School of Jazz guest DJs for December: Lang Armstrong and Margaret Haley
Saxophonist Lang Armstrong and trombonist Margaret Haley join Abe Beeson as guest DJs for December. They are both seniors and in the jazz band at Bainbridge High School. Get to know Land and Margaret in their Q&A, and check out their playlist.
Which instrument do you play and why?
Lang: I play the saxophone because I heard it on the radio and I always really liked the sound and so, naturally, I picked it to be the instrument I wanted to play in 5th grade.
Margaret: My main instrument in jazz is the trombone but my real first instrument was the tuba. I played that instrument from 5th grade up until the beginning of high school when I was recruited by some upperclassmen from the marching band to play in the trombone section for our lower jazz band. I had never touched a trombone before that but I think I grew to love it very quickly.
What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece?
Lang: "In A Sentimental Mood" by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington.
Margaret: My favorite jazz piece has to be "Hay Burner" by Count Basie. I love the way that the tune slowly grows and moves with a laid-back grove. The trombones also have really fun punchy lines while the saxophones have a really catchy melody. I also just love the idea behind the song: a hay burner is an old horse that has lived through its working days and now spends its time eating hay.
Who is your jazz hero?
Lang: Charlie Parker.
Margaret: My jazz hero is Erica Von Kleist. I just feel like I could really relate to her experiences as a woman in the jazz world and she inspires me to improve myself. I was so blown away when I heard her play in person and it made me want to develop a stronger more confident tone.
Lang: The individuality and self expression that comes from this music is what connects me to it.
Margaret: Jazz gives you so much freedom to express yourself. Of course, there are charts and structures but jazz was made to have people weave their own melodies through the music and I think that's really special. One piece will never sound the same when it’s played by different people. Sections in jazz tend to be smaller and that gives a lot of room for blending sound and making close connections with the people around you.
Lang and Margaret's playlist:
- Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - "Hey, Lock!" (Lang)
- Count Basie - "Hay Burner" (Margaret)
- Ella Fitzgerald - "All The Things You Are" (Lang)
- Melissa Gardiner with Tia Fuller - "People Pleaser" (Margaret)
- Charlie Parker - "I'm In the Mood for Love" (Lang)
- Chet Baker - "It Could Happen To You" (Margaret)
- Cannonball Adderley - "Poor Butterfly" (Lang)
- Marshall Gilkes - "Puddle Jumping" (Margaret)