Matt Langley is a reed musician, educator and also serves on the advisory board of the Seacoast Jazz Society (SJS). I called him recently to ask about updating his biography on the SJS website. His updated bio is seven paragraphs below.
My friends and I didn’t know who Matt was in the 1980s, but I'm fairly certain that we all wanted to be him.
In the conversation about his bio, I asked him how a band kid from Concord, New Hampshire, ended up being a resident of Eliot, Maine, and one of the most appreciated musicians that we have on the Seacoast. In his self-effacing way, he relayed some of the stories that led him from Concord to Eliot (the ones fit to tell a stranger anyway). In those stories, I heard the sorts of things that my friends and I talked about doing while sitting around The Press Room, the old Rosa's bar and the other venues of the day, listening to jazz, blues, and rock bands.
The first and most important thing that would make him legendary to 20-year- olds of the ’80s is that he played sax in a blues band. My group of friends consisted of avid music fans and wannabe musicians. None of us would ever actually learn enough to play music in public or ever consider actually doing so, but we talked about it a lot and routinely (ignorantly) criticized those that did have the perseverance to get out there. We learned how to do that from reading Rolling Stone and DownBeat. Had we known of him, we would have spent hours debating Matt's greatness.
We'd also have been greatly impressed that Matt met a girl at a gig, let her get away and then went to California to get her back. It was Pamela, his wife of 35 years. When he tells the story, you can hear that he's still smitten.
As romantic as rescuing Pamela from California is, it is not the coolest tale I heard involving his then bride to be. She actually, believe it or not, moved with him into the Cutts mansion in Portsmouth. In those days, the Cutts mansion was an apartment building home to a high concentration of musicians and other creatives. In today's world of appropriate language, not a sober living environment. The Cutts tried to run under the radar, but Hunter S. Thompson was seen there on more than one occasion researching a yet unpublished piece on feral drummers. Regardless, to move your girl into the Cutts was not the norm, and, as such, would have been an extremely cool move in our eyes.
Flashing forward to 2019, thank you Matt, for all of the wonderful music you create. By creating music, I'm not only referring to the notes you play. The vibe you project to those around you, and the way you interact with your peers on and off the stage has a profound effect on their lives as well as what they play. You're doing great — we all appreciate it.
Matt Langley's Updated Biography
Matt Langley had a great band director at Rundlett Junior High School in Concord, New Hampshire, that opened the doors to the paradoxical joy of improvisation at an early age. Thus began a largely self-guided musical journey that has also included a brief period of lessons with saxophonist Stan Strickland, an Aebersold Jazz Camp encounter with “Blue Lou” Marini, David Baker and a visit to UNH’s Summer Youth Music School.
Since beginning his professional career directly out of high school, Matt’s love of music has taken him from blues bars in Maine to the famous Green Mill in Chicago, Illinois, from the Boston Globe Jazz Festival to Sunday Services at the Second Congregational Church in Kittery, Maine. Matt has recorded with the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, with his group “Color,” with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis’s “System of 5,” with Pianist Ted Brancato, whose CD “The Next Step” features Matt extensively on soprano and tenor saxophones. Ted and Matt toured the Pacific Northwest in the Fall of 2013 performing music from the CD in concert halls, colleges and night clubs with some of the finest jazz musicians from the Seattle area.
Recent recordings include Weird Turn Pro’s Let Me Be Unwound (https://weirdturnpro.bandcamp.com/album/wtp-002-let-me-be-unwound) and Sojoy’s The Adventures of Oliver Z Wanderkook (https://sojoy.bandcamp.com/album/the-adventures-of-oliver-z-wanderkook). Matt has collaborated with visual jazz artist Roger Goldenberg on the audiovisual feast, In Ears ’n Eyes, since 2011, producing multiple live shows often involving large ensembles and compositions created specifically for each event. In Ears n’ Eyes visited Epping, (New Hampshire) Elementary School in March, 2019, and worked with the entire student body on a collaborative composition to be added to the school’s collection of artwork.
Matt performs with groups in the New England area as well as teaching saxophone, improvisation and coaching ensembles at Concord Community Music School, the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, the Shaker Road School in Concord, New Hampshire, and at his home studio in Eliot, Maine. Matt has shared the stage and recording studio with Ron Carter, Richie Cole, Fred Hersch, John Tchicai, John Medeski, Billy Martin, Chris Wood, Dave Fiuczynski, Matt Wilson, Charlie Kohlhase, Tiger Okoshi, Roswell Rudd, Gene MacDaniels, Dave Douglas and many others.