At age nine Rick Langmaack picked up his first guitar, marking the beginning of a life filled with the joy of creating music. He began performing on a professional level by age eleven, and has been in the music business ever since.
Born October 2, 1959, Rick was the youngest of 4 children. His father was a self taught musician who played harmonica and loved to sing. Although his father was never a performing musician, he would play and sing for the family, thus providing Rick with some of his first exposure to music. He and his brother Tom, also a musician, started their involvement in music at an early age, and formed a Combo consisting of Rick on Guitar, Tom on drums, and a third musician on electric accordion. This band was a working band, performing many types of music from ethnic music to popular show-tunes, jazz, rock, country and more.
Rick’s early musical experiences were positive and encouraging, which gave him the desire to pursue a career in music. He had the good fortune to have been exposed to many types of music at an early age, as well as many types of performing situations, which became an important part of his development as a musician through the years, and is now evident in both his guitar playing and his composing style.
At age fifteen Rick began guitar lessons with local legend Harry Leahey, marking a major turning point for his development as a guitarist and musician. It was during his years of study with Mr. Leahey that he became totally engrossed in the guitar, focusing on Jazz and improvisational music as well as composition. At age 17, Rick attended William Paterson College as a Jazz Performance Major, where he continued his studies with Harry Leahey, and also had the opportunity to study with many other great musicians including Rufus Reid, Bucky Pizzarelli, Thad Jones, Harold Mabern, and others as well.
Although he had been exposed to a variety of music at an early age, it was during his years of study with Harry Leahey and at William Paterson that he became aware of what were to be some of his major musical influences. Although the list is long, some of the musicians that have had the biggest impact on him include: Harry Leahey, Jim Hall, Miles Davis, Ralph Towner, Charlie Haden, Keith Jarrett, and Thelonius Monk.
Upon completion of his college degree, Rick continued his studies with a number of musicians such as Tal Farlow, Eric Kloss, Ted Dunbar, Ken Werner and John Abercrombie. He continued to hone his skills both as a performer and composer, while embarking on a music career with countless performances throughout the Tri-State area including Jazz Concerts and Festivals, Television and Cable TV appearances, and a private teaching practice. He has performed with a number of noted musicians including: Harry Leahey, Steve Marcus, Ben Monder, Vic Juris, Chris Potter, Doug Weiss, Ben Street, Kermit Driscoll, Steve Laspina, Drew Gress, and others as well.
In 1997, Rick released his debut CD entitled, “Cat Music”, which includes standard jazz tunes as well as original compositions performed in a variety of jazz styles. The diversity of arrangements is a good example of his involvement in and appreciation of many different types of music. Featured on the CD are: Rick on guitar, Doug Weiss and Dave Richards on Bass, Pete Macdonald on Drums, and Rob Henke on Trumpet.
In the summer of 2014, he released a new CD entitled “Renewal” which features his original compositions, and reunites a group of musicians who have a special bond both personal and musical. The band consists of Doug Weiss on bass, Bob Hanlon on Tenor and Soprano sax, Pete Macdonald on drums, Rob Henke on trumpet (2 tracks) and Rick on acoustic and electric guitars.
He also appears as a sideman on three recordings: Mike Kaplan Nonet – “How’s That”, Pete Macdonald – “Portraits on my Wall”, and Matt King – “Kaleidoscope” as has a number of unreleased recordings, some of which can be heard at ricklangmaack.com.
During his late thirties, Rick returned to college to obtain a Masters in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he studied with Ted Dunbar. After completing more than half of his Masters in Performance, Rick decided to switch gears and obtain a music teaching certificate from Montclair University. It was also at this time that he decided to learn an additional trade in order to help make ends meet. He learned how to tune and repair pianos by apprenticing with a number of fine craftsmen in the area. He then proceeded to start his own successful Piano Tuning business with a large number of private customers and an associate Piano Tuning position at Rutgers University.
Rick currently spends his time playing, writing, and recording as much as possible. He performs and records with a host of musical associates and close friends, and is working on a number of new recording projects featuring his original compositions as well as jazz standards and other music as well.