mike langone of the most outstanding pianists in Hollywood history, died on Friday morning, at his home in Studio City, a victim of lung cancer, according to the US media. Variety. The musician was 80 years old and, since the mid-1960s, he had participated in the recording of some 2,000 pieces that were included in films and television productions. In addition, he was a frequent collaborator of the Argentine musician Lalo Schifrincomposer of Mission Impossible.
He recorded for soundtracks of John Williams (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Jerry Goldsmith ( gremlins , The Russia House ), John Barry ( Body Heat , The Specialist ), Henry Mancini ( 10″), Alex North ( fisherman’s shoes ), elmer bernstein ( the rainmaker ), Miklos Rozsa ( Dead men don’t wear plaid ) and many others. Lang read scores and played them with the right intent with surprising ease. And he must have had a special talent to be a pianist and had been chosen by Schifrin, another great pianist.
Lalo Schifrin was one of the first to summon Lang to Hollywood, adding Lang’s piano to what became Paul Horn’s album Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts (1965), work that was winner of a Grammy. In addition, Lang played piano for Schifrin on dozens of subsequent albums and movie soundtracks, including Oscar-nominated ones. The Competition Y The Sting II . Also, Lalo was one of his piano teachers.
Lang was born in Los Angeles on December 10, 1941. His father was a management agent who later became a film producer for the Universal studio. In other words, the world of entertainment was something familiar to him from a very young age. However, he always concentrated on the musical part. He began studying when he was just 4 years old and as a young man he perfected himself under the tutelage of Leornard Stein, George Tremblay, Pearl Kaufman and Schifrin.
After his recordings for Lalo, he also worked for composers such as James Newton Howard (Glengarry Glen Ross), Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), Marc Shayman (City Slickers), John Debney (dreamer), hans zimmer (Couldn’t get any better, Pearl Harbor), Randy Newman (Toy Story, Secretariat), Danny Elfman (batman returns), Bill Conti (The Right Stuff) Y Clint Eastwood (The bridges of Madison), among others. He even played on recordings of Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Lionel Ritchie, Leonard Cohen, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Vince Gill, NSYNC, Diana Krall, John Lennon, The Commodores, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand Y frank zappa.
“Mike was a dear friend, colleague and teacher, endowed with monumental talent. Anyone who knew him would agree that there never was a kinder, humbler, more brilliant musician: a musician’s musician,” James Newton Howard told Variety. Ralph Grierson, also a colleague in the recording studios, recalled when new keyboards appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s. “Hollywood being Hollywood, everyone wanted the latest, most modern sound. Mike and I used to joke about ‘earn while you learn’ because we’d come into the studio, find an instrument we’d never seen before, and be expected to play right away. As instrumentalists, he was one of the best; more importantly, he was a great musician. I am honored to have been Mike’s colleague and friend.”
Lang’s hundreds of television credits as a keyboardist range from The Waltons Y Kung Fu in the 1970s, to later shows like Amazing Stories , simpsons , Fraser , Penny Dreadful Y Family Guy . Interviewed last year for the podcast Legacy of John Williams, Lang reflected on his process: “The music itself tells me how to relate to it. I have a sound in my head. I play as an improviser, even though I play Beethoven. I listen to the music as if it were in Beethoven’s head. When I get it to match, for the actual sound to come out of the piano and match [lo que hay en] my head, the piano disappears. It is an enabler for me. The last thing I think about is ‘I’m a pianist’. I try to make the music breathe, be vocal and expressive, and to that end the piano loses its identity”.