Thanks to Steve Wolfinbarger and Andrew Glendenning, we were honored to be invited to the perform at the 2017 International Trombone Festival to present Duo Brubeck featuring Lindsay Blair. What a privilege to see and make so many friends.
Apart from George Roberts and Bill Reichenbach, the bass trombone is often removed from the regular center of jazz music-making. A jazz duo featuring the complimentary timbres of guitar and bass trombone allows the instrument room to interpret and embellish melody, to accompany using walking/two-beat/Afro Cuban inspired bass lines, and to improvise solos. Not to mention arrange, compose and lead a “band”.
For bass trombonists, an great preparation is the independence of parts and internalized rhythm of soloing and accompanying which are found in the 36 dances which comprise the Cello Suites by J. S. Bach. These works of Bach are unparalleled, and stand alone. With over 50 Stereograms published by the ITA Press, Cherry Classics, davidbrubeck.com and yeodoug.com, another approach is offered in Stereograms, which have been tailored to the bass trombone with the incorporation of modern rhythms and grooves.
By switching back and forth between two or three parts when performing, the bass trombonist can choose to imbue each “part” or voice with distinct characteristics, not unlike a solo pianist might do, or a fine interpreter of art song. By varying dynamics, accents, articulation, embouchure tension and timbre, the bass trombonist can successfully delineate these different voices.
The ITF crowd in attendance was of a nice size and enthusiastic response. I was knocked out by the kind words of Bill Reichenbach and the autographs requested after the performance-where else but ITF can that happen to a bass trombonist? The thing that made it worth the trip was the acknowledgement and encouragement of master low-brass man Bob Sanders who said it was the most interesting thing he had heard up to that point (and that was saying something!); that I made it look easy when he knew it wasn’t; and that George Roberts would love what I am doing and be proud.
I’d like to dedicate that performance to my Dad, James Brubeck, and George-whose vision of the bass trombone as essentially a bass solo voice inspired me, while his solo performances into retirement with recorded accompaniment at coffee shops and restaurants emboldened me. Thanks Bob, for digging it, and passing along George’s love for our instrument.
Soon to follow…some recordings with Lindsey.
c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.david brubeck.com