The Smooth Jazz Place is the place to discuss the genre’s music, artists, news, and related subjects. Not coincidentally, this also happens to be the blog of Charley Langer, a Northern California-based contemporary and smooth jazz saxophonist. Charley’s latest musical project 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.
Charley can be reached at: www.charleylanger.com.
“It’s amusing that Langer affectionately refers to Never The Same as his little art project, because normally that phrase means something a musician does for himself (and maybe a few friends) that has minimal mainstream commercial appeal. He takes an artistic approach to contemporary jazz for sure, mixing in a lot of dynamic old school soul-jazz textures (Fender Rhodes and Hammond B-3) and touching on various related styles, from Latin and edgy rock fusion to (on the album’s coolest, most unexpected excursion, “Upside Down”), straight ahead jazz. But avant-garde this isn’t. In fact, it’s one of the most infectious and engaging, instantly likeable in the pocket independent artist releases this year. It’s funky, it swings, it’s playful, it’s emotional – that’s a lot of places for a musical heart to go on one collection, but Langer does it all naturally and organically, supplementing his sharp array of sax sounds with real instruments and a lot of live band interaction. The title track everyone is hearing on The Weather Channel and YouTube is great, but just scratches the surface of Langer’s many musical muses. Let’s hope he does another “little art project” soon. All contemporary jazz albums should be this exciting.” Jonathan Widran, Jazz and Wine Blogger
“Saxophonist Charley Langer, who’s studied under jazz masters and performed with numerous artists on stage, brings his musical chops to the forefront in Never the Same, his debut CD. It’s smooth jazz with bite, beefed up with contributions from world-class musicians. The title track is a smooth jazz and YouTube hit, a free-flowing track with a memorable chorus and angular solos from Langer and electric guitarist Kurt Griffey. Langer is lively on “Epifania”, combining his soprano and alto sax attack with brassy trumpet and trombone from Tom Marino. Langer can jazz it up, as he does with “Giant Steps”-like runs on “Outside In” and “Upside Down”, a swinging straight ahead number. Blues influences seep into “Remember When”, and a dreamy Rhodes interlude from Wally Minko spices up the ballad “Refuge”. Sax, Hammond B3 and guitar lead the attack on the energetic “City Lights”, which leads to the after-party slow-burner “Gray Skies” and Langer’s long sax lines.” Brian Soergel, JazzTimes