Jazz Guitarist Extraordinaire, Lindsey Blair wants you to let him take you down to “Strawberry Fields”

Live, from the 2017 International Trombone Festival, DUO BRUBECK!
Who’s YOUR favorite Beatle?

DUO BRUBECK is based upon the Stereogram concept. Purchase the original Stereograms Nos. 1-20 HERE.

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“Yes, Jesus Loves Me” as Performed by Duo Brubeck with Lindsey Blair

Just in time for Vacation Bible School, if you are so inclined, or perhaps you just want to check out the trinity of three melodies at once! It is a red letter day, live from the 2017 International Trombone Festival in Redlands, CA.

DUO BRUBECK is built around the Stereogram concept….Check out how to get this arrangement, which is part of Stereograms A-M, HERE

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Nursery Rhymes Never Sounded Like This!!! Go Tell Aunt Rhody with Miami’s Own DUO BRUBECK featuring the guitar of MITCH FARBER

Once you hit Miami, almost EVERYTHING changes, even the nursery rhymes. Well, you’ll see. Check it out…and just wait for the lullabies….

DUO BRUBECK is built around the Stereogram concept….Check out how to get this arrangement from Stereograms A-M HERE

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Summertime!!! Miami’s Own, Duo Brubeck, featuring Mitch Farber

Hot time, summer in the city (Fort Lauderdale-this time), you know the rest! Join Miami’s Own DUO BRUBECK-the world’s first jazz guitar and bass trombone duo!

from November 5th 2017, as part of Christ Church Ft. Lauderdale’s Concert Series. Thanks to Chuck Stanley!

DUO BRUBECK is built around the Stereogram concept….check it out HERE

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SLEEPER Bass Trombone Concerto No. 2,Live in Performance Thursday Night!

The MDC Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Alberto Bade will present a concert under the stars on Thursday March 15th, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the evening. The program includes Thomas Sleeper’s Second Bass Trombone Concerto, performed by David Brubeck

All are welcome!

11380 NW 27th Ave.
Miami, FL 33167

c. 2015 Jeffrey Curnow

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“Seven Positions” tm with Ed Partyka, Reveals Only Two Kinds of Music, And One Jazz Bass Trombone Player

You may have never met anyone who loves the big band more than Ed Partyka. Lives it. Breathes it. While started out out as a side man, he now stands in front, not only as leader but as composer and arranger. But his ear and his heart are never far from his first love, the bass trombone. Join us as we catch up with the Award-Winning American abroad in “Seven Positions”…. Enjoy!

1st position
When did you first fall in love with the bass trombone and why did you stick with it?

I started playing the trombone at about the age of 10 and my first trombone teacher, Bill Chambers, was a bass trombone player. He introduced me to the instrument and I started to play bass trombone part-time around the age of 12.

In high school I continued to play both tenor and bass trombone as well as learning to play euphonium and tuba. I started taking private lessons with John Blane, one of Chicago’s top commercial Bass Trombone/Tuba doublers, at the age of 16 and the bass trombone slowly but surely became my focus. By the time I graduated from high school I considered myself a bass trombone player. The bass trombone just felt right to me. I fell in love with the sound and range of the instrument and I also realized it was a great to not be involved in the whole ego-driven jostling for position that the tenor trombone players were constantly involved in.

2nd position
What do you look for in a horn?

I have been playing my Elkhart 62H since 1989. Even though the valve section is tight by modern standards I have never found an instrument that I like more. For me the ideal bass trombone should have a dark and warm sound that is centred and focused. The sound of the instrument should also hold together (remain centred and focused) at loud volumes and not break up. My 62h is a lot of work to play and very unforgiving if I am not in shape, but that is the price that I am willing to pay for the rich dark sound and focus/center at loud volumes. Many modern bass trombones are easier to play because they are lighter but they are too bright sounding for me and they usually lose their center of sound at loud volumes. I also feel that the 9.5 inch bell is the correct size for big band and commercial playing. As mentioned, I feel that a centred sound with good focus is very important. Bass trombones with larger bells often tend to sound more like slide euphoniums than bass trombones. I suppose that is fine for orchestral playing, but in my opinion it simply does not work for big band. The same applies to mouthpieces and lead pipes: Choose equipment that will help you get a focused and centred sound. Will a bored-out tuba mouthpiece and no lead pipe help you achieve that goal?

3rd position
Who are your inspirations?

Musical: My bass trombone inspirations: George Roberts, Kenny Shroyer, Ernie Tack, Alan Raph, Paul Faulise, Dave Taylor, Phil Teele, Erik van Lier and Tony Studd.

My composition/arranging inspirations: Bob Brookmeyer, Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Matthias Rüegg, and George Gruntz.

Non-musical: Rainer Maria Rilke, Victor Vasarely, Peter F. Hamilton, Seth MacFarlane

Stan Kenton, “Get Out of Town”, Please begin at 25’27”,
Kenny Shroyer Bass Trombone

4th position
What are your favorite bass trombone features?

The Johnny Richards arrangements of “Get Out Of Town“ and “Stella By Starlight“ for Stan Kenton’s orchestra are still my favorites.

Tbone section?
“March Of The Tadpoles“ by Toshiko Akiyoshi and all of the wonderful Kenton five part trombone ballads (“Here’s That Rainy Day“ etc…).
I also love all the trombone section moments that Ellington wrote for his first great trombone section (Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton, Juan Tizol & Lawrence Brown) as well as the later Ellington trombone sections.

5th position
How do standing in front of a band and arranging change the way you approach playing the instrument?

It certainly gives you a better overview and helps you to see the big picture, things that are sometimes missing if you just see the world from the trombone section. It is also beneficial to your playing because you can approach the music of other writers with a bit more empathy and understanding.

6th position
How do you conceive of and negotiate the bari-sax bass bone relationship
As a writer: There are several combinations and options and it all depends on what I need at the moment.

As a player: In my opinion the bass trombone player has to lead and the bari player has to follow. For me it is logical because the bari play sits in front of the bass trombone and can hear and adjust much better than the bass trombone player.
It’s like lead trumpet and lead alto, the lead alto automatically adjusts to the lead trumpet, not the other way around.

7th position
What is your favorite style period in jazz?

The future.

I love music from all styles and periods and as Duke Ellington said:

“There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind.”

I have the great honor to teach at two excellent universities and I am extremely lucky to work with young composers/arrangers who are constantly reinventing the art form and moving the music forward, and that is what excites me the most. Even though I love so much music from the past, I can’t wait for the music of the future.

Compare what you expect from an improvised bass trombone solo. Should it sound more like an upright, a sax or a tenor trombone?

A bass trombone solo should sound like a bass trombone solo, which is one of the biggest challenges still facing the bass trombone in jazz. Other than Bill Reichenbach there has been no one else, in my opinion, who has successfully been able to play convincing lines in a bebop or post-bop style on the instrument. This may be due to the physical limitations of the instrument, a lack of audience demand or some other factors. The free/outside style of bass trombone improvisation developed by Dave Taylor was an important development for the instrument and that seems to be a way for many bass trombonists to express themselves as improvisers.

c. 2018 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.davidbrubeck.com

Images courtesy of Ed Partyka

Interested in more “Seven Positions” tm Interviews?
Charlie Vernon
James Markey
Chris Brubeck
Doug Yeo
Jeremy Morrow
Tom Everett
Gerry Pagano
Ben van Dijk
Randall Hawes
Denson Paul Pollard
Thomas Matta
Fred Sturm
Bill Reichenbach
Massimo Pirone
Erik Van Lier
Jennifer Wharton
Matyas Veer
Stefan Schulz

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Paul Faulise, Pure Bass Bone Gold!

He played with the Tonight Show Band from 1962 to 1972, and performed and recorded in both New York and Los Angeles at the highest levels. From the Fania All Stars, to The Easter Seals Telethons, From JJ and Kai Plus 6 to recordings with his musical hero Urbie Green, bass trombonist Paul Faulise is an author as well, and has graciously agreed to sit down for a spell with “Seven Positions” tm…. Enjoy!…..

1st Position
What do you look for in an instrument? Did it change over time?

For all my career my preference was for an instrument that allowed me to achieve a warm, centered sound suitable for both live and recorded work. For that reason I prefer red brass bells, valves with a bit of resistance, for brightness, and a standard weight slide.

Mostly Conns and Bachs?
Yes. I started on a Bach 50B then went to a Conn 72H, finally the Minick.

Having said this, I would like to give a more in-depth answer. My visual concept of the “bass trombone sound” is the sun sitting on the horizon just before it sets exuding warmth and brightness from its orange, golden hues.

Therefore, I prefer red brass bells for warmth, valves with a bit of resistance for brightness and a standard weight slide for a solid core sound.


2nd Position
Who Are Your Inspirations?

My inspirations for making music on the bass trombone were George Roberts and Urbie Green.

My non- musical inspiration was Bernie Glow. He was one of the best lead trumpet players I have ever worked with. However, it was his professional approach to the music business that inspired me.

Was the Stan Kenton recording of “Stella by Starlight” featuring George Roberts the reason you switched to bass trombone?

Fania All-Stars
“Ella Fue”

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

My secret to smooth legato tonguing, especially in the low and pedal registers, is practice, practice and more practice.

My technique is to practice scale lines and ballad type tunes in the mid, low and pedal registers.

The Tonight Show Band
Johnny Carson circa 1970

4th Position
How did you approach warming up in your studio days?

Having time to warm-up when arriving to the studio was a luxury. If time allowed, I would do a 10-15 minute warm-up routine in a practice mute. Most of the time the first tune of the recording session was the warm-up.

Since my work as a bass trombonist was mostly limited to the mid, low and pedal registers it’s only natural that my practice routine would be concentrated in those registers. However, in my daily warm-up and maintenance routine I do practice exercises that include the upper register to high B flat and C.

Jay & Kai + 6
“A Night In Tunisia”

5th Position
Which other players were in your regular group of studio musicians?

The musicians I mainly worked with were: Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, Wayne Andre, Bernie Glow, Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry and others too many to mention.

6th Position
How would you compare the approach of Los Angeles and New York studio recordings during your tenure?

Having recorded in both N Y and L A, my observation was that L A musicians were more conscious of microphone technique where as N Y musicians recorded as they would playing a live performance.

Urbie Green, Twenty-One Trombones
“Here’s That Rainy Day”

7th Position
Beside George Roberts, which bass trombonists do you see that have advances the instrument?

Today there are so many great bass trombonists that are contributing to the advancement of the instrument. I don’t know or have heard many of them, but two that come to mind are Bill Reichenbach and Dave Taylor, each great in their own genre of music.

c. 2018 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.davidbrubeck.com

Urbie Green, Umpteen Trombones
“Star Dust”

Urbie Green’s Go Fund Me for Medical Care

If you are a fan of Jazz, you may be well aware of the artistry of my father, Urbie Green. He is a legendary Trombonist and has had a career that can only be compared to those top performers who came before him; a career that has inspired millions and brought joy to so many. 

In his early days, he was a prodigy and went on the road to support his family during the Great Depression. After being scouted and joining Big Bands, he played with the likes of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra.

It is now, in his senior years where we find ourselves as a family, struggling to support him, as he has fallen on several medical challenges.

Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with medical bills, as Urbie has had several health problems at the age of 91.

We ask, humbly, as a family striving to support him, to contribute anything you can to assist him in his later years.

Without going into detail, you can imagine at this age, there are many issues he is facing. Proceeds will help pay for doctor’s visits, medical procedures, medication, physical therapy, assisted living, etc.

We ask, please, that you find it in your heart, to contribute to his well being, and help support the challenge of allowing him to remain comfortable in these golden years.

Thank you so much for your generosity!

~ The Green Family

Interested in more “Seven Positions” tm Interviews?
Charlie Vernon
James Markey
Chris Brubeck
Doug Yeo
Jeremy Morrow
Tom Everett
Gerry Pagano
Ben van Dijk
Randall Hawes
Denson Paul Pollard
Thomas Matta
Fred Sturm
Bill Reichenbach
Massimo Pirone
Erik Van Lier
Jennifer Wharton
Matyas Veer
Stefan Schulz

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LA Premieres and Terry Cravens with “Seven Positions”

You might have heard Terry Cravens with the Pasadena Symphony and Los Angeles Opera, or even the LA Philharmonic at times. Perhaps it was one of two hundred nights of the Phantom of the Opera or in other musicals and orchestras. For any, Cravens is a name not only synonymous with the LA Bass Trombone scene, but with his tenure as Professor of Trombone at the University of Southern California. While the watermark of experience and accomplishment is high, the air is a bit dry. Grab a beverage as Terry Cravens takes “Seven Positions” tm on a tour of the Golden State of the Bass Trombone…

1st Position
What is your secret to a great legato?
Practice Remington on repeated tones with a light da da da tongue
Then the same tongue with half steps, etc. I want it to sound like a natural slur so I then encompass a natural slur along with a legato tongue and try to match them up.

2nd Position
West Coast trombone player’s strengths and dispositions versus East coast. Break it down for us. What have you noticed?

I don’t really know if there’s that much difference? The air is dryer out here and years ago John Clyman told me that the sounds are different related to that. Maybe a little brighter perhaps? I don’t really think there is much difference.

3rd Position
What do you look for in a trombone?
I like one that speaks pretty easy but one that can get a nice round sound as well. James Conlon, Music Director of the LA Opera, is always asking for that.

I am playing on a Yahama Xeno currently and I like it.I also have used a Bach, Holton, Edwards, and Shires.

4th Position
What are your favorite classical concertos and solos for bass trombone?

I have a strong affinity for those written for me, and that I was fortunate to premiere.

Trombosis (for 12 Trombones )
by Robert Linn— it’s a great work for trombone choir.

Concerto for Bass Trombone and Winds by Nelson Keyes ( 3 Mvt work—I performed it at the University of Louisville and the University of Southern California

Variazioni Piccoli
By Randell Croley
It’s a one mvt unaccompanied work

Partita on Hammering
By William Schmidt
Trombone trio
Composed for me

Concertino for Bass Trombone and Woodwind Quintet by William Schmidt
Premier Spring of 1977

Trompe L’Oeil
By Robert Linn
For Bass Bone and piano
Premier fall of 1976

There’s one more,
Brass Abacus by William Schmidt
Written for me Tony Plog and Calvin Smith
We recorded this also

5th Position
What is the best bass trombone playing you have ever heard? Done?
There are so many great players today that I wouldn’t want to start down that road for obvious reasons.

My first examples when I was young were John Coffey, Allen Ostrander, Edward Kleinhammer, Lewis Van Haney and George Roberts. I took lessons from all of them except John Coffey and they really helped me a lot. Today there so many that I shouldn’t go there as to who is the best or I would for sure leave someone out and I don’t want to do that.

6th Position
How do you approach chamber music for the bass trombonist; what is it’s value and how do we get there?

I have played in brass quintets both on the actual trombone part and the tuba part. I have done trombone trios, quartets, etc. and have benefitted from all of those combinations.

William Schmidt wrote a work for me for bass trombone and Woodwind Quintet which helped chamber music wise in that I was playing with the woodwinds instead of brass.

I approach chamber music like I would any other kind in that I try to decide what I want to sound like and practice accordingly.

7th Position
What do you imagine for the bass trombone that has yet to come to pass?

That’s hard for me to predict the future.

I’m sure it will still be used in orchestras, musical shows, chamber music and as a solo instrument. I do believe that it is a wonderful instrument and will forever be utilized as long as there is music being played.

c. 2018 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

Image courtesy of the LA Opera
Interested in more “Seven Positions” tm Interviews?
Charlie Vernon
James Markey
Chris Brubeck
Doug Yeo
Jeremy Morrow
Tom Everett
Gerry Pagano
Ben van Dijk
Randall Hawes
Denson Paul Pollard
Thomas Matta
Fred Sturm
Bill Reichenbach
Massimo Pirone
Erik Van Lier
Jennifer Wharton
Matyas Veer
Stefan Schulz

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Happy New Year from “1385” tm to 2017, With Mannix, Conant and Thompkins, The Tenor Trombone is in Great Hands!

Ken Thompkins

Please begin watching at 15:00 minutes

2. What are two things you remember learning from each of your major teachers?
Frank Crisafulli was and still is a great influence on my approach to the instrument. One major lesson from Mr. C was that no matter what the slide has to navigate the air flow must be beautiful like the bow of a stringed instrument.

The other important lesson he taught me how to acknowledge progression and accomplishments. As a student striving to become like your idols on the horn it is easy to constantly feel dismayed with your trombone playing. When I studied with Mr. Crisafulli he was over seventy years old and his wisdom was always present. He knew that my striving for perfection was a hindrance to my progression. I remember his telling me several times “Stop trying to be perfect” Such valuable advice that I really could not comprehend because I desperately wanted to be perfect and succeed.

Eric Carlson was another major influence on my playing. He is a fabulous trombonist and I really enjoyed hearing him play alone and in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Carlson really impressed upon me the importance of great fundamentals. Having fluidity and great even sound in every register of the instrument was a major goal. Working on orchestral excerpts was also a major focus of my studies with Eric Carlson. He stressed the basics of great orchestral performance and how to practice the excerpts.

Another trombonist that I loved hearing was Glen Dodson. Mr. Dodson had a beautiful, clear sound that was captivating.

3. What are your favorite orchestral trombone solos?
My favorite pieces to perform with the orchestra are the solos in Mahler 3, and Sibelius 7. In these solos a musician has the opportunity to show a great range of expression that is not typical in the orchestral repertoire. I always love performing any of works by Mahler, Shostakovich and Bruckner.

4. A life of orchestral playing can be completely musically satisfying . How do you motivate yourself to accomplish additional musical project and what are your favorites?
I get a lot of musical satisfaction from playing in the orchestra. There is always something I can enjoy from playing in the orchestra – I am often inspired by my colleagues to play better and to strive for a new level of expression. I really enjoy getting outside of the orchestra and exploring new solo repertoire and continuing to push for development. The ability to completely let your own voice be heard in a solo setting is extremely satisfying. Performing recitals and in chamber settings has really added another dimension to my musicianship.

Read more Ken Thompkins here….

Abbe Conant

4. Can you discuss the development of your “out-of-the-box” approach to soloing-almost a new genre, “micro-opera”, with sets, plot and electronic accompaniment to your singing, acting and trombone playing?
It all started when my composer/husband, William Osborne, couldn’t find a soprano willing to sing one of his music theater pieces, called Winnie, a character portrait from Samuel Beckett’s play, Happy Days. He was originally going to have me play the trombone solos dressed as Winnie’s husband, Willie and a soprano would sing Winnie.

He said, ok you have a year to learn how to sing and work up this piece. Now, I hardly had a speaking voice, let alone a singing voice! But serendipity brought me to a wonderful voice teacher I met in the dorm at a music festival in Switzerland. It turned out she also lived in Munich and she offered to take up the challenge.

It took weeks before I could stop making an embouchure when I sang!

I had to learn to back off a lot in in terms of support so as not to force my voice and wreck my vocal chords. She was patient but relentless and taught me classic bel canto technique. She told me I was a dramatic soprano and that if I worked hard I could be an opera singer. My goal was specific and she brought me to the point where I could sing this difficult 45-minute-long piece and play the tricky trombone part as well, not to mention acting Beckett…a year later we premiered Winnie in Rome.

I should mention that I could not have done this without the Alexander Technique. It helps a person learn new things. One is then able to transcend preconceptions and assumptions about how to do something and truly open to the new. It allows you to be a clean slate. After Winne,came The Miriam Trilogy, a 90-minute program without pause that included: pantomime, having clamps come down on my wrists, and baring a breast for 25min…among many other things.

After Miriam came Street Scene for the Last Mad Soprano—about a homeless woman who thinks she has an audition for the Met. Then came Cybeline, an odd combination of Schubert, Electronics and cartoons. Cybeline is a cyborg who tires to prove to the scientists that she is human by being a talk show host. Wacky.

Aletheia is the new one we just premiered at the ITF 2017. She is in a cage the whole piece. She is an opera singer who doesn’t want to sing for the patrons and who searches for transcendence thought truly being herself and living her truth.

In God’s Eyes, by Abbie Conant

In God’s eyes
I see my body
Running wild into the sea

In God’s eyes
I see a river
Sparkling dark over the rocks

In God’s eyes
I see a spring
Erupting sweet from red earth

In God’s arms sleep our mothers
And in their arms we sleep

Come young soul and drink from the spring
Come old friend and swim in the stream
Dance my feet and twirl into smoke,
Whirl my body back to the sea, the sea.

Read more Abbie Conant here…..

Natalie Mannix

5. What did you learn recording a CD? What would you do the same and differently next time?
I learned that it is nearly impossible to get everything perfect, and that is ok! I am hard on myself when listening to takes. It is especially difficult in a dry recording studio where you hear every little thing. If I record another CD, I would record in a nice hall with good acoustics. It would allow me to enjoy the music more and direct the focus away from my critical thoughts. As I went, I got better at thinking less and focusing on the music more. What I set out to do was get people excited about new composers and new music. To me, that is the most important and rewarding part of recording and performing.

6. What has your rich career in the military added to your resilience and outlook that you emphasize to students?
There were many days in the Navy Band that I struggled with fatigue, the weather or the physical demands. At the end of the day though, I always tried to remember how grateful I was to be able to play trombone for a living. After all, how many people can say that? I try to carry that gratitude with me in every part of my life. It keeps things in perspective. We may find ourselves on some pretty terrible gigs (I once marched dressed like a clown in a rainy parade through Newark, NJ!), but we are still lucky to do what we want for a living. On the same note, I hate to see students take the trombone so seriously that they are brought to tears or depression. Being grateful and remembering the original joy in making music can help with that mindset.

Read more Natalie Mannix here

c. 2018 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com

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FANTASTIC! “Seven Positions” in 2017 Matt Guilford, Randy Campora, Isabelle Lavoie, Bob Sanders & Matyas Veer

Fantastic! Seven Positions in 2017

Matyas Veer


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.

Read the rest of Matyas Veer’s interview….

Isabelle Lavoie

1) Do you hear different characteristics in French as opposed to English Speaking brass players?
Although I have never done any research on the subject, I believe that the differences between the French and English languages do affect articulation, tongue placement and sound in brass playing.

French and English have almost identical alphabets and yet, they sound completely different. French has way more phonetic sounds than what would be expected from the alphabet.The tongue positions are exaggerated and the vowels sound more short and crisp. The vowels can also be oral or nasal (en, un, on, etc), depending on the jaw position and the tongue position in the mouth. French also has sounds that don’t exist in English, such as ‘R’ (throat), and
‘U’ (tongue at the front of the mouth). Many sounds are more rounded in English, which doesn’t occur in French.

International French and Quebecois French also differ quite a bit. Quebecois French adds an ’S’ sound after the consonants ’T’ and ‘D’. Those sounds ‘T’s and ‘D’s are almost nonexistent in the English language. The tongue position for the vowels is also more extreme, in front of the mouth. The vowels sound darker, longer, as the oral cavity is more open. Quebecois people can also generally speak International French easily, which opens a whole new world of colours and tones. I would assume that the more languages you speak, the more freedom and options you have on a brass instrument.

I also believe that every note on brass instruments has its own ideal consonant/vowel option for optimal resonance and best sound, but this is a whole other topic!

2) What are your favorite aspects of playing Operatic music? Ballet music?
Opera to me is the ultimate form of Art.

It involves a visual aspect, story telling, acting, vocal and instrumental music-making. When I’m in the pit, I feel like I am part of something much bigger than me and my own little part. I also think of trombone as the most vocal wind instrument which probably explains why I am naturally drawn to the singing voice (especially mezzo soprano & baritone). I always learn something watching and listening to singers: how do they phrase things? How do they breathe? How do they change the colour in their voice to convey different emotions and characters? How do they project the way they do?
Ballet music often has glorious moments for low brass.

What’s not to love?

Read more of Isabelle Lavoie here

Bob Sanders

Bob Sanders

What is your secret to a monster low register?
Heavy lips and copious, immediate, but SLOW air; nothing kills low notes like fast air. I should clarify what I mean by “slow.” I feel the terms “slow” and “fast” are frequent used imprecisely. Many folks say “fast” air when they mean “high flow rate” air. “Fast” is measured in distance over time – the time it takes one molecule to go from point A to point B – feet per second. “Flow” is measured in volume over time – the number of molecules that move past point C in a unit of time – liters per minute. These are two very different quantities and usually mutually exclusive. So, when I say “slow” airflow I mean “Mississippi River” airflow, not “fire hose” airflow. Some adjectives I use (borrowed from I can’t remember whom) include “hot, humid, germ-laden” air. Hopefully, this pedantry won’t ignite an online pedagogic conflagration.

Who is the best trombonist you have ever heard live? Jazz trombonist?
That’s a tough one; there are way too many. I will say that Bill Booth, during the recital he split with Tommy Johnson at UCLA in 1992, is in the running for the best I ever heard live; check out his CD, Balancing Act. Not being an improviser, I don’t feel I have the “vocabulary” to really comment cogently on jazz trombonists, and again, there are so many; but I have certainly enjoyed working with and listening to Andy Martin and Bob McChesney.

Hoyt’s a long time ago. — with Loren Marsteller, Steve Holtman, Hoyt Bohannon, Alan Kaplan, Tommy Pederson, Rick Culver, John Leys and Morris Repass.

Read more from Bob Sanders here

Randy Campora

8. Can you describe the specialties of brass instruction of each of the following in a few words? What did each do best for you?
Eric Carlson: Pure sound, clean non-aggressive articulation, graded dynamics, consummate ensemble skills, superb low range, non-fussy musicality, vocal approach, sense of humor, love for baseball and ice cream, the ultimate second trombonist!

Arnold Jacobs: Eye opening lesson!, teach each person to maximize their own physical/musical potential, enhance confidence, increase consistency and predictability of musical results, freeing the mind to worry about music, how to use less muscle and more elastic air energy, articulation as speech, I see how my body works best, I played Bolero at the end of the lesson and it worked!, expert at going from an idea to a usable physical technique, the master!

Joe Alessi: Gracious (gave me a free lesson in a very busy week for him!), inspiration personified, never rests on his laurels, one of a kind, high standards, desire to serve and to give to others, super-human, expressive, healthily analytical, inquisitive, part of one of the best sections in history (Dodson, Alessi, Vernon in Philadelphia).

William F. Cramer: Model professor, man of faith, great intelligence, moral and ethical, caring, figured everything out in a vacuum out of the lime light, willing to travel the globe during the Cold War to exchange ideas and materials, encouraging, demanding, crusty but loving, true love of music, supported composers, helped birth the ITA, played Bordogni accompaniments on piano in lessons, no nonsense, didn’t fix what wasn’t broken, fearless, blow freely!

9. As a young bass trombonist in the 80’s, how much did Charles Vernon influence you? How do you view his contributions to the instrument?
I first heard Charlie’s playing via two mono cassette recordings that Dr. Cramer loaned me that he had made himself at the ITA workshops in the mid to late 70s. I was just transfixed, utterly stunned at the musical presentation, the sound, range, control, singing vibrato, the whole thing just floored me. It just seemed like he was playing bass trombone like the angels intended!

I first got to hear him live when FSU went up to the Eastern Trombone Workshop held at Towson State University in Baltimore in 1979 or 1980. He played the Vaughn Williams Concerto and the Bozza Quartet. I can still hear every note of those tapes and those performances, I still know where he breathed and how he phrased.

As the years went on, I heard him several times live with the Philadelphia Orchestra, played trombone ensembles with him and my BSO colleagues in his basement, wore out many CDs and LPs of him with Philadelphia and Chicago (and early Baltimore Symphony recordings—check out his Nutcracker on YouTube or iTunes with Comissiona conducting), and had a couple of lessons with him.

Charlie has done so much for our instrument, I hope he realizes this in his moments of wondering self-doubt, if he ever has them, because his contribution and example are so magnificent. He personifies what Jacobs and Kleinhammer taught, and to be able to hear that buoyancy in the sound and approach is priceless.

The Baltimore Symphony, minus myself, has got to have the greatest bass trombone pedigree of modern history: Ted Griffith (went to Montreal), Charlie Vernon, John Engelkes, and Douglas Yeo. I cannot imagine a better set of players to have to attempt to live up to. I have tried to incorporate a little of each of these players in my orchestral approach (a big shout out to John Engelkes, whose playing I adore).

It’s hard to not hear Charlie’s example in one’s mind whenever one is playing a major orchestral piece that he has recorded. That can be a burden–a siren song to maybe tempt one to reach a little past one’s own self in terms of volume or presence–but if kept in perspective it is a huge guiding star. If I could say one thing to Charlie it would be: thank you! And if I could say one thing to Gene Pokorny it would be: you deserve a medal!

Read more from Randy Campora here….

Matt Guilford

3. Who are your influences?
I grew up in a working class family in a blue collar New England town. The masculine influences in my early life were from men who worked with their hands. My grandfather built most of his home by himself and grew enough produce in his garden to feed a family of seven. My father was a diesel mechanic in the Coast Guard, a career firefighter and could fix just about anything. That I became an artist and academic…it is so far removed from their lives, but their heroism and self-sufficiency made a lasting impact.

Jerry Shaw was not my first trombone teacher, but he was probably the most important teacher. My first few years of playing were with Luther “Sonny” Churchill, who gave me the basics of slide positions and technique. My parents bought me a nearly new Conn bass trombone a few years later (age 13), and that is the time that I began my lessons with Jerry Shaw. Jerry had graduated from music school in Lowell, MA, took lessons with John Coffey (Boston Symphony 1941-’52), played in the U.S. Army Band overseas, AND played bass trombone as well, the same model Conn as mine, the 73H.

A more dedicated trombone teacher I have never met, and while I would like to imagine that Jerry favored me, I am quite sure that he gave equal attention to all of his many students. Let me put it this way: he taught me how to play the trombone in such a correct and thorough fashion that I constantly ask myself when working with my own students, “What would Jerry say now?”. The details of my lessons with Jerry are many and honestly deserve an entire article of their own.

Finally, and this is a “what” rather than a “who”, an early and important influence was my participation in team sports. Around the same time that I blew my first notes on a trombone, I was involved in sports. In no particular order, I was a team member of many a swim, baseball, football and basketball team. When you are able to ascertain what your own personal strengths and weaknesses may be, you gain the knowledge of how you can best help your team. There is a direct correlation to orchestral playing in this regard, and I am convinced that my early connections to team sports have guided me toward being a better team player.

I have coined a term, virtuoso team player, that might be expressed best as a meshing of personal excellence and artistry in a seamless fashion into the greater good of an ensemble. This has nothing whatsoever to do with virtuosity as commonly conceived vis-a-vis solo artists, their technical prowess, pyrotechnics and so on. Imagine that same level of skill directed not outwardly/individually as a soloist must, but inwardly to the team of orchestral colleagues. There is a virtuosity in the milli-seconds of reaction required in every orchestral rehearsal and concert that is very much the equal of the soloists aim, but it creates a different kind of internal energy that fuels the ensemble.

Read more Matt Guilford here…..

c. 2017 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved

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UNBELIEVABLE TUBAS in 2017 for “The Fourth Valve” tm Warren Deck/Chester Schmitz/Roland Sventpali/James Jenkins/Jerry Young-Double Wow!

Fourth Valve 2017

James Jenkins

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.

Read the rest of James Jenkins interview here

Warren Deck

1. What was it like to be part of the recording “Made in the USA”, and other projects with the Canadian Brass and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass and The New York Philharmonic Brass?
These projects were some of the most fun musical times I had. Getting to hang out with great players who were fun to be with whether we were playing or not was a particular joy. I had a sense during the recordings that these were special times. A couple of years ago, I was talking with Ronnie Romm and letting him know that those times together produced some of my fondest musical memories. He told me he felt the same way. I found it very gratifying that I was not alone in having that feeling.

2. Perhaps the inspiration for this project was the Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli with Brass from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. What were/are your observations on that project and the influence that it had on your career?
Funny you should mention that recording as I literally burned out two LP’s of that recording from listening to it so much. I got my first one when I was in high school and was completely blown away. It got to the point where I could know which tuba player was playing after about two notes. The really cool thing about that recording (now that I have it on CD) is that 47 years later, I am still blown away by how well all of those people played. I would play along with that recording and knew it by rote and constantly used it as a reference recording whenever I got a new horn or mouthpiece. If I could play in tune with that recording, I felt safe in using the new equipment.

3. As you matured as a performer did the type/characteristics of the specific tuba you played on become more or less important?
They became more important. I view equipment like a shoe. A shoe you might want for playing basketball will be very different from a shoe you would want for climbing a mountain. While the equipment will never be a substitute for good skills, there is truth in having the right tool for the job. As you try for a broader range of musical expression, more and different types of “toys” can be quite helpful.

Read the rest of Warren Deck’s interview here….

Chester Schmitz

4. Who were your biggest musical inspirations? What did you learn from each?
Rostropovich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Richter. I listened and studied them during my college years. Eventually I performed with Fischer-Dieskau, heard Richter play 2 recitals live, and played many concerts with Rostropovich. Magnificent musicians!

5. How important is a warm up, and how has yours changed over the years?
Playing properly is almost infinitely more important than requiring a specific warm-up.

Lip slurs are everything, when done properly.

When preparing to play an instrument, if you are inhaling only through the mouth, you can add approximately 1/4 more quantity of air, and breathe much more quickly and quietly, by adding an “open nose” to the process. Nose-breathing is also the way you breathe — automatically — all day long…..to sustain your life.

For those of you, particularly tuba players, who drop your jaw and form your oral cavity so as to say, “hooooo,” or, “huuuuuu,” will find that when you inhale using your nose as well as your mouth, that it will be almost physically impossible to form those vowel sounds. This is OK. One should not drop the jaw to breathe, nor should they use those vowel concepts. The correct concept is, “aaaaaaaaahhhh,” with a relaxed tongue and shoulders down.

If you want to inhale silently, and take in a given amount of air more easily, and more quickly, engage the nasal passage (the nose) when inhaling. Doing this then makes it possible to set your emouchure, with playing pressure, before you breathe, top and bottom center on mouthpiece rim, so that you, after your breath, are immediately ready to make that sound…..accurately and precisely…..and musically. Air comes in at “corners” of the mouth and through the nose. It is not only very easy, but it also is the correct way to prepare and breathe in order to play any brass instrument.

c. 2017 Chester Schmitz
Used by permission.

Read the rest of Chester Schmitz interview here

Jerry Young

Outside the arena of repertoire with piano, my favorite setting is brass quintet, hands down.

The reason?

It’s the repertoire.

As a brass quintet player, I inherited the repertoire that either came to light or was composed in the 1950s and 1960s. The Ewald quintets, the transcriptions by folks like Robert Nagel and Robert King, the compositions inspired by the New York Brass Quintet (such as the Bozza “Sonatine”), the Malcolm Arnold “Quintet,” and so on. The first professional brass quintet I heard was on a recording by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, featuring the late John Fletcher on tuba, and the recording did indeed feature the “first” Ewald quintet and the Malcolm Arnold. I was inspired both by the repertoire and John’s virtuoso performance.

In the early 1970s the Eastman Brass Quintet (Cherry Beauregard on tuba) came to my university – that was the first live performance I heard by a professional group. I immediately bought their record album and learned all the tuba parts. Hearing that group led to the formation of a student brass quintet and my own first experience. After that time, I have been associated with a brass quintet of some description throughout most of my life. And the repertoire has continued to grow – there is always more there, both in terms of the basic instrumentation and exploration of the basic instrumentation with additions. In the most active years of my career, new works from Jan Bach and Eric Ewazen were extremely exciting for me (and others, too). The satisfying musical possibilities seem to be almost infinite – witness the adventures of the Dallas Brass and the Mnozil Brass. This is not to mention the vast contributions to the repertoire of the Canadian Brass. None of us will ever be able to perform all of the top-drawer repertoire that is available.

2. How does one feed their musical soul when college or high school is over, and the steady playing that comes with it?
Who said that steady playing has to stop?

I currently play in a community band in Traverse City, Michigan that is loaded with folks who are music teachers (as well as representatives of a variety of other professions) who are serious players. And this is one of TWO bands in a basically rural area of Northwest Lower Michigan! Not to mention a symphony orchestra (I know – only one tuba, but…) and two brass bands in our region of Michigan.

I play in a euphonium/tuba quartet (rehearses weekly) with three other retired musicians, and my wife and I play in a ragtime quartet, too! And there are multiple brass quintets, woodwind quintets, string ensembles, vocal groups.

I believe that there are musicians all around us who really want to continue to make music, but in the course of their busy lives, no one has asked them to play. One can feed one’s musical soul by finding and motivating other musicians to play with them. If one is SO isolated that there simply is no one around to share the performance experience, there is a lot of great music (regardless of one’s instrumental voice) for solo instruments waiting to be played – even if it is for oneself. That’s another option along with intent and involved listening to the vast musical offerings on the airwaves and digitally.

3. Which live performances of music have inspired you the most?
This is a “killer” question… With over fifty years invested in intense listening and performing, I’ve experienced a lot of inspiring moments. To humor the question, I’ll describe just a few “great performances” briefly:

• The Beaux Arts Trio – I heard this group in the early 1980s in Kansas City. Listening to and watching Mr. Pressler at the piano was an amazing lesson in expressive legato playing that has affected my own playing ever since.

• A live performance by Harvey Phillips in 1978 with my wife at the piano. They performed Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns.” There was not a dry eye in the house by the time the performance ended. Musical/emotional communication at its very best.

• My first performance as a member of the faculty at the National Music Camp (now the Interlochen Arts Camp). I found myself performing Gabrieli canzoni with former principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Gilbert Johnson, and with former principal trombone of Philadelphia, Henry Charles Smith (sitting next to me) on euphonium. After all the years of listening to “The Brass of Three Great Orchestras,” I felt somewhat out of place, but what an exciting and inspiring moment.

More Jerry Young interview here

Roland Szentpali

1. How did you meet the saxhorn, and was it a good thing or a bad thing?
I started to do research on the previous instruments which led to the tuba; this is how I met first the French Tubás, including saxhorn. It is a great instrument!

2. What are your three favorite cities, and why?
Budapest, because of its compact size and architecture. The colorful culture and the nightlife.

Bologna, because of the architecture and the culinary arts.

Luzern, because it’s just simply beautiful

3. What does it take to make it through your warm up, and how has it changed since college?
I didn’t do a daily warm up, every day is different.

More Roland Sventpali interview here….

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UM FROST JAZZ HOUR to Host Duo Brubeck featuring Mitch Farber 1-4-’18 11:00 am WDNA 88.9 FM and IHeart Radio

Join us, won’t you?

On the radio, streaming or LIVE!!

Thursday at 11:00 am at the WDNA 88.9 FM Jazz gallery
2921 SW 22 St. (Coral Way)
Miami, Fl 33145

Hosted by bassist Tim Smith for Chuck Bergeron

Special thanks to Alberto De La Reguera!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on UM FROST JAZZ HOUR to Host Duo Brubeck featuring Mitch Farber 1-4-’18 11:00 am WDNA 88.9 FM and IHeart Radio