Take Five With Felix Langford
At 13, I fell in love with the art of percussion and I credit my brother, John (Doc), as the one responsible for teaching me basic beats and exposing my ears to some of the hippest and most innovative cats on the jazz scene. He exposed me to trendsetters like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Candido Camero, Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Mongo Santamaria, just to name a few. Love ya Doc!
During the same time, I participated in daily jam sessions on "The Hill" with childhood friends like Pabo "Cuco" Ramos (RIP), "Cele" Perez, Willie Silva, and other Latin compadres. . These jam sessions were a daily ritual for me.
At 15, with only one conga, I joined my first band called The Oddyssey Band. It was redhot 10-piece cover band that included my younger brother Herb (Lil' Jimi Hendrix) on lead guitar, my cousin Mike Moon on bass, and a badass horn section like Earth, Wind & Fire's Phoenix Horns and Tower Of Power's Horns. We went on to win many Battle Of The Bands competitions.
Teachers and/or influences?
Earth,Wind & Fire, Jeff Lorber, Yellowjackets.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I felt the power of emotion that music can bring in movies, commercials, and everywhere. Music makes the world go round!
Your sound and approach to music:
I call my approach NuUrbanJazz with a dash of funk.
Your teaching approach:
Is to let the student first find themselves. Their likes, dislikes, etc. Then and only then can they begin to take a personal approach to learning an instrument.
Your dream band:
Bass, drums, keys, lead guitar, horns, and of course myself on percussion! Norman Brown, Oli Silk, Peter White, Najee. This list could go on and on, ya dig?
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Opened for Najee at African World Fest in Milwaukee years ago when he first hit the scene.The opening reggae song was one I had written and on which I sang lead vocals. Just before taking the stage I looked out at the crowd and saw Najee! The old stage fright kicked in and I hit the restroom and vomited a few times then hit the stage again. The performance went well and Najee even commented on how we had the crowd rockin'!
African World Festival and SummerFest, both in Milwaukee.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
All of Earth,Wind and Fire, because of the deep messages and expert musicianship. Love them!
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Herbie Hancock's Headhunters.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A form of escape into my musical mindset. It's all personal. Just as Mozart, Beethoven, and all the greats conveyed their emotions in their music. It is the same with my music!
Did you know...
I was a zookeepee at The Milwakee. Co. Zoo for over a decade!
CDs you are listening to now:
Workin' on my own project right now. But I do tune in to jazzradio.com when I get the chance.
Desert Island picks:
Anything by Earth,Wind & Fire on Columbia Records.
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Alive and well!
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Exposure and the support of jazz venues when and wherever possible.
What is in the near future?
Just released the title track from my upcoming album, Can We Dance on April 15, 2013. Currently working to complete project. Hopefully, it will soon be released later this year. Dig?
What's your greatest fear when you perform?
What song would you like played at your funeral?
"The Greatest Love of All," by George Benson.
What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
"Reasons," by EWF.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: