Virginia Tech professors typically have prestigious resumes, but one new faculty member in the music department has quite the claim to fame.
Paul Langosch, who began teaching jazz improvisation classes and working with many of the small jazz groups at Tech last semester, has been a professional bass player for most of his life. He has played with countless jazz greats throughout his career, but his most notable job was serving as a member of Tony Bennett’s touring band for 20 years.
Since his father is a classically trained pianist, it is no wonder Langosch went into the music world professionally. He began playing drums at the age of four and learned guitar the next year, but it was his family’s move from Dayton, Ohio to Bethesda, Md. that brought Langosch to the bass.
“When I went into junior high school, we had a full-sized symphony orchestra that met first period,” Langosch said. “I wanted to play an instrument that could play in the orchestra, so I picked the cello. I wasn’t very good at playing the cello, but I was a lot better at pretending that the cello was a bass, so my band director happened to have (a bass) and loaned it to me. I felt at home right away.”
By the time Langosch was 16, he was beginning to play professional shows with much older musicians. As he continued working, he learned what a unique challenge it was to play jazz.
“I think (jazz) is the most difficult music to play in that you have to master improvisation as well your instrument,” Langosch said.
While working as a freelance musician in the Washington D.C. area, Langosch was able to work with many of the top names in the jazz world, including many artists who inspired him while he was learning to play.
“I’m still in awe of the people that I got to work with,” Langosch said. “Unfortunately, a lot of them are gone, and that’s hard because I miss them as friends and I miss them musically very much. And at this point in my life, I feel like I’m playing better than ever before and I wish I could play with them again.”