The upright bass is big, heavy and often times inconvenient. But under a tall tree, next to a pond, Will Langlie-Miletich doesn’t seem to mind any of that.
Will comes from what would be an unconventional background in comparison to many of his peers at the school. His parents were fans of Bruce Springsteen. The Boss. He began playing the guitar in the third grade.
“No one in my family is a musician so the kind of music I was exposed to was Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, especially Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. That was kind of my first musical exposure was to those kinds of more popular groups.”
It’s Will’s first year in Aspen. He grew up in Seattle, just north of the University of Washington. He says that the mountains in Aspen remind him a bit of home, but now he is in the mountains, rather than next to them.
In middle school, Will’s music teacher suggested that he make the switch to the bass while playing classical music with his school band. Not too much later, he would discover jazz.
“I remember in sixth grade, one of the first jazz and classical artists I fell in love with was Wes Montgomery, the great jazz guitarist.”
Will is an avid Seattle sports fan, and lover of new-wave French cinema from the ‘60s.
And as Will’s tastes evolved, his playing evolved. Shortly after discovering jazz, he discovered classical music through Tchaikovsky. Early on in high school, he continued to play the guitar in his jazz ensemble, and his bass in the classical group. But soon, he would go to the bass full-time. Now he plays jazz and classical equally.
“Then, gradually throughout high school, the guitar stayed in its case, and the bass came out of its case more. I think around my junior year of high school I just decided to focus on bass exclusively and not even think about guitar.”
The 18-year-old bass man studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Will says that he thinks that being able to play jazz and classical music gives him an advantage over some of his peers. The pure creativity and and improvisation of jazz allows him to add some flare to his classical playing.
“I think what the jazz does - improvising - it really helps that spontaneous element to my classical playing.