Sackegasse by Juan Calderon

300px-Sackgasse

Juan Calderin is a gifted former student of mine, and a promising young composer. He was kind enough to turn a composition assignment exploring the capabilities bass trombone from a “dead end” to a thing of beauty for the noble instrument in an unaccompanied setting. Juan’s further generosity has enabled me to present this work to you here-enjoy!

Sackgasse2

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From The Berlin Philharmonic, Stefan Schulz Translates “Seven Positions” tm

Stefan Schulz plays bass trombone in one of the finest orchestras in the world, and shows no signs of being satisfied just yet. An active recitalist and chamber musician, he has emerged as one of the finest classical soloists of his generation and a gifted recording artist. davidbrubeck.com is elated to host Stefan Schulz as the 6th installment of the third collection of “Seven Positions” tm, and to publish the interview in both German and English. Enjoy!

Stefan

1st Position
What do you look for in an instrument?

In the past I played many instruments and I always hoped I would find one that played by itself. Unfortunately, again and again, I realized I have to practice and play myself.

A good instrument makes me feel like I can talk to it and like it is the extension of my breath. It should speak easily and allow great flexibility while being easy to address or to “talk to”. A great instrument should make it easy to produce different tone colours and timbres.

I have been working with the COURTOIS Company for a while now on the development of a bass trombone that would meet my requirements. I am very much satisfied with the prototype that I am currently playing. This instrument should be on the market soon.

2nd Position
How do you conceive of an ideal tone quality?

I think there is no single, ideal tone. Even what might be considered a “bad” tone might be right, if it is appropriate for and blends in to the music.

3rd Position
What is your secret to a beautiful legato?

If I knew that, I would not hesitate to let you know. I think my own legato is not “a dream of a legato” yet.

4th Position
What helps you achieve musical expression?

I sing a lot, in my mind, but also aloud. In genera,l I record when I practice and then take the time to listen critically to my playing. This helps me a great deal.

5th Position
Name two inspirations.
One musical.
One non-musical.

This question does not translate well.

6th Position SS
Please discuss the care and attention that you and your accompanist give to each note in a phrase. How long do you spend experimenting and have you sought out coaches-(as have many of the prominent violin and piano soloists)?

I take my time to prepare myself. My concerts are prepared well ahead of time. But I am really working for the rehearsals. I am lucky to work with excellent chamber musicians. This is the real fun. We experiment with the notes until we are happy with it. This is how music makes you happy. When I play “Haendel in Harlem”, I can create sounds, that are very different from those in a classical recital. You will hear that on my new CDs.

7th Position SSstefan-schulz-pressefoto-01
The Germanic people are intensely musical; how does this great tradition inform you, and what is it like to play in one of the greatest symphony orchestras in the world
?
To play with the Berliner Philharmoniker is, of course, a dream. This orchestra has a huge potential and it inspires me a lot. I am grateful that I have had the good fortune to play with them.
“Tradition” is a different story. I think Leinsdorf said, “tradition is a bag full of bad habits”. There are so many excellent musicians as well as orchestras in the world! I do not think, there is something special about the music in the German-speaking regions.

T1
What is the best trombone playing you have ever heard?

I have heard so many good trombone players. There is not enough room to list them all.

T2
What was the best trombone playing you have done?

I am still waiting for it.

T3
What are some of the adjustments that you make to your playing when switching from symphonic playing to soloing? From soloing to symphonic playing?

The music gives the answer. I do not make any technical changes during my playing. For me, the answer is to look into the “epicenter of the music”.

Stefan Handel
Erste Lage
Was erwarten Sie von einem Instrument?

ICH HABE IN DER VERGANGENHEIT EINIGE INSTRUMENTE GESPIELT UND IMMER GEHOFFT , DASS ICH ETWAS FINDE WAS VON ALLEIN SPIELT. LEIDER HABE ICH ABER IMMER WIEDER GEMERKT , DASS MAN ÜBEN MUSS UND DAS ES DOCH AN EINEM SELBST LIEGT.

EIN GUTES INSTRUMENT GIBT MIR DAS GEFÜHL , DASS ICH DAMIT SPRECHEN KANN – ES ALSO NUR DIE VERLÄNGERUNG MEINES ATEMS IST. ES SOLLTE ALSO EINE LEICHTE ANSPRACHE HABEN UND FLEXIBEL IN DEN MÖGLICHEN KLANGFARBEN.

SEIT EINIGER ZEIT ENTWICKLE ICH MIT DER FIRMA COURTOIS EINE BASSPOSAUNE DIE MEINEN ANFORDERUNGEN ENTSPRICHT. ICH PERSÖNLICH BIN MIT DEM PROTOTYPEN, DEN ICH ZUR ZEIT SPIELE, SEHR ZUFRIEDEN UND DAS INSTRUMENT SOLL DEMNÄCHST AUF DEM MARKT ERHÄLTLICH SEIN.

Zweite Lage
Was verstehen Sie unter einer idealen Tonqualitaet?

GENAU DEN KLANG ZU FINDEN DEN DIE NOTE UND DIE PHRASE BRAUCHT.
ES GIBT MEINES ERACHTENS NICHT EINE IDEALE TONQUALITÄT.
AUCH EIN – VERMEINTLICH HÄßLICHER TON – KANN IDEAL SEIN. ES MUSS ZU DER MUSIK PASSEN.

Dritte Lage
Was ist Ihr Geheimnis fuer ein traumhaftes Legato?

ACH, WENN ICH DAS WÜßTE WÜRDE ICH ES GERN VERRATEN. ICH HALTE MEIN LEGATO NICHT FÜR TRAUMHAFT.

Vierte Lage
Was hilft Ihnen, die musikalische Ausdrucksweise zu erreichen?

ICH SINGE VIEL. IN GEDANKEN ODER ABER AUCH LAUT. ICH NEHME MEIN ÜBEN GENERELL AUF UND NEHME MIR DIE ZEIT MEIN SPIEL KRITISCH ANZUHÖREN. DAS HILFT MIR.

Fuenfte Lage
Bitte nennen Sie zwei Eingebungen/Erleuchtungen (musical/non-musical)

die Sie erlebt haben.

Sechste Lage SS
Bitte erlaeutern Sie die Sorgfalt und Aufmerksamkeit, die Sie und
Ihr Begleiter jeder Note widmen.Wie lange experimentieren Sie?

Oder haben Sie spezielle Lehrer eingesetzt, wie es viele Violin- und Klaviersolisten machen? ICH BEREITE MICH GERN MIT VIEL RUHE VOR. MEINE KONZERTE PLANE ICH LANGFRISTIG. DABEI IST DAS KONZERT NICHT DAS ZIEL AUF DAS ICH HINARBEITE SONDERN VIELMEHR DIE PROBENPHASE. ICH HABE DAS GLÜCK MIT GROßARTIGEN KAMMERMUSIKPARTNERN ZUSAMMEN ARBEITEN ZU DÜRFEN . HIER LIEGT DER EIGENTLICHE SPASS – MIT DIESEN MUSIKERN ZU EXPERIMENTIEREN…BIS MAN MIT DER NOTE GLÜCKLICH IST DIE MAN SPIELT. HIER IST DIE ABWECHSLUNG IN DER MUSIK AUCH SO BEGLÜCKEND. WENN ICH DAS PROGRAMM “HAENDEL IN HARLEM ” SPIELE, KANN ICH GANZ ANDERE KLÄNGE ERZEUGEN ALS ZUM BEISPIEL BEI EINEM KLASSISCHEN RECITAL KONZERT. ICH DENKE UND HOFFE DAS HÖRT MAN AUCH AUF DEN BEIDEN NEUEN CDs VON BZW MIT MIR. DAS SIND IN MEINEN AUGEN ZWEI GANZ UNTERSCHIEDLICHE PLATTEN.

stefan-schulz-pressefoto-02Siebte Lage SS
Man sagt, deutschsprechende Menschen seien besonders musikalisch; in welcher Weise hat diese Tradition Sie geformt, und wie fuehlt man sich in einem der besten Symphonie-
orchester der Welt zu spielen?

BEI DEN BERLINERN ZU SPIELEN IST NATÜRLICH EIN TRAUM. DIESES ORCHESTER HAT SO EIN UNGLAUBLICHES POTENTIAL. DIE KONZERTE MIT DIESEM ORCHESTER INSPIRIEREN MICH UNGEMEIN.
ICH BIN SEHR DANKBAR , DASS ICH DAS GLÜCK HABE DORT MITSPIELEN ZU DÜRFEN.
MIT DER TRADITION IST DAS SO EINE SACHE. ICH GLAUBE ES WAR LEINSDORF DER SAGTE: TRADITION IST EIN SACK VOLLER SCHLECHTER ANGEWOHNHEITEN.
ES GIBT WELTWEIT SO VIELE TOLLE MUSIKER , FANTASTISCHE ORCHESTER – ICH DENKE NICHT , DASS MAN HIER IM DEUTSCHSPRACHIGEM RAUM EINE BESONDERE MUSIKALITÄT FINDET. WENN MAN IN DIESES THEMA TIEFER EINSTEIGEN MÖCHTE DANN VIELLEICHT EHER ÜBER DIE SPRACHE BZW DAS WORT. ICH GLAUBE HIER GIBT ES IN DER TAT EINE BESONDERE TIEFE DIE MAN VIELLEICHT IN EINER ANDEREN SPRACHE – ZUMINDEST NICHT IN DIESER FORM FINDET . NEHMEN WIR ALLEIN DAS WORT: TROTZDEM / TROTZ DEM. WAS STECKT HIER ALLES DRIN.

T1
Welches war das beste Posaunenspiel, das Sie je gehoert haben?

OH JE , DA GAB ES VIELE. GERECHTERWEISE MUESSTE ICH ALLE NENNEN . SO VIEL PLATZ GIBT ES HIER ABER NICHT.

T2
Was war Ihr eigenes bestes Posaunenspiel?

DARAUF WARTE ICH NOCH UND HOFFE….

T3
Wie veraendern Sie Ihre Spielweise, wenn Sie vom Gruppen- zum Solospiel wechseln und vice versa?

DIESE FRAGE LÖST SICH MUSIKALISCH . ICH ÄNDERE NICHTS TECHNISCHES AN MEINEM SPIEL. DIE ANTWORT ZU DER FRAGE FINDEN WIR IM EPIZENTRUM DER MUSIK.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com

Photos courtesy of Stefan Schulz

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Only The Beginning! The Dutch Bass Trombone Open

-5Many tenor trombonists are unaware that the International Trombone Association was initially conceived as a society for Bass Trombonists only by founding president Tom Everett, founding treasurer Tom Streeter and others. As the idea progressed, it eventually included tenor trombone players as it became the impressive world-wide association that we know today. The bass trombone is found in every major orchestra. It has has been a fully functioning instrument for hundreds of years as evidenced by the beautiful writing by Heinreich Schutz (1585-1672) in “Fili Mi Absalon“. Despite this, the bass trombone often does not receive the same recognition as an independent instrument as has its orchestral counterparts the tuba, the piccolo, or perhaps even the English horn. A ground-breaking instrument in big band jazz, and found in wind and brass bands of all types, the bass trombone has often been viewed as secondary, complimentary or optional by many and is still invisible to some. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the trombone choir. Here, it seems as though the general ratio with tenor trombonists of 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 continues to be the norm-(while Viento Sur and others have made progress, the typical trombone quartet remains three tenors and a bass as well).

All of this was set upon its head in the year 2006, when the bi-annual Dutch Bass Trombone Open became the greatest assemblage in honor of this independent and beautiful instrument and put the all-bass trombone choir on the map! Begun by two friends who aspired to have a lesson with their bass trombone hero, the DBTO has become
THE worldwide event in honor of the instrument whom its’s advocates believe to be the most compelling instrumental solo bass voice-bar none. Since its inception, the impressive array of featured artists have included the likes of:

2006 : Csaba Wagner, Bill Reichenbach and Ben van Dijk

2008 : Phil Teel, Douglas Yeo, Ben van Dijk

2010 : Brandt Attema, Jos Jansen, Martin van den Berg, Ben van Dijk

2012 : Charlie Vernon, Csaba Wagner, Mattis Cederberg

And the upcoming Dutch Bass Trombone Open (DBTO) which takes place on September 5th, 6th and 7th will feature another renown assemblage of the finest bass trombonists and entusiasts in the world.

2014 : Matyas Veer, Denson Paul Pollard, Ben van Dijk , Guest : Erik van Lier

How and when did the idea and name for the DBTO first come about?
(MARCEL) A Friend of mine, Erwin Dijkstra, wanted to have a lesson from Ben van Dijk during a workshop in Germany, and asked me to join him because it was a long drive. Thinking out loud, I told him it would be easier to call Ben up and ask for a lesson or to arrange a trombone workshop for ourselves in the Netherlands……, OR what about just BASS trombones? This is how it started-almost 10 years ago now. Just how I am telling it now, with a conversation of just a few minutes the DBTO was born.

(BERT) Marcel talked to me about this idea when I visited his repair shop. I fell in Love with the idea and started to work with him about the way to accomplish it. I began to think of the right name as well. Marcel first talked about a “Bass Trombone Boot Camp” and I came up with the idea to give it a name in such a way that nobody knew what to expect-(so we avoided the words Festival, Master class, Clinic, School, Academy etc.) For us, it was also clear that we did not like competition or level differences; it should be OPEN to every bass trombone player.

We loved the idea of this event being something only for BASS trombone players and immediately we came up with the phrase “No tenor trombones will be used, permitted, harmed or damaged in any way during this event!” Humor should be an important item during this event, because we bass trombone players like to laugh a lot!!

We wanted to make it a special event it and decided that we would host only (!) 50 players in a nice environment with good food-very important. With all the Bass trombone connections Marcel has, we soon found Ben van Dijk who was among the first enthusiastic players who wanted to be involved! Since he was more or less the reason it all started, we also agreed fairly quick that Ben should be involved in every DBTO as a the “Artist in Residence”, and were delighted to consider the enormous network of bass trombonists he had assembled from all over the world!

(BEN) This all comes from the contributions of Marcel, Bert and in the first year Erwin. Marcel presented the idea of this event during one of my visits to his atelier and it resonated like a perfect, in-tune Pedal chord! At the same time, I realized that I was accepting a challenge.
Marcel and Bert have done a great job in getting this event on the map, every single time. They have great ideas, are super motivated and accomplish everything in their spare free time. Bravissimo!

What did you hope to achieve?
(MARCEL) Our first intention was to meet our bass trombone heroes, at first it was, “Can we do it?”-bring just bass trombone players together? We never thought it would grow to something so internationally recognized. About 15 nationalities have joined each DBTO.

In addition, we hoped to achieve a great a motivational boost for DBTO members, to provide them with enough inspiration, technique and even some tricks from some of the best teachers in the world to inspire them throughout the year.

Luckily, I had already met several players, so it was easy to ask them. Bill Reichenbach and Phil Teele are truly-6 my love for soundtracks. In fact, I made a website about brass players in film music (moviebrass.com ) and went to LA I 2004 where I met Bill and Phil. It was apleasure to see Bill later when he turned up in the Netherlands for a gig. Ben van Dijk lives in Den Haag and I happened to work in the local brass shop he visited all his life. So, as a long time customer and friend, Ben was easy to ask. Our faculty has been most impressive, still we have a wish list of Bass trombone artists we would like to invite for 2016 DBTO. These include: David Taylor, Stefan Schultz, Rodger Argente, and Jim Markey to name a few…

(BERT) We had no idea what to expect to be honest. It began just for us to meet our heroes and we hoped that we could find some more bass trombone players who thought the same way! (And we did!! Ha ha.) Our goal at first (and actually still is), was to provide the great experience while covering all expenses. Now we have more or less two goals! The first is that every bass trombone player be made aware of the DBTO. Strangely, we have come to find that some bass trombone players have still never heard of us! :-)
And secondly, we think every bass trombone player should attend at least one!!!! Although we have had a lot nationalities sign up, we are very excited if we see players sign up from a country we have not had before HAHAHA It’s like saving soccer cards! HAHAHA

You would not believe our excitement when we encounter such a subscriber. On the other hand, it makes us feel the responsibility to redouble our efforts to make everything worthwhile for this player to make such an effort to come!

(BEN) The first thing that comes to my mind is to have a gathering of people who all share a common interest and passion, the bass trombone. To meet these people, amateur and professional players from all over the world, and have a weekend full of exchanging ideas, experiences and listening to each other-that is what I hoped for and I can say, that is what we have achieved..

What was the first year like?
(MARCEL) We had set some goals to start: 1) 50 bass trombones 2) A nice venue. 10 years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter and the internet was not so big. I sometimes wonder, how did I promote it in those days?? Despite these challenges, we always got the 40 plus players in.

Finding a Venue was hard, because we wanted a complete setup where we could make music, eat and drink and sleep in one place and that was also affordable. We set the goal that the DBTO should cost not more than €300.
For two nights, all the food and the DBTO program it’s almost the same price as if you would stay in a normal hotel for two days! Making a budget was the other thing. How are we going to pay for this? We really needed the support from companies to sponsor the teachers. From the start, Michael Rath and Thein brass were very supportive, and we also had contributions from Gary Greenhoe, Michael Davis, Marcus Bonna and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw. They helped out to make it happen for Bill Reichenbach to come, with Ben van Dijk and Csaba Wagner who were the first teachers. Yamaha contributed in 2008, and Conn-Selmer did in 2012.

2010 was a bad year, planning was terrible getting all the teachers on one date, was impossible. Money was ac hallenge, but some of the funding we were hoping for but did workout. Then Ben van Dijk stepped in and arranged a all- Dutch team of teachers with Jos Jansen (Royal Navy Band), Martin van de Berg( Metropole orchestra), and Brandt Attema(Radio Philharmonic). Even without a international Artist, it was the most successful DBTO ever!

As I recall, all the other things went okay and true to my experience with many other music projects I did most of the logistics and promo. Bert is the program guy and our creative on the spot trouble-shooter. Our bass Trombone friend Erwin Dijkstra helped out, because the DBTO idea started with he and I.

After the first year, I was floating on air for several days. We did do something nobody has ever done before, that gave me a kick. I had the same rush in 2008; getting Doug Yeo and Phil Teele together was something special. The review Doug wrote on his website makes me proud and emotional.

(BEN) All previous years have been amazing and for me personally. It is so nice to be on a team of teachers with great bass trombonists. The first year, we had Bill Reichenbach and I remember that on the openings evening I played some Tommy Pederson duets with him-A dream come true! Bill is just one of the best players I have ever heard and besides that, he is also such a nice person.
We also had the young Csaba Wagner from Hungary who played in the Opera of Berlin. What a talent this guy is! and also a very nice person. Actually, all the people we have had as guest teachers-artists were just amazing during these events. It is so important that the team is open to the participants and that they can work, listen and talk with all who attend this event.

http://www.yeodoug.com/home/text/whats_new_2008.html

(BERT) AWSOME! Again what Marcel wrote we were floating!! We got the meet and work with (Besides Ben!) Bill Reichenbach and “new Kid on the block” Csaba Wagner!! We had no idea what to expect and were delighted that the things we worked out before came to a good ending! I remember one of my ideas of an open discussion did not worked out the way I planned but at the end we learned some personal issues from players we worship…..so maybe not at all the worst idea….

Who decided to have a bass trombone choir?
(MARCEL) No tenor trombones will be used, permitted, harmed or damaged in any way during this event!

(BERT) No tenor trombones will be used, permitted, harmed or damaged in any way during this event! I think Marcel really wanted that we also came to play with each other so……since we allowed only bass trombone players to attend, the choir setup was pretty clear!! haha

(BEN) I think I can say that this probably came from my mind. I think a trombone ensemble is one of the nicest brass combinations possible. It was a challenge to try to make a bass trombone choir sound interesting. It isn’t easy to make this a success, but I can tell you it is a lot of fun!

Are you aware of any previous all-bass trombone choirs?
(MARCEL) No, not that I recall

(BERT) No, even we searched for it! In the end, we even asked Bill Reichenbach write something for us! With the only remark that this pieces can only be played by bass trombone players!! (Meaning that, in every part at least a note where you need to use the valves :-) haha) So he did, and we still use that piece in every edition!

(BEN) Never heard of it in this big set-up. I already had some experience with my bass trombone students but never more then 6 or 8 players together maximum. Here, we are speaking of a 40 plus member all-bass trombone choir.

What have been some of the most memorable moments?
Serious:

(MARCEL) For me, it has been meeting some of the greatest bass trombone players in the world in such a special environment. They didn’t attend because we paid them a lot of money, but just because we asked them for this unique event. Asking new artist/faculty is easy. Who wouldn’t want to be on our Alumni list with Bill Reichenbach, Phil Teele, Douglas Yeo, Csaba Wagner, Denson Paul Pollard, Jos Jansen, Charlie Vernon, Matyas Veer, Mattis Cederberg, Martin van de Berg, Erik van Lier, Brandt Attema and Ben van Dijk. An amazing list it is!

(BERT) I am also very proud of the alumni list! Having, for instance Phil Teele, is huge, considering Phil has never left L.A. for this sort of stuff before! Thanks to the talk Bill gave him when he came back to L.A., Phil decided to join us. I asked Phil to bring a list (if he had one), of all the movies that he played on. I had hoped to put it down in the reception area for for people to look at, just for fun. He did bring this list. I was overwhelmed-the list was a stack of 32 sheets of paper with small print and double-sided! Hahaha I could not find a movie I had seen and was NOT on the list!! Unbelievable….

(BEN) Too many to name but to name a few:
Hearing Bill Reichenbach improvise on a Bach cello suite, unbelievable.
To play the contrabass trombone presentation during the first edition of the DBTO.The 3rd version of DBTO, where I was together in the team with 3 of my former students, Brandt Attema, Jos Jansen and Martin van den Berg.

Humorous
(MARCEL) The Marching Bass trombones with Big Chief Jos Jansen! Buzzing and Bubbling-we got all 54 bass trombonists buzzing in the swimming pool with Charlie Vernon.
(BERT) O so many! The swimming pool was indeed, The Monty Python march, The Late show and our preparations for this, Ben trying to convince Erwin with his foot while playing a serious part to put on the CD so he could continue in a flow…(seen on youtube), Jos Jansen, and I can go on for a long time…

-4(BEN) During one of the opening evenings I planned to play Frescobaldi, a version of one of his Canzone Basso arranged by Eddy Koopman. Since the accompaniment is on cd, I improvised a sort of introduction and asked one of the organizers of the event to start the cd at my signal. After my improvised interlude, I gave him a clear sign but he didn’t react. Even after a second and third sign no reaction so I had to tell him to push the bottom. The situation was quite humorous, especially when he told me the reason. He was in a sort of Wow-feeling and simply didn’t think of his task.

What three things stand out in your mind that you have learned about the bass trombone from the DBTO?
(MARCEL) It’s the best brass instrument in the world. 2) It is hard work to master. 3) We should promote the bass trombone even more.

(BERT) It is an unbelievable instrument with power and gentleness in one instrument! It can make you laugh and cry. Despite of being a “lonely” instrument (even in the biggest orchestra’s there is mostly only one), the players are very sociable and many have a similar sense of humor as Marcel and me. Every time I think that I can play pretty ok on the bass trombone, I keep in mind the enormous amount of moments during DBTO that I am not even close…..So still a lot of work to be done!

(BEN) How difficult it is to play in front of so many bass trombone aficionados. In the beginning I always feel so terrified but after a short while it becomes easier because everybody is so nice!

About bass trombonists?
(MARCEL) The best. Mostly there is only one in a band or orchestra. But if you put 50 together,man it feels great. At all levels, from beginners, students and professionals we all share the love for this instrument. Bass trombone players come in all colors and sizes.

(BERT) We all struggle with the same problems!! (Life, Career and Level)

(BEN) The differences between players is striking. I mean having so many together you can hear so many different ways of playing the bass trombone. Sound-wise, style-wise, articulation-wise etc. and despite the different approaches, still many sound just awesome.

Which musical performances of your own stand out?
(MARCEL) For me, it has been playing with the Holland Big band for ten years. We are now playing some amazing projects, n addition to the last 6 years with Amsterdam Brass.

(BERT) Playing in The Charlie Green Big band (where I sometimes sit next to T.S. Galloway, an alumnus of the great Count Basie Orchestra), and The Convocation Big band is what I like to do. I really enjoy it when people comment on the parts I play during intermission. Conducting my own orchestra and having accompanied David Taylor was a very memorable moment.

(BEN) I liked a lot the duets I played with Martin van den Berg during the 3rd version.

Of others?
(MARCEL) Live? tThis should be th Mnozil Brass. I have heard them now three times and consider them to be best brass group ever and 200% entertaining.

(BERT) Ther are too many to list. Dave Taylor in the Bob Mintzer Big band comes first to mind, I never new I would get to know him personally!

(BEN) Like I mentioned earlier, Bill Reichenbach but also Doug Yeo, Jos Jansen and Brandt Attema with Brass Band. To be honest, I am always so impressed by what my colleagues accomplish on stage-so inspirational.

What do you feel DBTO has accomplished? And has yet to accomplish?
(MARCEL) Every group, if it’s a chess club, or a photo club, every group needs a Mecca, a center or a point of gravity in the universe. I’d like to think that the DBTO has become that for bass trombone players. We always say, that every bass trombone player in the world should have been to the DBTO at least once. I think we are doing okay, there are some players who are visiting us for the 5th time, so we must be doing something right

We hope to meet many bass trombone players in the future and we keep on improving the dbto. Yes we are bass trombone players, but we also try to be the best host and give everybody an amazing experience

(BERT) We have definitely accomplished a unique place in the world! I really like to think that! I feel fortunate to have a friend like Marcel, whose enthusiasm is always pushing me. DBTO has made our friendship even tighter, and it seems to me that it is something special if you are a DBTO member. We know that Marcel and me are not the only ones who feel this way. Ben feels it, as have more and players who have joined us every time during the last 10 years! I would like for every player who has attended the DBTO to feel as though they are part of something special-sort of like being part of a family! So you bass trombone players over the world: Just picking up a bass trombone is not enough!! :-)

(BEN) DBTO has accomplished an absolutely unique repeating event that in my opinion should get much more exposure. As a serious bass trombone lover, this is a weekend you should witness at least twice in your life.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com

Photos courtesy of DBTO

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Don Harry Enlivens “The Fourth Valve” tm

I first met
Don Harry at a recent tribute to Bill Bell held at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference at Indiana University. An illustrious teacher in his own right, Harry seems to embody the Bill Bell-Harvey Phillips line of tuba excellence in his current duties as Eastman faculty, member of the Eastman Faculty Brass, tubist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and as a soloist. “The Fourth Valve” tm is overjoyed to enjoy the enlivened discussion with such a distinguished guest.

images-11. How do you conceive of, describe or imagine the ideal tuba sound?
There is no one tuba sound except in the practice zone; the literature determines the color. Sometimes, and primarily, we are a 5th horn in the big German pieces. Sometimes, we are like a bass trombone in certain pieces of Stravinsky, Bernstein or Shostakovich. At other times, we arte a euphonium surrogate (Berlioz), or a woodwind voice (Mendelssohn and other Ophicleide parts). Primarily, we are a Lyric Baritone ‘wannabe’ or a Bass voice. My personal concept is a very intense core in the mid-harmonics surrounded by a corona of sound. Depending on the volume, the two things can vary; the core can become over powering, or the corona can be required to be the thing that fills certain colors at the bottom of ensemble (and the choir), involved.

Does your cultural heritage inform your approach to tone or interpretation?
There is a small connection to sounds I have heard and made in relation to my Delaware, Caddo and Kiowa relatives-great power and focus with a very intense projection.

2. The brass quintet is almost ideally suited to Conservatory and University Settings, one seat for each studio-plus another trumpet. How do you view the history and development of the faculty brass quintet, and which are some of your favorites?
Certainly one of the most critical outlets we have. There were many influences for me: The New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet (with the old players), The Boston Brass Quartet (with Robert King on euphonium and Herb Ludwig on trumpet), the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet with Arnold Jacobs on tuba and, in the modern era, the NY Brass Quintet with Harvey Phillips on tuba, and the Empire Brass in its first incarnation


3. Which tuba concertos do you feel have the best mix of high musical content and audience appeal? Do you prefer tuba concertos most with orchestra, band, or brass?

I am very impressed with the Samuel Jones Concerto. It presents extremely difficult experiences, but is accessible and worth the effort. The Songs of Ascent and Journey are close runner-ups.

4. What was your typical warm-up routine like as an undergrad asUnknown compared to when achieved your career?
My warmups at that stage on the tuba were dogmatically required by Bill Bell. His routine, labeled “Warmup”, was a refresher of scales and chords that involved all of the key signatures. If you could play it, you were wasting your time and unprepared to play the piece at hand sometimes. On trombone, the Remington Warmups were a requirement and, for me, personally not very helpful. I was influenced by Joseph Novotny and his use of the Schlossberg exercises and by Bill Adam the great trumpet teacher at IU. I played for a number of years with his students and was always aware that they could sound great and play all day and all night. Eventually, I got to my idea that most warmups are too long and too easy! So I made my own versions which start with upward slurs, rather than comfortable downward things which feel good but don’t get to the main issue, the gig. I combined these with specifically gearing each day to a basic miniature of all the things I needed to be able to do and with specific things for the specific I was performing. I will eventually have a small book addressing these ideas.


5. Some have addressed the struggles and rewards of being “on the road” with a brass quintet. What are the joys and pitfalls of “teaching on the same faculty”-sharing students, and performing together? Any special consideration due to the legacy of previous brass faculty?

I have been fortunate to be in Eastman Brass since 1990 and on the Eastman Faculty for 15 years. This is my only quintet experience at this level and has always been unrelenting at all levels. It is a joy for us to get together and a tremendously therapeutic experience musically. The membership has changed over the years with the new player always fitting in like a glove. A true joy.

6. Who has influenced you most as a musician?
I was at the Gunnison Music Camp from 1959-1961 where the faculty included Earle Louder, Armando Ghitalla, Bill Bell, Arnold Jacobs with visits by Roger Bobo and Harvey Phillips. Musically, I was and still am influencedimages by Bill Bell’s sound and musicality which, even late in life, had qualities which were beautiful. Primarily, I was influenced though piano players like Walter Gieseking, Horowitz,Ernst von Dohnanyi, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and George Shearing…. (on and on.) I spent years playing piano for my own access to music when I had no access to a tuba.

7. What is the best tuba playing you have ever heard?
Joseph Novotny, New York Philharmonic, with Bernstein conducting Prokofiev Symphony No. 5.

8. What is the best tuba playing you have ever done?
Difficult to say; still working on it.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com

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John Stevens Tackles “The Fourth Valve” tm

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A bracelet inscribed with the motto “Been there, done that!” was said to be among the possessions most prized by the then recently retired opera star Beverly Sills. When asked if she might not miss some of the excitement of her former career, she was reminded of her accomplishment by the response inscribed on the bracelet.

While comparing a soprano to a tubist may seem a sonic stretch to some, few things could be more apt than the motto of Sills’ bracelet in describing the recent retirement of tubist, composer and educator John Stevens.

From a solo feature in Broadway’s “Barnum”, to performances with the top Brass Quintets and more-tubist John Stevens has “been there”. As a celebrated professor at distinguished universities, and a composer of a rich body of work which includes a concerto for tuba commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra-John Stevens has “done that”! “The Fourth Valve” tm is privileged to present the amazing John Stevens as the first respondent of our second set of four interviews on davidbrubeck.com

1. How do you conceive of, describe or imagine the ideal tuba sound?
A given note should be about 98% tone and 2% articulation. Articulation is created by consonants (just like in speech) and tone is created by vowels. We tend to use “T” for our articulations, but I’m a big fan of “D” on the tuba, especially in the lower register when we usually want our tongue to be a bit lower and more rounded (less pointed) – which is most easily achieved by simply thinking “D” rather than making the mistake of trying to think about and micro-manage the tongue. Any vowel syllable that results in an open oral cavity is desirable. I prefer “OH”, with a gradual shift more to “OOH” as we move into the upper register. Very important to use a “small” but precise articulation even when playing in a loud dynamic range. Thus, the syllable “tOH” (small “t”, big “OH”) helps us get the kind of sound we want.

Here are some words I like to think of to achieve the ideal tuba sound (in no particular order): round, rich, resonant, thick, warm, ringing, singing, big, dark… I use hundreds of analogies in my teaching, and one I’ve used for years is chocolate bunnies. We all know the disappointment of biting into a chocolate bunny (usually around Easter) and finding it to be hollow. It’s much more satisfying to bite into a solid chocolate bunny. Try to sound like a solid chocolate bunny looks and feels (see many of the words mentioned above.) A sound should always be projected, regardless of dynamic (dynamics are more of a quality than a quantity anyway). To maintain a good sound in softer dynamics, add intensity to your sound as you get softer (think about a stage whisper). Quality of sound is about the most important thing for us. No matter what else you do well, nobody is going to want to listen to you if you don’t “sing” with a good sound.

How far from this ideal have you traveled (on purpose), during performances?
Occasionally one is required, or desires, to make a sound that is edgier, nastier or has other qualities. Multiphonics in a variety of styles (Encounters II, Fnugg, etc.) are obvious examples. When playing jazz a “grittier” sound is sometimes desirable. I think that players should solidly establish their ideal sound as a kind of home base so that they can divert from it when appropriate but always return to it for “typical” playing.

2. What did you learn from composing “Journey” and how much did Eugene Pokorny’s musical personality inform your choices?
I always learn a great deal from composing every piece of music. JOURNEY was an exceptional opportunity and collaboration, primarily with Gene of course, but eventually with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the conductors involved. I sat down with Gene and had some substantial conversations before I began to compose JOURNEY. I wanted to know what was important to him for the piece, favorite composers and works of his, and other musical considerations. But beyond that, even though I knew Gene pretty well already, I wanted to have a better idea of what made him tick. The last thing either of us wanted to do was to create a work that would only be suitable for him to perform, but I wanted to make it a piece that he would really love and embrace. Via the collaborative process of working rather closely together throughout the compositional process I believe we accomplished that.
john-stevens-writingA few specifics that I learned or that were reinforced by composing this work:
- The collaborative process (the human element, if you will), of any composition project is the most important thing.
- Leave an orchestrational “window” for the solo tuba, keeping the instruments of the orchestra higher and lower than the soloist (range-wise) so that the solo tuba can always be heard clearly.
- Use a lot of dialogue between the solo tuba and the sections of the orchestra (or the whole orchestra) – again, so the solo part can be clearly heard. The tuba produces a diffuse sound and is not really as “loud” as people imagine, so clarity of the solo part to the audience is a big consideration.

JOURNEY was my first commission for orchestra, and I still pinch myself that it came from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As I said earlier, it provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime – to create a major work for one of the all-time greatest tubists (and one of my favorite people, by the way) and one of the world’s great orchestras. I will always be grateful for that opportunity!

3. What recollections do you have regarding the ABQ, and being in New York during a time when brass quintets became so popular?
Well, first of all, as an undergraduate at the Eastman School of Music, playing in a brass quintet was one of my primary musical activities. As a freshman I played in an excellent group with older students. Then 5 of us formed a quintet that remained very active together for the next three years under the guidance of horn professor Verne Reynolds. We performed regular recitals of all the big works that were around at the time – Arnold, Bozza, Schuller, Etler, Verne’s Centones and other early music arrangements, etc. – and also did quite a lot of “Young Audiences” work in the schools. More than I realized at the time, Verne was also providing me wight the role model of the performer/teacher/composer that I later became.

Then I went to Yale for my MM and played in another very active quintet for my two years there, working to some degree with all the members of the New York Brass Quintet. By the time I moved to NYC in 1975, I was a very avid and experienced quintet player and chamber music had firmly established itself as my favorite performing medium.

Right about this time the American Brass Quintet began performing Civil War era brass band music, and theytu92 really needed to add a tuba to make the group a sextet to successfully render that music. They were also making the Boehme Sextet a staple of their repertoire. At any rate, they invited me to join them for both of those endeavors, in part because I got to know them very well because I had already been one of the professional tubists performing in Aspen during the summers. I played many concerts with the ABQ in and around NYC during the year and in Colorado during the summers. What a joy that was – in every way. We also did two LP recordings of Civil War era music. The first was just the six of us, recorded in the middle of the night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We scheduled the sessions then in part because it was quiet, but mostly because we were all busy and that was the only time we could count on everyone being able to be there. A couple of years later, the ABQ put together a larger group (14 or so players – brass and percussion) for a recording that would more closely depict the band size and sound of the era. Toby Hanks and I were the two tubists. I should mention that we performed all the Civil War music on period instruments. Those that weren’t owned by the players were borrowed from either the Metropolitan Museum or a local private collector. I was always playing an over-the-shoulder Eb bass. They were great fun to play but a real challenge to play in tune!

Rehearsing, performing and recording with the ABQ was one of the real highlights of my New York years, not only because it was so musically satisfying but because it created lifelong friendships with wonderful people.

4. What was your typical warm-up routine like as an undergrad as compared to later in your career?
As a freshman at Eastman in 1969, I immediately came under the spell and indirect influence of the great trombone pedagogue Emory Remington. Although I never worked directly under his guidance (and he passed away midway through my junior year), my teacher Donald Knaub had been his student and certainly espoused the same fundamentals. I am, by nature, a pretty organized and methodical person, so I quickly got into a routine of doing a regular, Remington warm-up to begin each day. I would actually differentiate a bit between “warm-up” and “daily routine” – both of which are important. The variety of exercises in my daily routine take some time to get through, but I am really warmed up long before I complete them. Some days I would work on the routine, taking perhaps 45 minutes or so. Other days I would just play straight through it (maybe 20 minutes) and move on to etudes, solos or excerpts. That has been the approach I have encouraged my students to use throughout my teaching career.

IMG_6717As I got older, and life got busier with teaching, composing, administrative work and other career issues – not to mention family life in general – I had to become more efficient with my practice time. I eventually boiled my warm-up down to a routine that would prepare me for the performing day as quickly as possible. Constants over the years for me have been long tones, flexibility exercises and pattern scales. I have also remained religious about starting in the middle and lower register before moving into higher playing. I would also say that, over the years, I learned that extensive work in the low register is important for both low and high range playing.

5. When did you really begin to devote yourself to composition, and how has it informed your tuba playing?
I never really studied composition. I studied jazz arranging with Rayburn Wright at Eastman, but when I got to Yale I didn’t really have an outlet for that and decided to begin composing for my own instrument. This was largely because I felt we had a great need for new repertoire for the tuba. I wanted to compose music that performers would find meaningful to play and audiences would find meaningful to hear – and that is still my overriding goal with each work I compose. During graduate school I composed SUITE NO. 1 for unaccompanied tuba, and POWER, MUSIC 4 TUBAS and DANCES for ensemble. I didn’t really realize at the time that, along with my tuba colleagues at Yale, I was kind of on the cutting edge of creating chamber music for tubas. By the way, I premiered DANCES on my Masters recital and it was the solo public performance on the F tuba of my entire career.
I always say that as a composer I think like a performer, and as a performer I think like a composer. It has always been very important to me to be as complete a musician as possible, and composing has been a huge part of that process. When composing a piece of music, I am thinking about every aspect of the work – from the big picture to the smallest details. That approach certainly translates to how I think as a perfumer.

john-stevens-with-tuba-16. What do you see as the major pedagogical points which:
a.) need the most attention yet &
b.) have had the greatest impact?

Without question, RHYTHM!!!! I feel strongly that rhythm, and what we jazz musicians would call “time” is very underemphasized in the teaching of young students. I always say that the right note in the wrong place is a wrong note. Counting, subdividing, pulsing (the heartbeat of the music) and grooving are all so important… By grooving, I mean that it is not enough to just play “correct” rhythms in steady tempos. Players should strive to be “in the pocket”, with rhythms being correct and steady but also having the right feel (or groove), which changes a bit depending on the style of the music. This is an especially important issue for tubists because we so often play a rhythmic role.

The other big one for me is the need to emphasize music first, then playing. Focus on the product and the technique will evolve to create the music in a successful way. Focusing on the technique will not necessarily result in good music making. I always tell my students that if someone sees them after a performance and says “That was really great playing.”, that’s certainly fine. But if they say “That was really great music.”… then you’ve done something…

7. What is the best tuba playing you have ever heard?
Oh my, I’ve heard so much wonderful playing from so many people in so many styles. I shouldn’t name names, because I’ll surely leave out some folks who I really admire, but I’m going to take a chance and do it anyway… by trying to put them into a context and perhaps focus a bit on players of my own age or older. The big early influences on me are typical of my generation – Roger Bobo and Harvey Phillips. Orchestral playing has been epitomized by Arnold Jacobs, Gene Pokorny and many others. Toby Hanks was a huge influence on me, not only as a teacher, but as a tubist I wanted to emulate – especially as a chamber musician. Great jazz playing… Sam Pilafian and Marty Erickson stand out. As a soloist, I must mention Pat Sheridan, who has played many of my all-time favorite performances – but there are many others who I could name as well. The level of playing just keeps going up, which means there are so many fantastic players out there “today” that I don’t even want to get started. Actually, I’ve been fortunate to have many students over the years who have made a big impact on me with their music. With one exception I’m not going to name names – you know who you are. That one exception is Nat McIntosh. The creative work that Nat has done, especially on the sousaphone, stands out as some of the most incredible and innovative playing it’s been my privilege to hear.

8. What is the best tuba playing you have ever done?
Oh man… you should have heard it in the practice room!!! :^) I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever been asked this question. Like most of us, I feel that my prime as a player was probably when I was pretty young-during my NYC years in the late ’70′s. Again, I think most of us become better musicians as we age, evolve and (hopefully) mature. For me, the most important thing has always been to “say something” musically – as opposed to focusing on the tuba playing as the primary thing.

I guess I would have to say that my 2005 “Reverie” CD is an example of that. I guess I feel that my greatest skills were oriented toward “getting the job done” in a wide variety of styles and media – chamber music, orchestral, solo work, jazz, Broadway and other commercial styles, improvising, sight-reading. As I said earlier, for me, being a good tuba player has been one part of being a good musician.

Now I’m comfortable with putting that part largely aside and focusing on my life as a composer.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com

Images from the University of Wisconsin and welltempered.dreamhosters.com

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Jim Self, LA Studio Legend, Solos on “The Fourth Valve” tm220px-The_Legend_of_Zorro_poster…….Jim Self, Tuba Solos In Major Film Scores: (John Williams) Jurassic Park, Home Alone I&II, Hook, & Close Encounters of the Third Kind; (James Horner) Casper & Batteries Not Included; (Marc Shaiman) Sleepless in Seattle; (Jerry Goldsmith) Dennis the Menace

You would be hard pressed to find many musicians on ANY instrument as versatile and talented as tubist Jim Self. From top Hollywood studio dates, to playing principal tuba in The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, playing the John Williams Tuba Concerto under the composer’s baton to being nominated by DOWNBEAT, Jim Self is remarkable and unique. His endeavors stretch to more than a dozen solo recordings and numerous compositions as well. What would you expect from the protege of Harvey Phillips and Tommy Johnson? “The Fourth Valve” tm is honored to host Jim Self for our Fourth interview of our first set of four interviews!

1. Do you remember how you felt on your first motion picture soundtrack session?
My first session was a TV show–2 weeks after I moved to LA (don’t remember name of show)–subbing for Tommy Johnson. I had a tuba solo and the 1st horn (Dave Duke), came up to me and said, “Hey kid, you are going to have a good career in the studios”.–Wow! I don’t remember my 1st movie but my 1st BIG movie was Taxi Driver with two tubas (Tommy and me) for the great composer Bernard Herrmann. We finished on Christmas eve 1975 and Herrmann went home and died that night.

Can you compare that to how you felt on your most recent one?
The last film I did was in May. It was X Men 3, Days of Future Past with composer John Ottman. It had a huge brass section with Doug Tornquist and I on tubas and cimbassos.
After more than 1500 movies I don’t get too excited anymore. The composer in this score, like so many in this age of Pro Tools, wanted a lot of the cues recorded with striping (tracking)–recording the strings and woodwinds then overdubbing the brass–so they can mix it separately. I really hate this kind of recording and much prefer it when we all play together on the same take. Alas it is the way things are done today–especially in big, loud action movies like X Men.

2. How do you conceive of, describe, or imagine the ideal tuba sound?
My ideal sound is clear, big and warm and projects a lot of feeling, in tune, even timbre in all registers and a solo flare when needed. Great rhythm is a must!

3. What was your warm-up like when you were 22 as opposed to11168882_800 now?
I never had a consistent warm-up routine. Most of my life I worked every day and was usually in shape even with out a warm-up. Often my work required making a “take” immediately with out rehearsal-so I learned to be my best “in the moment”. But I still recommend a warm-up to my students that includes long tones, tonguing and slurring, range from low to high-all to get everything working. I play less now so I need to practice more.

4. What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are so many from my teachers Harvey Phillips and Tommy Johnson to Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Placido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme,Arnold Jacobs, Roger Bobo, Winston Morris, John Stevens, Tony Plog and many many other composers and arrangers.

5. How would you describe the relationship between the tuba and the bass trombone?
About as close a a marriage–both musically and personally (hopefully without the sex). Rhythm, pitch, style and balance HAS to be shared. My job is to make the musician next to me sound better by listening and sharing–not leading.

6. What is the best tuba playing you’ve ever done?
Impossible to say–there have been so many from James Horner and John Williams solos in movies, i.e (Close Enbcounters “Voice of the Mothership) to the Wagner Ring Cycle. But my 12 jazz and classical CDs are collectively the best representatives of my sound, passion and art.

Ever heard?
Certainly Harvey Phillips, Tommy Johnson, Roger Bobo, John Fletcher, Dan Perantoni, Chester Schmitz, Arnold Jacobs, Sergio Carolino–and many many more.
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7. How is playing a movie soundtrack session in Hollywood different than other types of sessions, or sessions in another location?
“A gig is a gig” — you always have to play well but a studio session requires more perfection because a microphone is right over the bell and every error is noticeable. One bad performance can mean the end to working for that composer or contractor–or even the end of your studio career. Studio work often require solo or brass overdubs–where you have to be perfect. Extra “takes” cost money and too many will cost you a career. These things are true in all recording jobs: movie, TV, records, jingles. Movies are the best paying gigs and often have the best musicians, so there is a pressure for perfection knowing that billions will hear your music–forever!

8. What do you think the high points have been for the tuba in jazz? What direction would you like to see?
The tuba in jazz is still relatively new. Red Callender, Howard Johnson, and many dixieland players have been the pioneers. I hope I have added to the idiom with my concerts and recordings as have Marty Erickson, Janos Mazura and several younger players. The GREAT star jazz tuba player on the level of Art Farmer, Stan Getz, JJ Johnson, Bill Evans (and on and on), is still in the future–maybe a teenager is out there now. The euphonium, of course, reached it with Rich Matteson-but even Rich struggled to get the recognition that the great artists on other instruments received.

9. What was it like playing for Don Ellis?
Don Ellis was like “put on your seat belt and hold on tight”. Fast, complex arrangements all in odd meters was a real trip. It sure made me a better reader and comfortable with odd and shifting meters. The tuba parts were either doubling the bass or ridiculous complicated solo and ensemble lines. My greatest joy was just listening to the great rhythm sections turning the time around in a myriad of ways and always coming out on one. Don’s writing style is a BIG part of the way I compose myself.

Jim Self-Los Angeles-June 3, 2014

Some Solo Recordings of Jim Self*

I. Children at Play (Discovery-Trend), l983-Jazz tuba and harmonica. (Chosen by High Fidelity magazine as one of the top ten jazz albums of 1983.) Re-released on Bassett Hound Records for digital sales only.
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II. New Stuff (Discovery-Trend), l988-Jazz Fusion. Re-released on Bassett Hound Records for digital sales only.
III. Tricky Lix (Concord Jazz), 1990-Jazz featuring Gary Foster and Warren Luening.
IV. Changing Colors (Summit), 1992-Classical
V. The Basset Hound Blues (d’Note Records), 1997-A jazz C.D. with Pete Christlieb on tenor sax.
VI. The Big Stretch (Basset Hound Records), 1999-A classical recordingOddCouple which features some Self compositions.
VII. My America(Basset Hound Records)-Folk Music
VIII. Size Matters-Jazz Standards featuring Bill Scarlett on tenor sax.
InnerPlayIX. Inner Play (Basset Hound Records),2006-Jazz and strings featuring Gary Foster, Pete Christlieb and Dan Higgins. (Chosen by Jazz Times magazine as one of the top 50 jazz albums of 2006.)
X. The Odd Couple(Basset Hound Records)-Jazz CD featuring Ron Kalina on harmonica.
XI. Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, Bill Cunliffe(Metre Records).
XII. ‘Tis the Season TUBA Jolly-12 piece tuba ensemble.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved davidbrubeck.com

* List derived from bassetthoundmusic.com, where many of Mr. Self’s recordings and publications are made available in addition to being available on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.com!

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2nd Edition of “Everglades”, Stereograms Nos. 21-30, Published by The International Trombone Association Press

21-30 ITA
The International Trombone Association Press has published the Second Edition of the third volume of Stereograms, Nos. 21-30. These original unaccompanied solos for bass trombone are also appropriate for tenor trombone with ‘f’-attachment and work well for euphonium, bassoon, ‘cello and most bass clef instruments. Featuring self-accompaniment in the style of Bobby McFerrin, Stereograms have garnered praise and been recorded and performed around the world.

“Everglades” ranges in style from Funk Etudes dedicated to Bill Reichenbach and Fred Wesley to Swing tributes for Glenn Miller and “Tricky” Sam Nanton. The most recent volume features a mixed-meter romp honoring Chris Brubeck and two additional ‘laid back’ etudes, which have soaked up impressions of the Florida Keys, and are dedicated to Jeff Reynolds and Ken Thompkins.

Those who enjoyed ‘Spain’ or ‘Africa’ from Volume II will be drawn to No. 26-’Cuba’ from Volume III. Dedicated to Phil Teele, this extended concert Etude utilizes innovative expressive devices with flowing, hypnotic Afro-Cuban mixed-meters. Two final pieces include a novelty ‘gliss-fest’ dedicated to Henry Fillmore and a dreamy piece of Americana honoring Emory Remington. “Everglades” is available from Hickey’s Music and other fine retailers.

http://www.hickeys.com/products/092/sku92661.htm

21 Stereogram

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Stereograms for TUBA! Special Editions ePublished and Available

The availability of Stereograms Nos. 1-20 has extended from the original editions (suitable for bass trombone, euphonium, tenor trombone with ‘f’ attachment, bassoon, cello, or bass), to a special edition for tuba!

Stereograms have been described as “Bobby McFerrin meets the Bach Cello Suites”, and are rhythmic etudes which contain self accompaniment and give the aural illusion of two or three separate parts within a single melodic line.

Carefully transcribed and adapted by Professor Kelly Thomas, of the IMG_6728University of Arizona and his former assistant Will Houchin, these lower voiced Stereograms have been recast into appropriate ranges and keys for tuba and are now available for purchase on-line! American trombonist and educator Clayton Lehman has e-published these important new contributions to tuba literature as ebooks books from his new locale as a student in China! The links are as follows:

The following is a page that links to all four collections of Stereograms for Tuba on Amazon Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/David-Brubeck/e/B00DK2Q91E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

The next link is for #1-5 (Collection 1) that is available through B&N Nook:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stereogram-nos-1-5-david-brubeck/1117991176?ean=2940148256861

The next link is for #1-5 (Collection 1) that is available through iBooks/iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id792687527

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Free Introductory Stereograms A-M to Schools

A-M 1

Thanks to a generous grant from the Arts in Medicine Program of The Cleveland Clinic-Florida and anonymous donors, The Rutter Chamber Music Initiative has been able to provide free volumes of Introductory Stereograms A-M to students in South Florida High Schools. Fifteen copies of Stereograms A-M have been given away thus far, with another 25 slated for future give-aways.

The lettered Stereograms A-M, contain 13 original arrangements of traditional themes like “Just a Closer Walk”, “When The Saints Go Marching In”, and even “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, which have been recast as Stereograms. The musical application of the term Stereogram refers to playing two or three parts within a single melodic line. Each theme is presented simply, then ‘rhythmatized’ to a contemporary groove such reggae, salsa, swing or blues. Next, self accompaniment is added, and the level of complexity rises from easy intermediate to advanced intermediate throughout the course of the book.

Created out of a desire to provide stimulating material for often IMG_6719overlooked instruments, these Introductory Stereograms A-M have been specially edited to be playable on ANY bass clef instrument such as: tenor trombone, cello, tuba, bassoon, euphonium, baritone, bass trombone, string bass, or baritone.

These Stereograms were made available to the Rutter Chamber initiative at a reduced price by Gordon Cherry, publisher of the works, and are available for purchase through Cherry Classics at:
http://www.cherryclassics.com/cherry/brubeck-david-stereograms-rhythmic-etudes-for-bass-clef-instruments-p-2802.html

Read a review of the etudes by Joshua Hauser, Professor of Trombone atA-M 2 Tennessee Tech University:
“David William Brubeck’s Stereograms A-M represent a wonderful approach to examining Theme and Variations for younger musicians. By using ‘standard’ melodies, he presents each tune in a form that both the performer and audience can recognize easily before launching into a variation that puts a twist on the melody while still allowing us to sing along in our heads. So often when working with students on variation forms, we have to remind them to find the melody within the more technical passages. By using an embedded bass line as the main thrust of the variations, Brubeck’s Stereograms both allow the melody to be heard throughout and also serve to introduce students to different grooves and rhythmic patterns. I really enjoy practicing and performing both these and the more advanced Stereograms. Bravo!”

Tubist and Los Angeles Studio musician, Beth Mitchell and Euphonium virtuoso Patrick Nyren will each be performing one of these Introductory Stereograms at the 30th International Tuba and Euphonium Conference at Indiana University on Saturday May 24th at 1:45 pm. Mitchell has selected the reggae treatment of “Itsy Bitsy spider” while Nyren will render “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” which initially takes the form of slow drag, and is then transformed into a New Olreans style “second-line” up tempo swing.

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WIN A FREE TROMBONE! ITEC 2014 Hosts An All-Stereogram Recital Sponsored by TROMBA, The ITA Press, and Cherry ClassicsBlue Tromba 2

The 2014 International Tuba & Euphonium Conference celebrates its 30th1932459_10202309803719050_1959951834_n anniversary at Indiana University later this month and will feature an All Stereogram Recital featuring special guests:
Kelly Thomas, Tuba;
Patrick Nyren, Euphonium;
Beth Mitchell, Tuba;

IMG_Brass Miami4& the composer of Stereograms:
David Brubeck, Bass Trombone

With very special guest, Chao-Chun Chen, trombone
And a surprise guest jazz artist TBA

Originally for solo bass trombone or euphonium, Stereograms have been described as “Bobby McFerrin meets the Bach Cello Suites”. Over 50 have been published, performed, and recorded throughout the globe, and separate editions have been transcribed for tuba and baritone saxophone.

By alternating between melody and accompaniment, Stereograms give the aural illusion ofStereograms Original012 two or three parts within a single melodic line. Stereograms will allow performers to engage all types of audiences with this beatbox style of playing, and hold their attention for 30 minutes or more. Perfect as encores or when combined into suites, The Stereograms will also be demonstrated as the basis of a successful jazz duo, and innovative mixed low-brass quartet.

Attendees at the ITEC Stereogram recital which takes place on Saturday, May 24th, from 1:45-2:45 pm will be eligible to win one of the following prizes:

1. TROMBA-The Ultimate Plastic Trombone
with free padded gig bag, trombone stand, two mouthpieces and cleaning kit

2. Rhythmic Etudes for Bass Clef Instruments (Introductory Stereograms A-M),
published by Gordon Cherry of Cherry Classics

3. Stereograms Volume III, “Everglades”, Nos. 21-30 published by the International Trombone Association Press

4. TROMBA-The Ultimate Plastic Trombone
with free padded gig bag, trombone stand, two mouthpieces and cleaning kit

5. Stereograms Volume III, “Everglades”, Nos. 21-30 published by the International Trombone Association Press

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved davidbrubeck.com

Winners must be present to claim prizes. Prizes awarded randomly. No substitutions.

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ITEC 2014 Special! LA Freelance Tubist Beth Mitchell Answers “The Fourth Valve” tm

shapeimage_3Beth Mitchell is an active Los Angeles freelancer, having worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Orange County Philharmonic Societies, the Los Angeles Zipper Orchestra, and many other arts groups giving concerts, masterclasses and numerous solo and chamber recitals around southern California. davidbrub eck.com is proud to present Beth Mitchell in the third installment of “The Fourth Valve” tm, and as special guest performer on the Stereogram Recital at the 2014 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference at Indiana University. Beth will perform Stereograms in recital along side their composer-bass trombonist David Brubeck, and guests Patrick Nyren on euphonium and Kelly Thomas on Tuba on Saturday, 24 May 2014 from 1:45-2:45 pm in Sweeny Hall.

1. How do you conceive of, describe or imagine the ideal tuba sound? (Bb, C, Eb, F.)
As a free-lance musician in L.A. my ideal tuba sound changes with the kind of gig I’m playing. What I personally like best is a big full, rich orchestral tuba sound on Cc tuba, but that isn’t always ideal if I am playing chamber music, a recital, or soloing with an orchestra.

Different sizes and keys of tuba- Bb, C, F, and Eb are like tools in a mechanics garage. You use the appropriate size/keyed tuba for the music you are playing. You wouldn’t/SHOULDN’T use a wrench to hammer in a nail, neither would I use my little solo F tuba to play Prokofiev Symph. No 5

2. How do you achieve more musical expression?
More musical expression can be achieved in so many ways. First step is to observe anything printed in the music. Articulation and dynamics for starters, speeding up, slowing down tempos, then you can play with attacks on individual notes, shaping lines and phrases, etc…

One of my favorite euphoniumists once said, “when your memorization ends, your music can begin” meaning that once you internalize a piece you will start to understand its nuances, phrasing, and a whole new level of music is opened up to the performer.

photo-473. Name two types of inspirations:
Musical: THE MOST influential musical inspiration for me is my brother, bass trombonist Ben Chouinard. I was 14 when he encouraged me to switch from clarinet to tuba. The first day I brought a tuba home he sat me in front of our record player and had me listen to a duet album of Michael Lind and Christian Lindberg. “Listen to Michael,” he said “THAT is what you are supposed to sound like.” In the early years he taught me to breathe, play in tune, how to support an orchestra, and how to fit into the sound of my section. He got me on a diet of Roger Bobo, Arnold Jacobs, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Empire Brass, Canadian Brass, and any good CD we could get our hands on. He is my greatest musical inspiration to this day.

My greatest non-musical inspiration is my mom. She is an amazing professional photographer, incredibly artistic, a generous person and dedicated Christian. She models and strives to be the kind of woman I would like to be.

4. What was your typical warm-up routine like as an undergrad?
As an undergrad David Fedderly turned me onto what I call the ‘Arnold Jacobs 20 minute warmup’. It is found in the back of the Hal Leonard Advanced Band Method book for tuba (pages 50-58, WITH optional articulations). It covers the beautiful sound exercises, scales in all keys, tonguing, slurring through several 8ves, gymnastic rhythmical exercises, articulations, and arpeggios. I’m sure I forgot something…

I know we should switch things up, but it warms up my whole face and it covers almost every aspect of playing I might encounter in any situation. To this day, it is my go-to warmup if I have a long day of playing or only a limited if time on the horn.

5. What one sentence, or so, comes to mind when you think of:1932459_10202309803719050_1959951834_n
Roger Bobo- ONE SENTENCE? Roger is an INCREDIBLE master tuba player, teacher, and mentor; he is a generous individual, and one of my earliest inspirations who continues to inspire me daily. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to work with him as often as he comes into LA and will continue to pester him as long as he allows me to.

Patrick Sheridan- Patrick has showed me that what is seemingly impossible on tuba is NOT, and can be done with pizazz and flare; he is a fine teacher and has the most spectacular wardrobe I have ever seen on any tuba player

Jim Self- Jim is an inspiring tuba player and mentor; he has challenged and pushed me as a tuba player in new directions and taught me so many things about life, music, and tuba.

Doug Tornquist- Doug is an amazing soloist and studio player; I’ve had the privilege of sitting next to him on occasion in sessions, and his playing/reading is beautiful and flawless.

John van Houten- John is a great tuba player, good friend, and mentor, my go-to guy when I need an opinion on a new piece, or to kick my butt on any aspect of playing- especially loud low playing.

shapeimage_3-16. How do you view the role of the tuba in a tuba quartet? What are the challenges? The delights?
The roll of tuba in tuba quartet varies with the part one is playing.

In a tuba quartet you need to know when to play out and when to get out of the way. As a dark conical ensemble, it is difficult for the average ear to pick out and distinguish the important parts, so it is the quartet’s responsibility to make that very obvious. Extremes in dynamics and articulations can be helpful so your ensemble doesn’t all mush together.

1st tuba/3rd chair is often a soloist, or on countermelody with Euph. It is a chair with many hats- you must blend harmonies and get used to not playing the root, but playing in tune within a chord.

I call the 2nd tuba/4th chair the power chair. In this seat you are the tonal foundation and the rhythm section. Whether or not your group stays together tonally and rhythmically many times is up to you. Your pitch must be perfect at all times.

The amount of literature written for tuba/euphonium quartet is staggering considering how long this ensemble has been around. I attribute the enthusiasm for this particular ensemble to the amiable personalities usually found among tuba and euphonium players, their love for community, and beer.

7. When do you prefer cimbasso, and why?
My favorite place for cimbasso is in the movie studios. In the right hands, no instrument can be more sinister, scary, evil, and intimidating than a cimbasso.

8. What is the best tuba playing you have ever heard?
Recently? Øystein Baadsvik. Simply amazing.

9. What is the best tuba playing you have ever done?
Playing with great symphony orchestras is my personal highlight. I LOVE orchestral playing- the colours, the passionate music making, mixing my sound with a good section, exploring the genius of a great composer. As get older, play longer, experience more of life, my perspective changes. I become a stronger and better musician. I think my best days are coming, and I can’t wait to see what they will be.

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com

Images courtesy of Beth Mitchell

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Matyas Veer takes “Seven Positions” tm on a Solo Video Romp

Many of the early instrumental solo virtuosi, (usually violinists or keyboardists), eventually secured lasting fame as composers first, and virtuosi second. Before sound recording, composition was the surest way for the early virtuoso to secure more enduring recognition. Perhaps the two virtuosi who cast the longest shadows of influence into the Romantic and Modern eras as both players and composers were the violinist Niccolo Paganini and the wizard of the piano, Franz Liszt. For many Hungarian musicians in particular and those trained in Hungary, the soloist Liszt looms larger than life as a national treasure, musical icon and inspiration. Amidst this backdrop has emerged a bass trombonist who is consumed with pursuing the full virtuosic potential of the classical bass trombone as as a solo instrument. Matyas Veer, recently appointed to the Netherlands Philharmonic possesses an impressive momentum as a video recording artist on the bass trombone. Combined with his orchestral experiences, and a passion for the trombone quartet, he is a vital force and video pioneer in advocating the soloistic use of the bass trombone. Matyas will be joining Ben van Dijk, Denson Paul Pollard and Erik Van Lier as a faculty member for the upcoming Dutch Bass Trombone Open. “Seven Positions” is delighted to host Mr. Veer as the fifth respondent of our third series of “7 Poositions” tm.
dbto-2012banner1. What do you look for in an instrument?
The key is the ease of operation and a good sound. Since I first began playing the trombone I have been sensitive to the mechanical condition of my instrument. The slide (including tuning slides), and valves always had to fit perfectly-these are the basics. Of the instruments presently available, I prefer Michael Rath’s trombones. I prefer a dual bore slide with Hagmann or Thayer valves. The size and material of the bell can affect the tone, but in reality, the sound depends on the breathing and technique of the player.

matyas 22. How do you conceive, describe or visualize the ideal tone quality?
The sound should be thick and glossy, but mainly centered. Since I played tenor trombone for a very long time, so I prefer a lighter bass trombone sound, and this suits the performance of the solo pieces as well.

In my opinion the bass trombone is clearly part of the trombone section, and not a member of the tuba section.

Of course, maintaining a good balance with the tuba is important too, but if we look that the second trombone is the bridge,than the first trombone and the bass trombone have to be the bridge pillar. Some exceptions to this include the works of Russian composers, where the bass trombone works in parallel with the tuba. In these instances, the tone ought to become darker.

3. What is your secret to a good legato?
The secret of a good legato is most influenced by breathing techniques and hand motions.
The air flow should be trained with vocally oriented literature such as etudes as cantilenas.
The slide should never be allowed to be handled in a lazy way, and special care should be taken to execute glissando.

4. What helps you to achieve musical expression?
It is succumbing to the fantasy that solves everything. Find the goal inside yourself, and work it out precisely-110%. Be serious in what you are doing!

5. Name two types of inspiration: Musical & Non-musicalMatyas 1
Musically
: to take part in such a completely absorbing musical performance, is euphoric in itself. Concentration and maximum focus, allows perfect playing, in the end, happiness.
It is my goal to be able to inspire musicians, and not only trombone players. As a result, my ideal of beauty is is the violin and the voice are very close to my heart-perhaps Placido Domingo or Itzhak Perlmann.
Non-musical: My inspiration is my family.

6. How did you begin to develop as a soloist?
It started it very early. As a musician in a family of musicians, my whole family has always been natural on stage. Around the age of 10, besides playing the trombone, I also sang in the Hungarian State Opera Children Choir. I was on stage at least 5-10 times per month.

In Hungary “brass soloists” are carefully trained, and this means that there is an even greater emphasis on the solo repertoire than on the orchestral literature. During my studies, it was my goal to be a participant in solo competitions. These training I received has formed the basis of my development as well. The concerts and competitions with the Corpus Trombone Quartet helped as well.

Please discuss your favorite solos on bass trombone

My favorite piece? This is an unanswerable question. The piece which I actually working out, it is the dream of the moment, and it will become my favorite.

7. When playing really soft (ppp), becomes necessary what percentage does each contribute to the equation? The right equipment/Air flow/Embouchure Control/Other
I think the instrument has little to do with the creation of the “pianissimo”. The best role the trombone can provide is what I have already mentioned-perfect technical condition. It seems to me that the air matters most. Only a fully relaxed, stress-free breath can produce an effective piano. The lips must stand in facing forward position, so that the lips and slide should be ready for action in order to respond to the relaxed breath. Just like the performance of an athlete,
fine pianissimo playing can’t rely only on talent. We have to prepare mentally and physically as well.

T1. What is the best trombone playing you have ever heard?
The two bass trombone players who have made the biggest impression on me are Ben Van Dijk and Csaba Wagner.

I was only 13 years old when I first heard Ben and I loved it!

Csaba is my best friend and we grew up together. What he is doing with the trombone, has alays been exemplary for me.

My favorite contrabass trombonist is the amazing Brandt Attema.

The tenor players and jazz trombonist I like are Christian Lindberg, Michel Becquet, Joe Alessi, and Wycliff Gordon..It is impossible for me to single out only one name, because I admire and enjoy listening to all of them.

T2. What is the best trombone playing you have ever done?
The best thing I’ve played? Good question. The key is the audience. I’m so gratified when I am able to connect with a great number of people through my playing. When people are happy and I have had a part in sharing this happiness with them through my music-that is all that matters to me. That is the most important feeling: to play something that people like.

T3. What does an opportunity of focusing exclusively on the bass trombone (without tenor trombone, tuba or any other instrument), such as the opportunity found at the DBTO reveal?
The DBTO is vitally important because it represents the essence of the bass trombone: real bass trombonist teaching real bass trombonists. I always dreamed of participating in festivals like this when I was younger.

The DBTO is a fantastic opportunity for every bass trombonist!

c. 2014 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved davidbrubeck.com
images courtesy of DBTO, and Matyas Veer

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