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By: Danielle Rode
Doug Largent, jazz musician and organist of the Doug Largent Trio, discussed his band and his thoughts on being a musician in an interview via phone. Chapel Hill native and UNC alumnus, Largent has been playing music in the Triangle for years; Largent’s nervous excitement and down-to-earth character only confirmed that he’s a musician dedicated to his local roots and the art of music.
His love for the organ only continued as he went through school and on to college at UNC Chapel Hill. Largent took it upon himself to learn the organ and master its music: “I knew that if I put my head down and worked really hard at it I’d get good at it. I’ve had several different teachers; I think the best teacher I ever had was Steve Anderson at UNC. He was a piano player but he really gave me the tools I needed. He was kind but very strict, and I learned all the more because of it.” That passion lead him to New York City where he spent ten years playing and listening to jazz in clubs around the city. “There was a lot of great high-level jazz that I got to listen to and play with…I always had the organ in the back of my mind; that it was something I wanted to pursue. The first time I saw an organ group that made me want to play was at 36. Society thinks that by 36 you should be kicking ass at what you want to do… I was beginning something brand new with a one year old. I was a little selfish but when I’m inspired to do something I have to do it.”Largent decided to bring his inspiration back home to Chapel Hill and form the Doug Largent Trio in 2010 along with guitarist Brad Maiani and an excellent rotation of drummers. The trio takes the smooth style of 50s and 60s jazz to create their own melodies, “a lot of jazz and pop from that era already have the Hammond organ, so it’s easier, I don’t really have to adapt that style to the organ because it already has it in it” Largent said of his own composing style. Each band member brings their own tastes into the mix when composing their music but they find a way to make it work: “Someone will write a song and bring it in and the rest of the band will try to do what that person had in mind. It’s usually individual. We try to work off of each other and complement each other.” Of the songs they usually perform about twenty percent are songs that Largent and his band members have composed themselves, and about eighty percent covers that they bring back. “We don’t like to do the typical music that you always hear, we try finding oddball old songs that aren’t played as much…It works and we love it. It’s vintage but it’s new the way we do it.”