the melody and you'll hear that joy. "The chorus is
catchy and fun, and it's what everyone remembers," Langer admits, "but it gets its context from the rest of the song." His balanced view of composition comes through in his assertion that, "The chorus would be boring by itself." Not just this song but most of his compositions, Langer
shares, come from his life experiences. He acknowledges that he doesn't really write for the audience. Asked about Aldous Huxley's assertion that after silence, music is "the thing that comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible," Langer says what he wants to express changes from song to song. There