Tony Bennet's bassist

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Don Higdon, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Watching a PBS special of Tony Bennett in a small concert setting, apparently in San Francisco.

    Suddenly they just lit into "It Don't Mean a Thing". I picked up my bass. The tempo was impossible. I put the metronome on it - they were at 320. And the bassist was watching Tony and smiling, for chrissakes. Who is this guy?
    30-ish, tall, slim, white, looked like he works in a bank.
    Smiling. Jeez.

    P.S. God bless Tony Bennett for hiring great jazz players. Name one singer in the entire world who would have traveled with Harold Land as a featured backup soloist.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Then found a potted bio :

    Lanky, ultra-cool and reserved, Paul Langosch is the quintessential bass player, the bottom end who holds the band together. If you happened to catch the recent A&E television concert “Tony Bennett: Live by Request,” you would have seen him, plucking the strings of his gigantic bass violin.

    In fact, Langosch, 41, has been backing up Tony Bennett for the past decade and a half. Langosch tours with the Ralph Sharon Quartet, Bennett’s on-the-road band. He also has accompanied Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, George Shearing, and Tal Farlow, to name a few biggies. “I’m on the road between 225 and 250 days each year,” says Langosch, who lives in Chevy Chase with his wife Michelle. “I’ve been all across Europe, Japan, Australia, Chile, and Brazil. I really love traveling in the Far East, and I hope to tour Vietnam and China one day.”

    It’s a long way from Dayton, Ohio, where he was born. In 1968, his family moved to Bethesda. Langosch credits the county’s school system for steering him to his current vocation.

    “I started to take cello lessons at age 11. I couldn’t get it... I was tall for my age and uncoordinated,” says the 6- foot-1 musician. “But the school’s band instructor gave me an option to try the bass. He said, ‘If you’re willing to play this, I’ll let you stay in the band regardless of how badly you play!’ For some reason, the bass really fit me.... My father is a pianist and he immediately started teaching me songs. He loved the idea of having a bassist to jam with.”

    Soon, his parents offered him private lessons, and the youngster began studying with Albert Webster of the National Symphony Orchestra. Langosch joined the symphony orchestra at Thomas W. Pyle Junior High School, where he was a student. “The conductor was decent. We played good literature. He had us sight-reading and performing quite professionally, for a bunch of junior high kids.” From there, Langosch joined the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra and the Maryland All-State Orchestra. “It was a great experience,” he says emphatically.

    During his years at the New Education Project high school in Washington, D.C., Langosch played with “Acoustic Trails,” an acoustic/rock/jazz fusion club band. Although he never graduated from college, he jokes that he accumulated enough performance credits “to earn four degrees” at American University, Montgomery College and University of Maryland.

    Tony Bennett’s resurgent popularity with the MTV generation has given Langosch a steady gig in an otherwise uncertain profession. Making a living as a musician can be difficult, he notes, “especially when there’s so much competition from really fine, younger musicians.”

    Michelle Dunn-Langosch says life on the road has its up and downs. “We have a common goal and we know Paul’s work requires him to be gone. But there are also good things about it—I got to go to Japan and we are going to Australia together soon. And his current job is a good opportunity, career-wise.”

    Tony Bennett himself has fine things to say about his bassist. In “Tony Bennett, The Good Life” (Pocket Books, 1998), Bennett writes “Paul Langosch has been with me for almost 15 years now,” calling him “an exquisite musician.”

    Langosch realizes his work is part of music history. “Tony Bennett is one of the last ‘greats’ still performing American popular standards,” reflects Langosch. “Working for him has been really exciting—and really exhausting.”

    Logistically, it can be challenging as well, especially when you’re lugging around a huge, unwieldy bass. “Like the time I was in Paris and got my bass stuck in the turnstile of the metro. The fire department, the police, then the maintenance people came to take apart the entire turnstile!”

    Two years ago, Langosch jumped genres by auditioning for the vacated bass position in the Allman Brothers Band. He was one of two finalists for the job, but lost out because he was, perhaps, a bit too conservative-looking. “My friend Tom says I was an Almost-Brother,” says Langosch with a laugh.

    These days, in addition to the Bennett gig, Langosch and business partner Steve Rudolph record and produce CDs featuring local jazz musicians. The men also consult with companies and restaurants. Adds Langosch, “Many organizations don’t know how to use music to their advantage—what kind to use, when to use the musicians. Our hope is to give them some guidance, basically to keep music out there.”

    To contact Paul Langosch, call 1-800-756-5299.
  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Is that your final answer?
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well that seemed to be the most complete summary - but I noticed lots of other links to lesser know Jazz combos - so it seems like he's a very busy Bassist! And with a lot of fans - good thing he failed the Allman Brothers audition! ;)
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Well, that's what happens when you don't use drugs.
  7. bassa

    bassa Guest

    Jun 16, 2005
    names of sidemen not printed in program, & couldn't hear their names clearly, so i came home & yahooed: "tony bennet 2005 tour musicians."

    he IS an "exquisite musician." clean, fast, no snap crackle & pop string noise, just one great walking line after another. unobtrusive, yet distinctive. nice solos, but it's how he lays the foundation that really impresses. & oh, wow, that speedy 'don't mean a thing.' the lanky presence is a plus.
  8. Paul Warburton

    Paul Warburton In Memoriam

    Aug 17, 2003
    Denver, Co.
    Who said that "no snap, crackle and pop string noise"?
    Tony? I love that!
    Besides haulin' Harold around all those years ( Harold is my favorite tenorist too. I worked with he and Blue Mitchell for a week) Don't forget the two lovely albums Tony did with Bill Evans. The man has taste.......

    Welcome to TBDB bassa...
  9. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Paul also sells high-quality basses from his home, in partnership with Bill Vaughan of the National Symphony Orchestra.