Take Five With Felix Langford

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Meet 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
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, Candido Camero, Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
, Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
, Grant Green
Grant Green
Grant Green
1935 - 1979
guitar
, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, and Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
1922 - 2003
percussion
, 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
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
1942 - 1970
guitar, electric
) 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.

Instrument(s):

Percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Earth,Wind & Fire, Jeff Lorber
Jeff Lorber
Jeff Lorber
b.1952
keyboard
, Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets

band/orchestra
.

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
Peter White
Peter White
b.1954
guitar
, Najee
Najee
Najee

saxophone
. 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'!

Favorite venue:

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
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
'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?

The mix!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"The Greatest Love of All," by George Benson
George Benson
George Benson
b.1943
guitar
.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

"Reasons," by EWF.

By Day:

Retired.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

A zookeeper.

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