Where can you begin? With Micha Davis, it all seems to come from the heart. Passion for music and love for the bass trombone took him on a whirlwind tour from tenor trombone to Chicago and the waiting arms of the Leonard Bernstein and the Israeli Philharmonic, only to be danced away (from time to time) by the pied piper of the bass trombone-George Roberts! While he may be the last of the single valve bass trombonists, Micha Davis plays ALL the notes. “Seven Positions” tm is delighted to feature the Middle-Eastern master of the bass trombone! Enjoy…..
1. Where did you train on on bass trombone? How has it affected your approach tothe instrument and to music? Is it similar or different than the approach of your colleagues?
I wasn’t planning on becoming a bass trombonist. I was a principal trombonist in another orchestra, but there was an opening for bass trombone in the Israel Philharmonic, and since I had an old Bach 50 at home for gigs…I took the audition and won it! I was sent by our conductor, Zubin Mehta, for six months to Chicago to take bass trombone lessons with the low brass players of the CSO of 1983. I also took some lessons with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Don Harwood and then returned to Israel to my exciting job, right to recordings with Leonard Bernstein!
2. How do you balance the classical/commercial leanings of the bass trombone and your heart? What kind of opportunities have you found to play?
I like to play Jazz, and from time to time play with some big bands trying to sound like George Roberts.
3. What do you look for in an instrument, and how has it changed over career?
Since I only have problems with my left elbow, I can only play single valve bass trombones and if they feel good to hold and have a nice fat sound I buy them-but I always come back to my first Bach. He looks old, but I feel at home with him more than the others.
4. Who are your inspirations?
I practiced mainly Eliezer Aharoni’s bass trombone book and listened mainly to Ray Premru and George Robert’s recordings for inspiration.
5. What is your secret to a great legato?
My legato is from my teacher, Ray Parnes, who had a very smooth singing legato.
6. Do you use different instruments (bass trombone) for different things, or the same instrument with different concepts?
I have two Kanstuls, one yellow and one red that I play at home while I keep the Bach in my locker in the hall. These are excellent instruments that I use for gigs, classical and jazz.
7. What are your favorite solos for bass trombone?
My favorite solos are not from the classical world, but rather, George Roberts’ solos. His solos in The Joy of Living with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra; in “Ok, Alright, You Win, I’m in Love With You” with Dick Noel; All My Friends Are Trombone Players from Tommy Pederson.
8. What would it surprise someone who has never visited Israel to know about your country?
Israel is very small, but full of contrasts in the climates, landscapes and people. Don’t come during the summer-it’s too damn hot!
c. 2020 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved.
Interested in more “Seven Positions” tm Interviews?
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