TENOR TROMBONISTS Ralph Sauer, John Marcellus, Peter Ellefson, Alex Iles & Irv Wagner SHOWCASED IN NEW SERIES “1385”!

The headline for davidbrubeck.com in 2016 has to be the introduction of”1385″ tm, the brand-new interview series featuring world-class musicians who happen to play the tenor trombone. How could you possibly provide a better start to the series than these five? Master trombonists Ralph Sauer, John Marcellus, Peter Ellefson, Alex Iles and Irv Wagner lead the charge, and we are grateful; it doesn’t get any better than this! Here are the selected highlights…


Ralph Sauer, trombonist www.davidbrubeck.com

Ralph Sauer, trombonist

2. Only Maurice Andre, and perhaps a handful of other brass players have reached a level occupied by dozens, if not hundreds, of soloists on piano, violin or cello. What are we brass soloists missing?
But there are some brass players today who perform at the highest level. I won’t try to name them, because I might inadvertently leave someone out. Those top musicians have something the rest of the pack doesn’t have. It’s not enough to play in tune, in time, and with a great sound. The top players have a fourth dimension. This includes a complete understanding of the composer’s style, and the ability to go beyond just playing all the notes perfectly. Their phrasing is natural and appropriate; their rhythmic sense is elastic, but never distorted; and they can vary their tone quality to suit the style of the music. They are natural communicators.

5. What is your secret to a great legato?
I use the sound of a perfect natural slur as my model for all other slurs. Perfect legato on the trombone requires exact coordination of slide and tongue. The slide is not early or late–it is on time. How each individual thinks about achieving this can vary. Some people think of the slide being ahead. Others achieve good results by waiting in each position. A third way of thinking would be not to move the slide until the tongue says to move. Sloppy legato is usually the result of the slide moving too soon.

Find the other questions and answers by clicking here: Ralph Sauer

1. How important was the vocal direction for the trombone, which seems to have been established in the United States by Rochut and Remington?






6. When you think of the four or five greatest symphonic trombone sections, who comes to mind? Jazz or studio?

Find out about more “trombonery” by clicking here: John Marcellus


4. What DIFFERENCES have you noticed as a listener/participant in the wonderful orchestras of Seattle, Chicago, New York and others? (Tendencies, priorities, approaches?)

I always try to be a “contributing chameleon” wherever I play. I never really consciously think about the differences, only what I must do at the moment to be a good musical citizen and contributor.

Upon reflection, one of the biggest differences involves volume of sound. I could never play in Seattle the way I have had to in Chicago and New York—although sometimes in the opera pit for The Ring, we hauled it out quite well. Much of that difference has to do with the size/quality of the hall and the size of the orchestra. Boston has such a nice hall that, in my few BSO visits, I never felt that I had to push the sound. Similarly, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall is newer and much more efficient than the halls in Chicago and New York. It is easy to hear on stage and easy to blend dynamically due to the hall’s sonic feedback. It is more like chamber music there. The greatest challenge for me in Chicago was being able to hear across the orchestra and playing ultra softly. That orchestra (and the low brass in particular) has an incredibly wide dynamic range.

The CSO guys play really, REALLY softly.

Another difference is the timbre in different dynamics.

I find that the NYP section maintains a very similar timbre from their softest to loudest. The sound is still very broad at highest dynamics with very little “sizzle.”

The CSO section tends to change timbre at the highest dynamics. It gets pretty “fiery” in the red-zone. I believe that is at least partially due to the equipment they prefer…lightweight bass trombone slides for the tenors and a proportionately larger slide for the bass as well. To be a good citizen, most of the time, I would change slides when playing in the CSO. The last difference I’ll mention is note length and shape. Chicago has a lot of energy at the attack and not a lot of sustain.

New York has less emphasis on attack but lots of sustain. At this point, in case I seem overly analytical, I must declare that it is always the highest honor for me to play with these orchestras. You astutely ask about the differences which are very few, especially when compared to the similarities, which are many. These are the best trombonists in the world!

Frank Crisafulli and Peter Ellefson www.davidbrubeck.com

Frank Crisafulli and Peter Ellefson

7. What is your theory on Frank Crisafulli’s ability to maximize a players potential during a lesson? How would you describe his sound?

Humble, self-effacing demeanor combined with obvious joy of interacting with students. He was able to make us falsely believe as though we played better than he did. He was encouraging while still gently pointing out what needed out be improved upon. I accept that there are big differences in teaching styles but I have never been able to understand the “teaching by humiliation” approach that I know exists elsewhere. In my own teaching, I have completely adopted his style of positive reinforcement. He somehow knew what was most important at the time and what could be addressed later. I also believe that he had an instinct for what he knew we would fix on our own. He trusted us. I played my best during that hour each week and the rest of the time I was trying to recapture how well I played in those lessons—or at least how I perceived that I played.

His sound was like no other I have ever encountered. Compact yet wide and very “meaty.” His sound was full, pure, direct and filled with overtones. He played relatively small equipment (by today’s trend) but he had a huge sound. I like to describe the ideal trombone sound as narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow (a la baritone horn). I believe that the narrow and deep sound is what projects and he certainly projected with apparent ease. I sensed that his air was slow but so well placed. There was nothing flashy, just the facts. His slide movement was a study. Slow but never late. How can that be? Even watching the videos of the CSO (what treasures!), one sees how he seemed to never move quickly but it was always in the slot.

Please catch the rest of the article here: Peter Ellefson


1. Take us through the rehearsals and performance/recording of one of the many awards shows. How would you describe this experience to someone outside a major music center?

This varies from show to show, and the calls for these kinds of awards shows generally go out a few months in advance. The orchestra usually has a few sessions booked a week or two before the show airs live where they will prerecord much of the music in one or two six-hour-sessions. The music often includes opening titles, end credits, and a few other show numbers to be used at the discretion of the show producers, directors, and choreographers.

The orchestra also rehearses and records the main themes of the nominated films or shows. For most awards shows, the orchestra plays those tunes live for the winner as they come onstage. During the show the director will eventually cue the conductor over the headphones to cue the orchestra to play when the clock (clearly in view of the award recipient) runs out. Hopefully, this keeps the show from running too long. But the Oscars run notoriously long, even with the speeches getting cut off.

Alex Iles at www.davidbrubeck.com

Alex Iles at

There are some tech and dress rehearsals a few days prior to and on the day of the show. These rehearsals are not as much for the orchestra but for the directors and camera crew to get a sense of how everything runs in order. Depending on how much the directors use the pre­records, the orchestra may not even play live on the night of the show at all. The Oscar orchestra schedule and responsibilities vary a bit year to year, largely depending also on what the host/MC wants to do. The one year I got to play on the Oscars, Hugh Jackman, a great singer and all around entertainer, was co­-host t, so he was a natural to sing live with the orchestra and did a great job performing with his co­-host, actress, Anne Hathaway.

4. What was it like to play for Sir Paul McCartney? Personally, musically, and historically?
I was called a couple of days before Paul McCartney recorded a live webcast to promote the release of a lovely CD called Kisses on the Bottom consisting of standard and show tunes that he had grown up hearing and had inspired him growing up in Liverpool.

My friend, colleague and fantastic jazz musician, Ira Nepus, played all the wonderful jazz trombone solos on that recording. For the webcast, the producers were not originally going to play any of the tunes with trombone solos, but then changed their minds decided to add one of them into the mix at the last minute. Unfortunately for Ira, he was already committed to another job out of town. So, he had to decline the offer and the call went out to me to cover for him!

It was a thrill to be there in the same room as Paul McCartney, Dianna Krall, Joe Walsh, John Pizzarelli, John Clayton and the rest of the amazing band!! Paul was very gracious and trusted all the musicians so much. When he walked into the studio, he walked right up to me and extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Paul.” I was paralyzed, of course and just shook his hand and said, “Yes, I know.” Dianna Krall, another hero of mine, later told me in a hushed tone, “I have known Paul and worked with him for a few months on this project and I turn into a giddy 13 year old every time I see him!” I played on a cool old Fats Waller tune, “My Very Good Friend the Milkman”. It was a thrill beyond words to get to play on this. Another example in my career of getting to do something as a substitute!!

Alex Iles


4. Which musical solos and educational materials have you seen gain importance over the years, or become obscure?
Solos and Educational Materials; That is difficult to answer in a specific manner because that would require me making a list. But in general, the literature has expanded with many fine works in the last 30 years. Composers like Nina Rota with his magnificent Concerto, Eric Ewazen with works that are trombone and audience-friendly, and lesser known composers like Boda Presser, and Thom Ritter George have produced wonderful which are high-quality and friendly. I am afraid many of the most famous trombonists on the world scene commission works which only they can play, so it does not make a positive impact on the trombone profession.

unnamed-45. Who are your more recent musical inspirations? Non-musical?
Musical Inspirations: I like people who were pioneers in the field. Roberto Gagliardi in Brazil, Emory Remington at Eastman, Gaspar Liccardine in Argentina are inspirations because they had no contact with other trombonists with how to play, available literature and the like, and they created out of nothing for themselves and their students good playing, literature to play, and an audience to listen. Real Inspirations!
8. What exciting future implications do you see in the future for young musicians who happen to play the trombone? Do you think that Remington could have imagined it?
As for the future: I see a bright future for trombonists, but only for the ones who approach the instrument as I do with love and joy which needs to be shared with others. Young people who only have “making money in mind” will not get anywhere. But people and trombonist with sincere and joyous hearts will succeed. I think Remington would have no problem because he was such a fine and simple man. He did not make anyone conform to anything that established but rather helped each person become the trombonist and person that they could become. Simple.

Read the rest of this interview here: Irv Wagner

c. 2016/2017 Dvid William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

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Kagarice, Norrell, Bubert & Sulliman Slide Through 2016 With “SEVEN POSITIONS”!

d401510445445f1b1c0f6a70670053a7Bubert, Kagarice, Norrell and Sulliman-“The Fourth Valve” in 2016 had all its basses covered! A large percentage of the content of the Journal of the International trombone Association (ITA), is left to Dennis Bubert’s care each quarter as he places the major symphonic works and players of our time in the spotlight. Bubert represents pedagogy, ability, accomplishment, scholarship and a front row seat to the ride. Jan Kagarice has made a specialty out of helping those who had been injured or needed to overcome some form of limitation. No stranger to medical issues, Jan had resolve them to continue to play trombone and it became part of her character. In the same way, performing as the bass trombonist of the successful PRISMA trombone quartet helped her to coach a number of award winning trombone quartets from UNT. A true Metropolitan Opera bass, trombonist Steve Norrell has been a stalwart in the Met Orchestra, proving his longevity and passion for music. Trained at Juilliard and by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he has grown to embody his own musical voice and perspectives. An American original, he has recently returned to the recital stage with a world premiere of a sonata dedicated to his mentor, CSO bass trombonist Ed Kleinhammer. Jason Sulliman is a bass trombonist with a passion and a purpose. Originally a cast member for BLAST!, Sulliman is now its conductor and manager, and has sought to integrate his personal experiences as a performer with his passion for helping others through education. Along the way, kinesiology just sort of “happened”, and has become a growing area of fascination and expertise.


Bubert Solo6. How have your views on Kleinhammer’s pedagogy changed from 30 years ago? (Can you imagine a brass section where he , Jacobs and Farkas were writing their books and conversing?)
Both were very involved with what I consider one of the most predominant themes in brass pedagogy over the past three-quarters of the century, but in their own unique way. You’ve no doubt heard the state of trombone playing Emory Remington encountered early in his career, and how his teaching style evolved to urge students to adapt a more singing approach to the horn, blowing into it with as little resistance as possible. This idea of a more relaxed, easy way of blowing the horn was also a major theme in the teaching of both Mr. Kleinhammer and Mr. Jacobs. For Jake, that was reflected in the admonition to “play with minimal motors” and “to seek the weakness in your playing.” Ed, who was quite taken with the Eugen Herrigel book, “Zen in the Art of Archery”, co-opted Herrigel’s expression of “effortless effort”. He carried that book around in his jacket pocket from one time to another, and I remember the countless times he bolted across the room to grab it from his coat and read a paragraph. He also talked about “blowing the horn in a spiritual way.”

I was incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be able to study with those guys, and I’ve often marveled at whatever set of happy circumstances brought them all together at that time in that one place. I don’t think I ever had a lesson with either of them without them invoking the name of Adolph Herseth, and over the years I’ve come to think of them thusly: Herseth as the ultimate artist, Jacobs as the ultimate scholar, and Ed as the ultimate student. Tim Smith told me that a couple of his friends saw Ed at the old Schilke shop on South Wabash once, and screwed up their courage to go over and introduce themselves. “Mr. Kleinhammer? Hi, I wanted to say hello…I’m a trombone student”, Tim’s friend said. “You are?”, Ed exclaimed…. “I AM, TOO!”

I have photos of Ed and Jake in my studio at school as well as on the wall of my basement practice area at home, and I can honestly say that not a single day has passed without thinking about my time with them. Truly extraordinary individuals, and the giants of our art on whose shoulders we stand. I told Charlie last week that I can’t walk down Michigan Avenue or be in the basement of Orchestra Hall without sensing their presence.

8. Red herrings are a literary device used by mystery writers to throw readers off the track. Do you see any red herrings or unfruitful pursuits in the advancement of the bass trombone at the moment?

Red herrings? I don’t know about that, but there is one unfruitful pursuit, as you put it, that I frequently encounter in students. And that’s students who are so enamored of some of our more prominent trombone personalities, like Joe and Charlie, that they’re obsessed with trying to emulate them. Those two are marvelous trombonists and musicians, but as wonderful as they are, I think it’s important for us as musicians and instrumentalists to find our own voice. It’s hard enough to be yourself without trying to be someone you’re not.

To read the rest of the interview, click here: Dennis Bubert


    th-12. What were your teaching style and objectives like before you had medical challenges as compared with afterwards?
    I have a form of muscular dystrophy and a rare neurological disorder. Neither of which are life threatening but certainly caused me to learn about efficiency and healthy function.

    My objectives in guiding musicians has ALWAYS been about the music. I believe that the music itself is the teacher. My students call me coach… I’m just coaching their focus of attention to the music, pretty easy gig! 😉 When a player has physical issues that interfere with performance, I assist them is becoming more efficient…. doing LESS. That’s why they are called “LESSons” 😉

    “Janet”, Performed by Maniacal Four Trombone Quartet in dedication to Jan

    6. It has been said that people “play their personality”. How much of a compelling factor for a performer is the character, humanity and temperment that infuses the performer?
    I agree with the statement completely, but it is also important for the performer to not let their personality overshadow the expression of the composer brought to life.

    Follow aong with the rest of the interview here: Jan Kagarice



      2. What is your secret to a good legato?
      My concept of legato is having the continuity of wind, an efficient embouchure and a fast and elastic slide arm. Many players work so hard trying to have a fast slide arm, but their wrist is rigid and they can only move their slide as fast as they move their whole arm. Obviously this is not smooth and is awkward to listen to. John Swallow’s trick was to put a tight rubber band around your outer slide which is parallel with the brace between the upper and lower slide. This is the same area where you normally hold your slide, but since your fingers are wedged between the brace and the rubber band, you can take your thumb off the slide which frees up your wrist. Adding this elasticity to your wrist is essential for legato and any relaxed fast slide movement.

      John Swallow liked students to change partials if they did an interval larger than a 3rd. It’s a good rule to experiment with, but I believe the other part of the equation is the embouchure being efficient. In my early Met years, Pavarotti would go from one interval to the next immediately, without bumping the new frequency. I believe it’s the same on our instrument. There’s a fine line between having a good liquid legato, but not being stiff or rigid. Jay Friedman frequently tells students to play a “slow slur,” which is what I interpret as Jay trying to get the student to blow through the legato. I’ll often ask the student to have a quicker and more efficient embouchure without bumping the notes. I think that Jay and I are approaching the same thing from different sides of the equation. I encourage students to buzz legato phrases only using their tongue on the initial attack after a breath. After that, the clarity should come from the efficiency of the embouchure. It has to be trained! Even with students who prefer to use legato tongue, I encourage them to buzz the mouthpiece only using the tongue on the initial attack. If their embouchure becomes more efficient, whatever amount of legato tongue they were using inevitably becomes less.

      The stimulus that I use when I play legato is thinking that it’s smooth. Personally I try to have the tongue out of the way as much as possible, but when I’m playing, being smooth is primary and anything else that I’m doing to achieve this is a trained reaction and secondary.

      My two favorite legatos that I’ve personally encountered are Charlie Vernon’s and Norman Bolter’s. It’s not a coincidence that Jay Friedman studied with Swallow before he got into the CSO or that Norman studied with Swallow in school or that Charlie commuted to NYC while in Baltimore to study with Swallow.

      (After performing the New York premiere of the Edward Kleinhammer Sonata in recital at the Manhattan School of Music in November of 2015 with pianist Hanako Yamagata, bass trombone virtuoso Steve Norrell was invited to encore the sonata at the 2016 Festival of the International Trombone Association. The Norrell/Yamagata collaboration is planned to be held at Juilliard, on Friday the tenth of June, 2016, as part of the international festival’s emphasis on trombone solo artists.

      The new sonata, which was written by composer John Stevens, is dedicated to one of the finest orchestral bass trombonists and brass pedagogues of the past hundred years-Edward Kleinhammer. Published by Potenza Music, the Stevens composition combines an intimate knowledge of the capabilities of the bass trombone (which the eponymous Kleinhammer did so much to define), along with expressive lyrical settings, a wide range of timbrel colors, and distinctly virtuosic passages combined with a hypnotic piano accompaniment.)

      CLick here to watch and listen to the premiere…

      8. How would you contrast the “New York School” of trombone playing of Joe Alessi with what you learned in Chicago?
      Joe Alessi is such a unique person. He is one of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever known! The progress that he’s made since he became principal trombone of the Philharmonic is monumental and he’s always looking for ways to incorporate new things into what he does. During Joe’s early years, we had a weekly racquetball game and would occasionally play together. Simply tremendous! Since those years, certain aspects of his playing have improved exponentially. Playing a job like the Met, I was always envious of the freedom and flexibility that Joe had in doing outside projects. Of course I’m happy for Joe and it’s hard to imagine anyone being more productive while they were doing it.

      Joe is a little younger than I am, but he was at Curtis while I was at Juilliard and all of us of that era were positively affected by the CSO. Joe’s greatest influences were his father, teachers in the Bay Area (Ned Meredith and Mark Lawrence) and then Dee Stewart and especially Glenn Dodson at Curtis. Many years ago I had conversations with Joe about my lessons with Mr. Jacobs. He was interested, but his concepts are uniquely his own on certain things. He’s been very successful in developing so many amazing artists, In 1988, the CSO was doing a residency at Carnegie and their off day that week was on Thursday. Charlie and Jay came up to the house in the afternoon as did Joe and David Finlayson. We played for hours (while I had the tape recorder on). Listening to the tape I hear individuals. It’s all really, really good, but unique to the person who was playing it. Since that time, Joe’s playing has only grown!

      Follow your favorite operatic bass here: Steve Norrell



        2. If movements are like fingerprints, and each is different everytime; can there be any constants in trombone technique?
        This is a difficult question to answer in that the product and the process to get there have different spins on the same answer, and to many this will sound like an academic quibble of semantics, but I disagree. I find the whole concept fascinating.

        Technically I don’t think any two sounds made in the natural world are identical. Movements are all different (even if it is so slight that it is unperceivable to the human ear) and thus their fingerprints in sound are unique. Musicians will usually get to a point where for all practical purposes, a consistent sound is heard because the nuances are so minute that they aren’t significant in terms of job performance, etc. For that part of the conversation, I do think one can approach playing with a consistent mindset and achieve consistent results, but only if we use the terms loosely. I don’t think there’s any real harm in talking about a consistent product as long as we agree it is a matter of scaling.

        I think the word ‘consistent’ can be dangerous though, when talking about the process. If we get so wrapped up in trying to manipulate our bodies the same exact way every time, we might actually be hindering our bodies’ natural ability to adapt to the current environmental parameters and take aim at that ‘consistent’ goal from a slightly different vantage point. Your body’s components must function from their current state, and to interfere with our natural ability to function might limit the freedom of adaptability. The only ‘consistent’ thing about my playing is I am constantly trying to be better than yesterday. I think the whole concept of ‘consistent’ sets limitations and throws our focus off of the real goal.

        7. How do your studies movement influence your approach to slide motion?
        My slide movement needs a ton of work, mainly because I am still searching for the best set-up in the left hand to hold the horn. I think this matters with bass in particular. It is a heavier horn, and if your left hand doesn’t feel comfortable supporting the instrument for long periods of time, then it will start shifting in a way that eases the discomfort. When that happens the right hand will naturally make compensating adjustments with how it helps to support the weight of the instrument, which will change the slide technique.

        Having said that, I try to hold the slide with my fingertips. After that, I really try to ignore the physical characteristics and focus solely on the sound that is created when changing notes. If you are really listening, you can hear a difference between effective slide technique and ineffective slide technique on all sorts of levels. This goes back to ‘no two movements are alike’. I challenge you to find two trombonists that do it the same exact way. I guarantee if we hook them up to measurement equipment (like EEG), we will find differences.

        I remember watching the National Brass Ensemble concert in Chicago last year. Some of the Gabrieli pieces were set up with two choirs, so their angles were such that I got a great look at slide work. There were times where I saw some of the most accomplished trombonists playing unison lines right next to each other. Slightly different hand positions, different speeds, but wonderful results. I could only tell a difference visually.

        To keep relaxing with Jason, click here: Jason Sulliman

        c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

        Interested in more “Seven Positions” tm Interviews?
        Charlie VernonJames MarkeyChris BrubeckDoug YeoJeremy MorrowTom EverettGerry Pagano Ben van DijkRandall HawesDenson Paul PollardThomas MattaFred Sturm Bill ReichenbachMassimo Pirone Erik Van Lier Jennifer WhartonMatyas VeerStefan Schulz

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POKORNY, PERANTONI & MEIXNER! The “Fourth Valve” in 2016 Smashes Through Year Number Three!!

Nothing is less impressive than quantity! If you are looking for quality, here are three of the best! Perhaps the graduation speeches were just a bit too generic for you favorite tuba/euph. player. These interviews just may be the answer; inspiring, challenging, and full of hard-won-wisdom. Celebrate 2016 with three of the best. Tubist Eugene Pokorny has enjoyed success at every station in his storied career. He has flourished in some of the most demanding brass playing communities and is a Titan of the tuba world and a first class musician. As a soloist, with brass ensembles large and small, and with some of the finest orchestras in the world, Pokorny has plied his craft with humor, warmth and greatness. Dan Perantoni has a habit of being involved with first-rate musical organizations, and one suspects that he just might have something to do with their successes. It may have begun when Perantoni started studying tuba with the legendary Paganini of the Tuba-Harvey Phillips; with this inspiration, Perantoni has emerged as one of the most important tuba teachers of our time. After finishing a doctorate at the University of North Texas as a teaching assistant for Brian Bowman, Meixner landed as euphonium player, soloist and assistant conductor of the River City Brass Band, recorded a solo CD, a duo CD, launched and recorded with The River Bottom Quartet.



1. Charles Vernon, has stated that it might surprise people to know that Jacobs, Kleinhammer, Crisafulli and Friedman were, “four different styles of playing, all going for a similar result.” Now with yourself, Vernon, Mulcahy and Friedman, the resultant blend seems to have all the characteristics of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with different players. How did you achieve the blend which is so present (and yet can be so supportive of other timbres), with almost a whole new team? How do your sound and Mr. Vernon’s sound in particular achieve such a beautiful blend that is reminiscent of Jacobs/Kleinhammer?
There is a willingness of the sections’ players (some more than others) to subjugate their own personal playing style to one which is more in keeping with the majority opinion. However, there is occasionally some discussion as to where the final sound result will be.

We are all different players with different abilities to adjust to others as well.

I found in my own listening that Jacobs was very lucky to have a musician as competent as Kleinhammer as a sidekick because Kleinhammer would complement his own sound to Jacobs’ playing style, rhythmic proclivities and interpretive rigidity. But that is another subject. For me, the teamwork aspect of playing in a section is the highest goal.

When I play with Charlie [Vernon], I try to find a sound that complements his array of colors. He is more enamored of the lower harmonics in the sonic spectrum of his sound. So, I will try to emphasize the higher side of the harmonic spectrum when I play with him.

Charlie is quite sensitive to the quality of sound when he listens to me trying out different instruments. I find his input very helpful. When we are working on balancing the section, I need to tell him when I (and perhaps others) simply cannot keep up with the output wattage of a bass trombone. The range of all our volumes has to vary from being barely audible all the way to “hell bent for leather” as my hero Jeff Reynolds used to say. We have to have the capability and, more importantly, the willingness to do it all. I have no answers as to the “how” the of the blend that occurs between Charlie and myself.

2. When you take a breath, on most occasions, do you release it immediately in rhythm, or hold it-no matter how slightly? Why or why not?

On most occasions the breath always moves in rhythm both in and out with no delay. If the first note I am to play is in the mid to high register (as in the solo in “Petrouchka”), I may delay to make sure that I am “up to pressure” before releasing the air.

To read the rest of the interview with the Eugene Pokorny, the leading orchestral tubist of our time, click here Eugene Pokorny


1. Who are your inspirations?

Harvey Phillips, Arnold Jacobs,
Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra.

& non-musical?
Fred Marrach, Gerhard Meinl, Perter Hirsbruner Sr.

2. What does it take to have a really happening studio beyond being a great teacher and performer?
Effective recruiting, Communication

3. How do you approach solo tuba differently with regard to classical music and jazz. How do you attract or find audiences most effectively?
Same approach for all- listening and singing.
Building an audience –Years of marketing – name recognition- good products- commissioning good new works- word of mouth.

4. Who are the most interesting young orchestral tubists out there today?
Jeff Anderson, San Francisco; Steve Campbell,
Minnesota—my all time favorite orchestra Pro—Gene Pokorney, Chicago Symphony

To soak up the rest of the Perantoni interview and its no-holds-barred wisdom, click hereDan Perantoni

Praxis Duo www.davidbrubeck.com

Praxis Duo

What attracted you to percussion in chamber music, and what have you found?

I was initially exposed to this by the Brian Bowman/Gordon Stout recording of Samuel Adler’s “Four Dialogues”PRAXIS+cover for euphonium and marimba. I suppose I was attracted to the sound of the two instruments playing together and liked the idea of doing something different than solo pieces with piano. Several years later I joined a consortium to commission David Cutler for a euphonium piece with cahon and maracas. During that same time I was working with a couple of other composers on pieces for euphonium with percussion ensemble. Partly due their great writing, but likely equally due to the interesting combination of instruments/sounds, I was turned on to euphonium/percussion music from that point forward.

Simply put, the more variety of percussion instruments that are used, the more sounds that are capable, the more interesting for the listener and performer alike. With percussion, the number of timbres, sounds, etc. possible is literally limitless. This allows me to be more creative with the sounds/colors I can produce on my instrument and the musical interest for all involved. In the case of our Euphonium + Percussion duo and our album ‘Praxis’, it doesn’t hurt to have the opportunity to work with the mega-talent virtuoso percussionist and composer Nathan Daughtrey!

8. What are your favorite chamber music works that include euphonium? Are there any other directions you would like to see explored?My opinions here are heavily influenced by my personal experience with certain pieces, having performed them with good friends and colleagues. The works with percussion I recorded with Nathan Daughtrey are among my favorites, as well as Gillingham’s “Diversive Elements”, which I have performed a number of times with different friends and colleagues. The compositions and arrangements for euphonium quartet (and three euphoniums + 1 tuba) on our River Bottom Quartet album “In Too Deep” were a lot of fun. I also very much enjoy the music of Fernando Deddos, including the title track of the ‘Praxis’ album and his “Invasions and Myths” for euphonium, trumpet and piano that I recorded with Jennifer Dearden and Kevin Dill in 2015.

As far as directions for further exploration, I am thrilled to see the creative new works emerging for euphonium in a chamber setting. Lots of great stuff! It would be interesting to see more pieces for euphonium with strings, which seems to be somewhat of an untapped genre. The “Concerto No. 3 – Diran” by Alan Hovhaness is quite nice.

To read the complete interview from Euphonium soloist and entrepreneur Meixner, click hereBrian Meixner

Interested in more year end summaries of TUBA/EUPH. Interviews? Look No Further! Three Hot Links Below…

The Beastly Tubas of 2015! “The Fourth Valve” tm Recounts the Year’s Best Interviews, Read on…

2015, The Year of The Euphonium! Continue to article…

How Sweet The Sounds! The Tubas of 2014 on “The Fourth Valve” Read on…

Interested in more “Fourth Valve” euphonium interviews? Check out these:

Demondrae Thurman 2015Jamie Lipton 2015Lance LaDuke 2015Matthew Murchison 2015Koichiro Suzuki 2015.Marc Dickman 2015Lauren Curran 2015Mitsusu Saito 2015Adam Frey 2015Martin Cochran 2015

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Miami’s Own DUO BRUBECK, Featuring Guitarist Lindsey Blair, at The 46th Annual International Trombone Festival 2017!

June 29th 2017 at 9:00 am at the University of Redlands in Southern California is the time and place for West Coast Duo Brubeck fans and curiosity seekers of all kinds to convene.

With special thanks to Professor Steve Wolfinbarger and Dr. Andrew Glendering, Duo Brubeck has been invited to perform an hour long set of jazz standards and originals in their inimitable style.

A handful of copies of Stereograms A-M, published by Cherry Classics, will be given away at random to those in attendance,so please be early and register the day before! See you there……

DUO BRUBECK has placed the bass trombone back at the center of jazz music making. By alternating between bass and melodic parts in the manner of Bobby McFerrin, bass trombonist David Brubeck incorporates his ‘Stereogram’ technique into the jazz duo setting featuring interesting arrangements and spectacular featured guitarists such as Tom Lippincott, Mitch Farber, Jonathan Kreisberg, Lindsey Blair and Sandy Poltarack. Both the guitar and the bass trombone excel in either a melodic or accompanimental role, allowing for a delicious weave of alternating roles and sonic combinations. The unusual combination of bass trombone and guitar is surprisingly satisfying and completely unique.

Miami New Time Magazine says Lindsey Blair selected as Best Jazz Musician 2011. “As an official guitarist for Sábado Gigante with Don Francisco, Lindsey Blair has played alongside Puerto Rican reggaetonero Daddy Yankee, but it was Wes Montgomery who got him started on the guitar, and jazz is where his heart is. The Indiana native studied the form at the University of Miami for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and he has toured with Maynard Ferguson and played with Dizzy Gillespie. He also has collaborated for years with Gloria and Emilio Estefan and scored a gig onstage with Miami Sound Machine for Super Bowl XLI. But it is his current stint with local supergroup 7Crossing where his powerful, blazing Latin jazz truly shines. ”

You might think that artists as diverse as latin pop superstar Gloria Estefan, Country artist Lee Ann Womac, hip hop legends 2 Live Crew, R&B singer/songwriter Bobby Caldwell, jazz trumpet virtuoso Maynard Ferguson, rock drummer Gregg Bissonette, broadway composer/ singer Anthony Newley, the Florida Philharmonic, and televisions cornerstone master of ceremonies Don Francisco have little common musical ground, but south Florida guitarist Lindsey Blair has been able to lend musical support to each of these artists with his versatile guitar work.

Lindsey is the kind of player that is comfortable in almost any musical situation. Whether the gig calls for him to sit in with an established band for a 4 hour gig with players he has never met and play a night of unrehearsed music of whatever musical repretoire de jour is being served up, to blending with a 30 piece orchestra and reading through a stack of sheet music as thick as a magazine, Lindsey can handle the challenge.

Lindsey is a guitarist that is driven by a passion for playing and being inspired by music rather that fortune and fame. He is most satisfied with his work when he has been able to break new musical ground, and /or spend some time with his favorite kind of people, musicians.

DAVID BRUBECK, the son of James and Barbie Brubeck, is a third cousin to the famous musician after whom he was named. He performs regularly with the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, Duo Brubeck, Duo Brass and The Brubeck Brass. Brubeck’s occasional performances have included the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles Larry Elgart and the Bolshoi Ballet. He may be the only musician to perform as a solo and duo artist for the International Festivals of the Tuba and Euphonium, Trombone, Trumpet and Euophonium and Tuba Conferences.

The first, three-time, Walt Disney World, collegiate All-American Musician, Brubeck graduated from Northwestern and the University of Miami, where his principal teachers were Frank Crisafulli and Charles Campbell. Over the past 35 years, Brubeck’s own students have garnered prominent positions throughout the music business. The proprietor of www.davidbrubeck.com, this active advocate of the bass trombone has published countless interviews and articles and premiered numerous compositions for the instrument. He appears courtesy of the ITA, The ITA Press, Cherry Classics, All County Music & their Master Tech-Mark Adams, and custom horn manufacturer John Duda.

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com
Lindsey Blair Bio from lindseyblairmusic.com

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“The Harmony Petting Zoo”
Sunday 30 April
The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, Dr. Ken Boos-conductor
An interactive, hands-on musical extravaganza
With DUO BRUBECK featuring Lindsey Blair
Sunday, 30 April 2017
4 pm at Pinecrest Gardens
11000 Red Road
Pinecrest, Florida 33156
Adults $20, Seniors $15, Students $5, Children 6 and under Free.

Yes, it’s a familiar song from childhood, you can even sing along, but will you still be able to recognize it after brass master David Brubeck and guitar virtuoso Lindsey Blair dress the tune in the clothes of jazz? Journey from the simple to the sublime with familiar songs as friends in this concert for the young at heart. Youthful audiences will relate to the songs they know so well, like “You are My Sunshine”, “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, The “The ABC Song”, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”, and many others; older, youth-filled fans will relish samba grooves, jazz waltzs, playful polyrhythms and enticing harmonies, as the evryday becomes art. EVERYONE will leave singing THE BLUES, but you won’t have them anymore! Introduce your favorite young person to jazz and blues with DUO BRUBECK and The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami.

Stay tuned Here for More Upcoming DUO BRUBECK Events…

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

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Friday April 7th, 2:00 pm DOUBLE DUOS!

Friday 7 April
2:00 pm
Shark Tank! (Outside Kendall Coffee House)
Admission is Free
MDC Kendall Campus
11011 SW 104th Street Miami, FL 33176
Ronnie Miller Duo, featuring Gary Keller with
DUO BRUBECK featuring Tom Lippincott
Join the world-renown genius of modal jazz, Ronnie Miller, and his duo featuring the insightful improvisations of Gary Keller on saxophone. These two master musicians have inspired generations of jazzmen to play better and write deeper. Join them as they display the alchemy of the duo in a concert shared with Miami’s own, DUO BRUBECK, featuring award winning guitarist and internet guitar guru Tom Lippincott. Arrive early, as this event is sure to be SRO.

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Cuban Architects at Home and in Exile
Wednesday 2 November 2016, 6:00 pm Reception
Coral Gables Museum turned the spotlight on modernist architecture by Cuban designers on the island and abroad. Victor Deupi co-curated the exhibition with Jean-François Lejeune, his colleague at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Deupi gave those in attendance a pre-opening glimpse of Cuban Architects at Home and in Exile, while music for the reception and the opening of the exhibit was artfully provided by DUO BRUBECK, featuring Mitch Farber.


Wednesday 8 March 2017
Hal Roland/Matt Bonelli DUO with
DUO BRUBECK, featuring Lindsey Blair

2:00 pm in Room 8122
MDC Kendall Campus
11011 SW 104th Street Miami, FL 33176
Admission is Free
Join Miami’s Bass Master, Matt Bonelli, as he holds forth on the niceties and nastities of the duo with his long time duo partner Hal Roland. This concert will GROOVE! Joined by DUO BRUBECK, featuring the premiere of amazing guitarist Lindsey Blair with the group. NOT TO BE MISSED!

Friday 7 April
1:00 pm
Room 8122
Admission is Free
MDC Kendall Campus
11011 SW 104th Street Miami, FL 33176
Ronnie Miller Duo, featuring Gary Keller with
DUO BRUBECK featuring Tom Lippincott
Join the world-renown genius of modal jazz, Ronnie Miller, and his duo featuring the insightful improvisations of Gary Keller on saxophone. These two master musicians have inspired generations of jazzmen to play better and write deeper. Join them as they display the alchemy of the duo in a concert shared with Miami’s own, DUO BRUBECK, featuring award winning guitarist and internet guitar guru Tom Lippincott. Arrive early, as this event is sure to be SRO.

“The Harmony Petting Zoo”
Sunday 30 April
The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, Dr. Ken Boos-conductor
An interactive, hands-on musical extravaganza
With DUO BRUBECK featuring Lindsey Blair
Sunday, 30 April 2017
4 pm at Pinecrest Gardens
11000 Red Road
Pinecrest, Florida 33156
Adults $20, Seniors $15, Students $5, Children 6 and under Free.

Yes, it’s a familiar song from childhood, you can even sing along, but will you still be able to recognize it after brass master David Brubeck and guitar virtuoso Lindsey Blair dress the tune in the clothes of jazz? Journey from the simple to the sublime with familiar songs as friends in this concert for the young at heart. Youthful audiences will relate to the songs they know so well, like “You are My Sunshine”, “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”, The “The ABC Song”, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”, and many others; older, youth-filled fans will relish samba grooves, jazz waltzs, playful polyrhythms and enticing harmonies, as the evryday becomes art. EVERYONE will leave singing THE BLUES, but you won’t have them anymore! Introduce your favorite young person to jazz and blues with DUO BRUBECK and The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami.

Stay tuned Here for More Upcoming DUO BRUBECK Events…

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

photos courtesy of

Pinecrest Gardens, Coral Gables Museum, Lindsey Blair, Hal Roland, Matt Bonelli, and Ron Miller


Smiles All Around! “The Fourth Valve” tm Hosts James Jenkins-Tuba Extraordinaire!

James Jenkins, Bob Tucci & Mike Roylance

From his home base of the Jacksonville Symphony, James Jenkins may launch into orchestral orbit of the famed Boston Symphony Orchestra or rocket to the vibrant Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. A prodigious performer and pedagogue, Jenkins was bit early on by the tuba bug in his home town Miami. There, Jenkins would go on to become one of the most outstanding graduates of the innovative tuba program at the university of Miami under master tubaist Connie Weldon. A virtuoso chamber music and orchestral stalwart, Jenkins also shines as a soloist and always seems to quickly adapt to any musical circumstance. “The Fourth Valve” tm is very excited to present James Jenkins….Enjoy!

1. What drew you to the tuba in the first place, and what has kept you

I enjoyed the basic sound of the instrument and the function of the bass
lines. As I have grown in music, I appreciate the true versatility of the
instrument. I still really enjoy being the foundation or a part of the
foundation of the music. That’s where a lot of the musical substance is.

2. How would you describe Connie Weldon’s influence on the Tuba/Euph world?
On you, as her student?

Connie did a great deal for the music world through the Tuba, not least of
which was her establishing and helping to develop the concept to Tuba
Chamber Music in the U.S. As a teacher, she was fantastic. Very demanding
in a maternal way. Very focused on establishing solid, unshakeable
fundamentals and always remembering that even the etudes and exercises are
all music.

James Jenkins with the BSO Boston Pops

3. How big of an inspiration was it to see the success of your fellow
Weldon student, Sam Pilafian?

Many of us have been inspired in one way or another by Sam. From my
perspective, he’s taking the principals that Connie taught and brought them
to another level. A major creative mind!

4. How important has chamber music been to you as a musician, and how does
it affect your orchestral playing?

Of all that I do in musical performance, the skills that I developed through
learning to play chamber music have proven the most valuable. The ideals of
“being responsive and responsible to the other musicians on stage while I’m
playing”, “actively connecting with the other musicians”, “non-verbal
communication skills”, “understanding what my musical role is within the
ensemble at any particular time”, all of these ideals help me to be a much
better orchestral musician.

5. What do you look for in a tuba, and what have you found that you like?
I don’t have specific technical requirements for my instruments. I look
for instruments that are responsive to the way that I play (in all
registers), and helps me to get closer to the concept of sound that I have
in my head. I’m presently playing a 1925, BBb York as my main orchestral
instrument. I also own a Marzan, Holton 645, and a Yamaha 822 F-Tuba.

6. How have you seen the brass scene chsnge in the state of Florida since
you were a kid growing up in Miami?

Difficult to say, because mostly it has been my perspective that has changed.
There were great brass players around when I was a kid and there certainly
are now.

7. In addition to your regular position with the Jacksonville Symphony, you
have had the opportunity to perform with several notable orchestras. Ahat
stylistic and listening approaches have you noticed that are distinct
between Boston, Cleveland & Jacksonville? Similar?

The basic concepts are similar between the orchestras. There is much more
of a commitment to listening, and fine ensemble playing that happens in the
highest quality orchestras. Cleveland has an unparalleled commitment to the
Chamber Music Principals. They believe in precision ensemble, clarity and
transparency in the ensemble, dynamic range (especially soft), and perfect
intonation. Boston plays with glorious sounds and many colors. They also
play with a great deal of Power! In Jacksonville, we are working on
developing all of these things to be on a similar level of the Clevelands
and Bostons.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Low Brass Section with James Jenkins

8. Who are your inspirations?

I’m inspired by the Great Communicators and by people that I have seen grow
to great success. A few of my musical inspirations are: John Stevens,
Wynton Marsalis, Yoyo Ma, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Demondrae Thurman,
and Mike Roylance.

Those who are creative and determined to help make things better, or to
develop something interesting and beautiful. Too many people to name.

9. How do you approach teaching students differently today than you did
twenty years ago, and why?

Thanks to Connie Weldon and John Stevens, I’ve always taught the importance
of solid fundamentals, musical integrity, as well as creative, engaged
interpretation. I’ve always attempted to find a personal connection in
which to reach my students through. I continue to stress these things but I
now talk a lot about legacy. The honor of being connected with the greatest
music and musicians throughout history (all genres) through our work and
study that we engage in today. That it is important that we pursue our
study and development in a responsible, respectful manner, commiserate with
the musical legacy that we have connected to.

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com
Photos courtesy of James Jenkins

Do You Want More Interviews?

The Beastly Tubas of 2015! “The Fourth Valve” tm Recounts The Year’s Best Interviews…

How Sweet The Sound! The Tubas of 2014 on “The Fourth Valve” tm

2015, The Year of The Euphonium!

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Spreading Silver Sunshine with Steven Mead and “The Fourth Valve” tm

The list is very short indeed. Maurice Andre, Hermann Baumann, Oystein Baadsvik, almost Christian Lindberg- classically oriented brass soloists who make it their living and life’s work. Steven Mead belongs on the list, and may have very well defined the term ‘brass virtuoso’ as he sat astride two centuries of great brass solo playing tradition. Not only does Steven Mead have it all, he likes to share it! Musicality, technique, showmanship, vision and heart-who could ask for more? “The Fourth Valve” tm is excited to bring you the leading euphonium soloist of our age-Steven Mead, enjoy!

1. Your tone concept seems different than many other exemplars of your instrument.
Is it your concept, embouchure or something else?

Hello Dave, thanks for these questions which I’ll endeavour to answer.

Tone is a very personal thing, and so however I create the sound I do as a result of how I feel about the sound I want to make. I can’t speak for others, and of course there will be differences between players, and indeed equipment will have something to do it, but also, every single musical experience that each of us has had goes into making us the musicians that we are. Also, our emotions and how we feel about melody and more exuberant technical elements of our music affect our sound.

My concept of sound I guess has evolved over the years. If you compare the way I sounded in my earliest recordings circa 1990 and how I sound now, there are differences, but perhaps not as drastic as with other people. I guess if you asked a singer that question they would smile and answer something to the effect of, what the hell do you expect me to say, I sing the way I can and want to!

2. You display an unusual authority on and rapport with your instrument. Why do you think it so? Hours of practice, years of experience, a natural gift, a deep and regular familiarity with the music, or another aspect?
It probably wouldn’t be understated to say that the euphonium is my life, and has been since around the age of 14.

It is my way of expressing myself, much better than I can with words or physical gestures. When you spend four hours a day with your instrument for about 40 years, that’s nearly 60,000 hours… sure, I think I’ve developed a repport with it!

Essentially I feel I’m a melodist, and this stems back to my earliest musical training, and all the singing that I did between the age of 5 and 13. When my soprano voice ‘disappeared’ the euphonium was on hand to continue the vocal expression. The timing was perfect for me then.

The hours of practice just seek to reinforce the connection we have with our instruments, but it can quickly break down if we don’t stay focused, and keep the passion. This word ‘passion’ is probably what has driven me to maintain a close connection with the instrument.

3. How would you define a virtuoso? What does it take to get there?
I’ve never really thought about the definition of such a word, it seems like a word of convenience that people might use to describe somebody who seems to have a command of the instrument, and is able to display this in an exuberant and confident way.

The short answer would be practice and more practice, but it has to be guided and focused, and usually this involves working under the guidance of a master teacher. It’s very easy to waste time and never really achieve full potential.

I grew up in a time where there were no professional euphonium teachers around, so I had to seek inspiration from great musicians whenever I could make contact with them.

4. RNCM granted you a professorship after a lifetime of achievement. Are there other full-time professors of euphonium in the UK who are not also wearing another hat of trombonist or tubist? (In the US, it may be a club of just one-Brian Bowman.). Can you put into words the opportunities this has afforded you?
As far as I know I am the only full Professor of Euphonium in the UK, but we do have others doing really a fantastic job that have excellent qualifications but perhaps are of a younger generation. We are quite lucky in the UK that it is possible to be a full-time specialist in the euphonium, but usually, and that includes myself, we have to do a variety of activities, conducting, teaching, media activities, business (webstore for example) to support our principal activity of performance.

I feel I’ve been very lucky, and that the timing of me becoming a professional euphonium player was perfect for simultaneous developments that were happening in higher education in the UK, involving brass band studies, and a widening of the strictly orchestral instrument list that could be taught at university and conservatory level.

5. You display a grand vision of the potential for your instrument and seem to place it in extraordinary settings adorned by special arrangements, showmanship, grand attire, with musical and technical brilliance. Did this develop slowly over time, or was it a vision early on that you have worked towards?

Well thank you for the very kind words David. I think for me the way I have approached euphonium performance has been a natural progression, and of course it still isn’t over. To be honest, I haven’t worn some of the more exuberant attire for a couple of years, but who knows if that could change again!

Placing the euphonium in ‘extraordinary settings’ – well I’m not sure really it’s that extraordinary, except for perhaps the fashion show I did in Milan 10 years ago. I’m trying to get out of the euphonium ghetto and team up with other musicians, string quartets, brass quintets, trombone quintets, organ and so forth.

Too often I feel that people are prejudiced towards the euphonium because we limit ourselves to strictly ‘band’, and low brass settings.

They may have a point!

Therefore with all my travels I’ve been very lucky to meet many different ensembles and great musicians who’ve wanted a collaboration, and I’ve always welcomed this, and continue to do so.

How DO you view the euphonium?
I’m not sure how I can answer this in less than about 10,000 words, but I’ll try.

The euphonium for me is the most beautiful of all the brass instruments; truly sonorous and virtuosic.

It has an increasingly fine body of original repertoire, and is recognised increasingly my other professional musicians around the world.

The euphonium should have been included in the symphony orchestra, introduced at the end of the 19th-century and then all the bias that has been shown against the instrument during the 20th century would never have occurred, and the euphonium would have been taught in music conservatories from the beginning of the 20th century. As it is, we ‘missed that boat’, and it was allowed to continue its journey purely within the realms of the wind and brass bands. I believe it’s started to show its full potential now, but we need more specialist teachers, and we need more chamber and symphony orchestras who are prepared to take a chance to show off this most remarkable of musical instruments.

We need classical music stations to let people hear the beautiful sound we make. We have never had more fine young players playing euphonium as we do today, it’s really quite staggering. Many of them though are uncertain about the future, and get advice to switch instruments to guarantee a performing career. Some make it through this doubt and have blazing professional careers.

6. Most instruments encompass two to three vocal ranges (sop., mezzo, alto, tenor, baritone, & bass).
Of the three bass clef timbres you seem to orient towards the timbre of the great tenors. Is this a conscious choice?

Perhaps yes. We have enough bass instruments, like the tuba, who desperately try to sound higher than they can comfortably manage in much of their solo literature. So I’m happy to show off our natural ‘communicating’ range. But many of the original works and perform have a range of four octaves, so at times we have to sound comfortable in all the ranges you listed.

7. Your tone is extraordinary. Have you ever been tempted to alter the traditional vibrato component of a euphonium tone to limit the vibrato, perhaps even to the end of the phrase? How do you view vibrato on solo euphonium as distinct from solo trumpet or trombone?

That’s a funny question David, which reveals you certainly haven’t heard many or any of my recordings for the last six years or so.

When I listen to my earliest recordings from say 1990-1996 there is a recognisable and quite constant use of a similar vibrato, and I think it was from around 2000 that I really try to create a variety of tone colours, and used vibrato in a variety of ways to achieve this is one element of the basic tone.

From my earliest visits to the USA (1990-) I had my eyes and ears opened to different expressive possibilities. During my ‘brass band years’ at Desford Colliery Band, 1982-1989 conductors would ask for different types of vibrato under different circumstances. Some conductors preferred a more even and old-fashioned vibrato, seemingly to satisfy the older generation of brass band adjudicators that we had to perform for in competitions!! It was quite hard to break away from this approach, and it took some time for me. In my recent Dream Times CD I really tried some different sounds, playing Piazzolla with string quartet, a modern piece with electronics, and a more symphonic style with brass ensemble. I really enjoyed the colour mix.

In my latest album, Lyrical Virtuoso, with a brass band, there is a slight return to traditional vibrato, but I tried to make it very varied and really applicable to the particular genre and style I was performing.

I think because of our tradition with the euphonium within the brass band world, which is my roots, the concept of the lyrical tenor has remained, and because we are of conical bore rather than cylindrical with the other instruments you mentioned, I see no problem in the euphonium using a little more vibrato when we play solo. It’s quite frustrating for me to hear about orchestrally-minded teachers imposing a ‘no vibrato’ policy on their euphonium students, even when they are playing Rochut! This has produced sadly, the generation of very boring sounding euphonium players, unable to communicate and create a truly beautiful sound. No wonder these individuals become frustrated and eventually disillusioned. Section playing, of course, is fundamentally different, and within wind orchestras the use of vibrato should be used very sparingly except where the euphonium voice is solo and where the style warrants the use of more characteristic vibrato.

8. When students come to work with you for the first time, what element of musicianship do you find most commonly overlooked?
No two students are the same, and many come to me from different countries and backgrounds, and I absolutely love this variety of ‘challenges’.

Many of the young players from the brass band world in the UK come to me knowing only brass band solos and repertoire! The gaps that I have to fill-in are vast and cannot be done quickly, so it’s a step-by-step process.

Other international students come to me with a basic knowledge of wind band literature, and often a very dull sound concept, and so it takes some time to unlock the true musician inside them.

The art of phrasing is probably the one thing that both sets of students (domestic and foreign) seem to find the most problematic. Nobody sings any more, and therein lies the essential problem. Phrasing has to be taught almost like a foreign language rather than something which should be natural and expressive.

9. The piano trio is, for strings a supremely balanced and satisfying ensemble. Demondrae Thurman & DUO WINDS-trOmBOnE, have attempted to achieve this with low brass, oboe and piano; Ian Bousefield has done so by substituting the trombone for cello in a traditional piano trio. Your work with your wife, Misa, seems to have solved the conundrum in a most satisfying way. Was it Kismet? What is your view on the chamber trio with brass/winds and piano, and your particular variant?I really enjoy playing duets with my wife Misa, and we have a lot of time to really connect in terms of sound, phrasing and articulation. We have a natural sense of ensemble which comes from hours of playing together, and our first duet CD ‘Love’s Joy’ will be released quite soon.

I absolutely adore the piano trio format and I have been working on a project with the trumpeter Adam Rapa and we hope to able to tour with this project soon, with music by Debussy, Brahms, Poulenc etc. It’s tremendous music and deserves to be heard. I think the composers would love what we’re doing with it. Anyway they are not here to object personally, and so we’ll do our best to make it sound pretty 🙂

Is your bell Sterling silver?

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.davidbrubeck.com
Photos courtesy of euphonium.net

Jim Self
John Van Houten
Demondrae Thurman

Charlie Vernon
James Markey
Bill Reichenbach
Stefan Schulz

Canadian BrassPress_Photo
Boston Brass
groupwall< Mnozil Brass

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Wednesday 8 March 2017
Hal Roland/Matt Bonelli DUO with
DUO BRUBECK, featuring Lindsey Blair

2:00 pm in Room 8122
MDC Kendall Campus
11011 SW 104th Street Miami, FL 33176
Admission is Free
Join Miami’s Bass Master, Matt Bonelli, as he holds forth on the niceties and nastities of the duo with his long time duo partner Hal Roland. This concert will GROOVE! Joined by DUO BRUBECK, featuring the premiere of amazing guitarist Lindsey Blair with the group. NOT TO BE MISSED!

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News and Interview about the International Tenor and Bass Trombone Competition in held at the end of September 2016.

unnamed-2The competition was held in Budapest, Hungary at the Budapest Music Center ( BMC ), and included an international jury comprised of:
Gusztáv HŐNA – Hungary – president
Sándor BALOGH – Hungary
Chris HOULDING – Great Britain
Gabriel MADAS – Austria
Jacques MAUGER – France
Csaba WAGNER – Hungary

The Results?

Results of The International Bass trombone competition:
-1 Price Matyas Veer Hungary,
-2 Price Sebastian Cifuentes Colombia,
-3 Price Adib Correa VERA Brazil

Results of The International Tenor trombone competition:
-1 Price Juhász István Hungary,
-2 Price Karol Gajda Poland
-3 Price Ricardo Faustiono Diaz Mexico, Matyas Veer

DavidBrubeck.com is proud to present exclusive interviews with the two winners!

Matias Veer, Winner, Bass Trombone

unnamed-11. When did you start competing in solo competitions?
I started to competing on solo competitions very early age.
One of the basic for the hungarian brass school participate on many concerts and competitions as possible.
Therefore be on stage or play on a competition is very natural for me. This competition was my 4th international competition I got 1st prize.

2. What are some of the ways you best like to prepare?
I like to start prepare the pieces very early before the competition.
I always thinking this is is only one project in my life nothing special.
I think for a good result need to be ready with the pieces at least a month before the ‘show”.
In the last weeks need many rehearsals with piano and also make many recordings.
I like to listening back myself, reading the score and analize all of my mistakes. I guess we are the best teachers of ourself.
Also a very good practice in case if you have to play by heart, just listening a recording and play the piece without trombone. If you can singing the melody and move your arm perfect, that means you are ready.

3. How do you manage your mental focus and keep your chops fresh during the competition?
The mental focus is the most important during a competition.
I don’t like to change my daily routine because of a concert or competition. The most important always stay relaxed and think positive.
We need to be happy we can show our best to the jury or to the audience. When we are on stage that is our moment why we practiced. Why should we be nerveous?
Otherwise the biggest problem I think keep warm the embachoure.
Therefore during the waiting time I always try to practice a little bit.
Usually I just play some really basic exercises without using my tounge, focus for the breath and the relaxed throat position.

4. What other outlets for solo bass trombone, in addition to competitions, have you cultivated?
In the past years I participated on many festivals worldwide.
I was in the Dutch bass trombone open, Laetzsch Festival, Jeju Festival, Singapore Low Brass Festival. In the near future I’ll go to the Lille Trombone Festival and the Slider Asia. I almost every year play solo with samphony orchestra or windband. You know I’m an orchestra musician, but I try to play many solos as possible.
On 2017’s summer I’ll be the host of the first Hungarian Trombone Bootcamp. That will be 4 days long trombone festival in Budapest, Hungary between 22-25 of August 2017. We will start promote the event soon.

Istvan Juhasz, Winner, Tenor Trombone

unnamed1. When did you start competing in solo competitions?
At the age of 8, I started my music studies with violin. Later on, at the age of 14, I switched to trombone when I was admitted to the Conservatory Of Music. Regarding competiton, success came relative quickly. 2 years after started to play trombone, I have managed to win the most prestigious award in my category at the National School Tournament. Obviously it gave me a great motivation at the beginning of my carrieer.

2. What are some of the ways you best like to prepare?
In my opinion, preparation must be done on a regular basis in a concentrated way. Usually I practice in the morning, when I am still fresh. I think to have a short but concentrated practice is more beneficial. Besides that, relaxing is as important as concentraion. To have a calm athmosphere at home, that boost your energie.

3. How do you manage your mental focus and keep your chops fresh during the competition?
During a competition, concentrations is an important thing for me, which I achieve through relaxation beforehand. Such competitions, which least for a week, are very exhausting for me. At that stage, practicing is no longer the key for winning. I like to enjoy the beauty of nature, that fills me up and boost my energy.

4. What other outlets for solo trombone, in addition to competitions, have you cultivated?
As solo trombonist, I have a lot of opportunities at the Badiesche Staatskapelle. Due to the wide range of repertoire, I can play from the most beautiful pieces of symphonic works, trhough operetta and musicals until operas. In addition, I am also interested in chamber music. Currently I am planning to organize a Trombone Quartet, which will hopefully amuse the trumpet-loving audience.

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

Images courtesy of Matyas Veer


R. Dale Olson Shares his Insights With “The Craftsmen’s Bench” tmRichard Smith R Dale Olson Andrea Tofinelli davidbrubeck.com

R. Dale Olson has been at the forefront of trumpet design and brass manufacturing for more than half a century. From innovative designs, intriguing associates, in-depth expertise, and a list of musical artists comprising an array of virtuosity-both musical and technical, R. Dale Olson takes us on a historical tour of designs and polymers that is, well, breathtaking… No. 7 of “The Craftsmen’s Bench” TM is resonant with the good vibrations of R. Dale Olson, enjoy!

University of Edinburgh Dr. Arnold Myers with R. Dale Olson

University of Edinburgh
Dr. Arnold Myers with R. Dale Olson

1. How did you get your start in instrument manufacturing? Who were your mentors?
My interest in technical aspects of brass instruments began during my college years at University of North Texas (then known as North Texas State Teachers College). I read everything then available, which was scant. Toward the end of my Bachelor’s degree my close friend, Bob Ferguson, asked me to go to Elkhart and Cleveland as he was planning a Master’s Degree dealing with manufacture of trumpets. Bob was a magnificent trumpet player who later became soloist with the United States Army Band in Washington for about 25 years. Bob and I left Denton, Texas and drove, in mid-winter, to Cleveland and Elkhart where we toured the Reynolds, Martin, Conn, and Buescher factories. Ironically, Bob did not complete his Masters, but this trip solidified my interest not only in manufacture, but design.

After receiving what I later learned was the first Masters Degree in Trumpet Performance from UNT (1957), I returned home to Galveston, Texas. Soon thereafter, while touring with the Paul Neighbors band, I met Renold Schilke in Chicago, and twice returned for extended periods working with Ren, primarily on trumpet design. Although I did not fully agree with Ren on many issues, it was he who first introduced me to the writings of David James Blaikley and Victor C. Mahillon.

In 1961, at age 25, I was hired as Director of Research for the firm of F.E. Olds and Son, in Fullerton, California. It was there that I first met and became close friends with Zig Kanstul. My knowledge of brass instrument production was only superficial at the time, and it was Zig from whom I learned a great deal. Even now, with me at age 81, and Zig nearly 87, every visit with him is analogous to taking a Master Class!

While at Olds, I had the very good fortune to have worked with the then President of the Acoustical Society of America, Dr. Robert W. Young, with the U.S. Navy Underwater Acoustics Lab in San Diego. Dr. Young was immensely knowledgeable, had earlier been with the C.G. Conn Ltd. Acoustics Lab in Elkhart, and was engaged in continuing research on brass instrument design. Young, with Alan Loomis, was the inventor of the StroboConn, a device which he and I used extensively in intonation testing.

The most profound influence on my theoretical thinking was William T. Cardwell of Whittier, California. Bill was engaged in research for the oil firm Chevron Research, but had the most extensive acoustics lab in his home of any musical instrument manufacturer in the United States. For over thirty years, Bill and I collaborated in research activities related primarily to the trumpet. Bill died at age 94 several years ago, but I continue to regard him as perhaps the most knowledgeable authority on trumpet acoustics of the 20th. Century.

My trumpet teachers, all of whom were positive influences, were Everett James (Harry’s father), with whom I studied while still in high school, John J. Haynie at the University of North Texas, Ren Schilke, John Clyman of MGM Studios, and Vladimir Drucker.

2. What was your first big project? Expertise?
When I was being considered for the position at Olds, I was interviewed by Maurice Berlin, CEO and Founder of CMI (Chicago Musical Instrument Company), the parent company of Olds, and other musical instrument makers. Mr. Berlin asked if I could design a “C” trumpet. I assuredly understood the acoustics underlying the instrument but had never actually designed a C trumpet. My confidence level was such that Mr. Berlin recommended my employment. After a year or so with Olds, Zig Kanstul and I collaborated to design not only a trumpet in C, but also in D, and Alto F. Olds produced these instruments for several years with excellent response from musicians. However, in context, CMI became a troubled firm after Mr. Berlin retired, and Olds ceased operations in December, 1979 about nine years after I formally resigned from the firm. The alternative pitched trumpets were never accorded the attention they deserved, partially as a function of the turmoil within CMI. Today, they are all collectors’ items.

3. Which two or three things that you were a part of really turned out well? What was your part in each?
It was my good fortune, probably accelerated by a lifelong intense work ethic, to have been involved with numerous projects that “turned out well” professionally. One was the development of excellent trumpets produced by Olds in the 1960s referred to as the “Custom” line. Zig and I again worked together on these and, although they are now collector items, I still receive communications from players who claim their Custom is the finest horn they have played.

In the early 1970s I was awarded a U.S. Patent on an interesting trumpet, produced by Olds and Reynolds (also part of the CMI family), the Olds “Pinto” and Reynolds “Ranger” trumpets. These were modular horns, with plastic encased valve clusters. Again, the demise of these instruments may be traced to declining issues at CMI.

My wife, Diane, and I received a U.S. Patent on a mute which was sold by Conn-Selmer, the “BACH” mute from ABS plastic. We have been producing this design for over 46 years now.

Marvin Stamm R Dale Olson and Bob Morgan

Marvin Stamm R Dale Olson and Bob Morgan

My recall of the Earl Williams trombone may be stated rather succinctly. I think
Mr. Williams produced excellent instruments, and his reputation was very high. However, not being a trombone player, I was not intimately familiar with the details of these horns, nor of their design. Earl held at least one U.S. Patent (#2,439,997) granted on April 20, 1948, and had worked for Frank E. Olds long before producing his own instruments. Ironic is that Earl left the Olds firm in 1928, the same year in which Frank E. Olds died at sea on a cruise ship off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico. At one point in his career, Mr. Williams partnered with Spike Wallace, a trombonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, making Wallace-Williams trumpets, now very rare items.

My knowledge of Frank E. Olds and all of his instruments is considerable in that I have long been engaged in writing a book on the subject. Frank’s first trombones have traditionally been given the date of 1910, and those with the patent date of 1912 are rather well known. Without question, there were Olds trombones produced long prior to either 1910 or 1912. In later catalogs of the Olds Company, Reginald Olds, Frank’s son, always gave credit to his father and implied that the 1912 patent was one of Frank’s inventions. In reality, that patent (U.S. # 1,021,890) was granted to an individual, George Riblet, about whom little is known, and the relationship between Olds and Riblet is not documented.

Many outstanding trombone players were associated with the Olds brand over many years. Of course, Frank Olds was a trombone player. Roe Plimpton was a fine player who worked for Olds for many years as a mouthpiece maker. It was Roe who once constructed a foot pedal bellows device that supplied air through a long rubber tube, into his mouth that enabled him to hold a note indefinitely! Sherm Sheld was a “master trombone maker”, according to the terminology existing within the Olds Company. I was fortunate in having known Sherm very well. Upon his death his widow gave me photographs related to the Olds Company, and his personal work related note book detailing production information on Olds trombones. The story of Frank and Reginald Olds, their instruments and company is fascinating, but as yet not fully told.

R Dale Olson with Nathaniel Mayfield

R Dale Olson with
Nathaniel Mayfield

5. Which instrument manufacturers did you consider under-rated?
The concept of “underrated” may be nebulous. I could certainly name many whom
I consider to be “overrated” as that list is heavily populated with firms that either over-advertise, over-promote, or make outlandish and unsupported claims.
Within the trombone world, I do not have the expertise to respond to this question.

Restricting this to trombone players, I think the strongest recall is my work with George Roberts. Zig was the primary individual who worked with George in the design of the Roberts’ Bass Trombone. However, it was often my responsibility to work with George when deciding which leadpipe to use and in general testing. The scenario was something like this. Zig would make a leadpipe and give it to George for trial. George would play it, but then take it to someone in L.A., perhaps Dominick Calicchio, Bert Herrick, for “modification”.

George would then return to the Olds factory and engage in an extended “testing period” in which he would move from one leadipe to another asking our opinion. Zig would typically excuse himself from this ritual leaving me to deal with George. The only thing that made this exercise in vacillation tolerable was the respect and love we all held for George. Also related to the Roberts’ Bass Trombone was an incident in which a secretary who filled orders for parts asked me for advice concerning supplying parts for the Roberts trombone. Someone in Canada was ordering an excessive amount of parts for the Roberts trombones. Upon analysis, it came to light that the cumulative cost of parts to construct a Roberts model was considerably less than the finished instrument. So, someone was ordering parts, soldering them together, and selling horns!! This was stopped, but we were never fully aware of how many ersatz George Roberts bass trombones were out in the market!

Aside from trombone players, I was privileged to have worked with Raphael Mendez rather closely on various issues. I retain to this day, a “reel-to-reel” tape of Ralph and me playing duets at his home in Encino. The timing was such that I was able to work with many L.A. studio players of the day.

7. What are some of your favorite artists?
My favorite artists! This could be a very, very long list, but I will exercise judiciousness. I have a deep respect for all brass players who have shared the experience of sitting in a practice room alone and trying to figure out how to make music using a hose and funnel! Being a trumpet player and biased toward valves, I have always been appreciative of Bob Brookmeyer’s valve trombone jazz playing. On balance, the so-called “cornet virtuoso” era has forever held particular interest, so trombone virtuosi like Simone Mantia represent that genre. Concerning preferences for trumpet players, many of the late 19th. and early 20th. Century cornetists are treasured, the epitome being my former teacher John J. Haynie. Maurice Andre, of course, Raphael Mendez, Chet Baker, Fats Navarro, Bix Beiderbeck, Bunny Berigan, and Harry James. A friend who teaches trumpet at the Paris Conservatory, Clement Saunier, is beyond belief!

Richard Smith R Dale Olson Andrea Tofinelli davidbrubeck.com

Richard Smith R Dale Olson Andrea Tofinelli

8. With Kanstul, Shires, and Edwards, the US trombone scene is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance. What do you make of it?
This question is profound, yet opens a discussion with many nuances. I must defer to my primary area of expertise, the trumpet and its current state, and hopefully some of this will generalize to trombones. Renold Schilke said to me in 1958, “there is nothing new in trumpet design in the past 50 years”. Ren was referring to the original French Besson trumpet of the earlier era and his opinion that no significant improvements had been made since. I think if Ren were still with us, he would make the same comment, but substitute “100 years” for “50”years. In 1958 I would have probably agreed with Ren, but today I would disagree, with conditions.

For the past twenty or so years the trumpet world has been witness to a series of somewhat bizarre instruments whose primary raison d’etre appears to be attracting attention, not advancing the art of music. The American architect Louis Sullivan admonished that “form follows function”. Many contemporary trumpet makers, oblivious to this profound dictate, produce instruments of inexplicable forms that serve absolutely no discernable function.

Brass instruments of the year 2016 do possess elevated mechanical elements over their counterparts of 1916. Acoustically, modern trumpets do not claim superiority to the French Bessons of the early 20th. Century. Intonation charts of many contemporary trumpets are very similar to those of horns made one hundred years prior. There exists, today, a rather abbreviated list of highly knowledgeable individuals who are involved in profound, yet esoteric, aspects of brass instrument design, yet most makers are oblivious to this research. Legitimate research is subtle and often unobvious, yet makers must continually produce “new” models simply to compete in the market. There is simply insufficient time for a person to manage even a small shop and still engage in research, so true research comes in second.

Empirical design (known as “cut and try”) has long been the dominant process by which brasses, and probably all wind instruments, have been developed. Concerning scientific work, Richard Smith (of Smith-Watkins trumpets in the U.K), is one of the most knowledgeable authorities in the world regarding brass instrument design. Paraphrasing Richard, the manufacturers, or at least their advertisements, are the least reliable source of information on design of brass instruments!

To return to the original question, however, both Edwards and Shires have excellent reputations and I can personally attest to the high level of quality of everything Zig Kanstul has done. At least for most trombones, we are spared the grief of being burdened by valves and the burden they impose upon design.

c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

Interested in more “Craftsman’s Bench” tm Interviews?

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 1, Jay Armstrong

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 2 with The Slide Doctor

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 3 featuring Eric Swanson

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 4 with Steven Shires

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 5 and Mick Rath

“The Craftsmen’s Bench” tm No. 6 featuring Christan Griego

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