Remembering Mike Lang

December 10, 1941 – August 5, 2022

A tribute to the jazz and studio pianist-composer

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Mike Lang passed away on Aug. 5, 2022 at the age of 80.

He was born on Dec. 10, 1941 in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1963 with a music degree.

Among those who Lang studied with was Lalo Schifrin, a jazz pianist-composer and very busy composer for motion pictures who had a similar career.

Once settled back in Los Angeles, Mike Lang had a very prolific career, recording more than 2,000 film scores (with virtually every top film composer including Henry Mancini, John Williams and Elmer Bernstein), working on television and in the studios as a pianist and writer with an endless series of names (including Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Barbara Streisand, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Paul Horn, Don Ellis, John Klemmer, Milt Jackson, Lee Konitz, Diana Krall, Arturo Sandoval, and Vanessa Rubin), and having his own solo career as a jazz pianist.

One reason that Mike Lang never became a household name, despite being well known to his fellow musicians, is that he only recorded one album as a leader, a 1994 jazz tribute to Henry Mancini (Days Of Wine And Roses).

Here is Mike Lang in 2017 playing “What Is This Thing Called Love” with bassist Darek Oles and drummer Peter Erskine.

-Scott Yanow


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