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.
The 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
Irvin L. WAGNER – USA
Gabriel MADAS – Austria
Jacques MAUGER – France
Csaba WAGNER – Hungary
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
1. 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
1. 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
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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 davidbrubeck.com
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 davidbrubeck.com
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 davidbrubeck.com
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
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?
Irv Wagner has been the face and the ambassador of the International Trombone Association for as long as anyone can remember. If there is a country that seems inviting to the trombone that he has not yet visited, then it is probably on an upcoming itinerary. Mr. Wagner’s historical breadth of the trombone and trombonists is rare and multi-faceted. Watch as Wagner illuminates a future for the good guys and gals. “1385” tm, is pleased to present Mr. Irv Wagner. Enjoy!
1. How has the conception of a desired trombone tone quality changed as compared with 25 years ago, and 50 years ago? Why do you think the changes have occurred?
Regarding Desired Trombone tone: I think tone has swung back to a little more brightness. I consider it like a pendulum—tone kept swinging darker and darker up until the about 50 years ago. The darkest I knew about was Beversdorf at Indiana University who required his tenor players to play on Bass Trombones. Then the pendulum started back the other way from that extreme, and now tone is still rich and full but not so heavy and dark. It is more pleasant. The Jazz World never changed to that darker tone except maybe Stan Kenton, so they did not have to swing back.
2. Have you taken the trombone it had never been heard before? What were the reactions?
Have I taken the trombone anywhere it has never been? I guess in many respects, my first visit to China could fit in that category. I went there first in 1985 (before it was popular), and it was the first time they had heard what constitutes a modern tone quality. They were amazed and tried to copy my sound. Of course, at that point the trombone was new to their ears because any of the students were basically kids who were beginners. Consequently, I opened an entire culture to what is considered a normal trombone tone. There were many years in the 80”s and 90’s that I was considered the “Father of the Trombone” in China.
3. How important have presentational and speaking skills been to your ability to communicate the musical value and joy of playing trombone?
Speaking presentational skills: I think that has been a great benefit to me. I have been blessed with a simple mind so that I can convey in words the most basic information about the trombone. And I have always been interested in making the trombone a friendly instrument. I have a strong opinion that nowadays, most trombonists program for other trombonists and not the general public. Because I have done that at the University of Oklahoma, I have a large following. In fact, our Trombone Choir Concerts draw as large an audience as the Orchestra or Band.
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.
5. 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!
6. What qualities have you seen in some of your most successful students?
My Most Successful students: They all have one thing in common—
they are nice people.
The real, successful students are the ones who loved the instrument, tried to perfect their playing and musical skills, and were above all good people to be around.
7. How have you adjusted programming in a world with increasingly simpler popular music and shorter attention spans?
Adjusting in programming. I am not sure i have adjusted at all. I have always liked all kinds of music from Blue Grass to Jazz and Classical; and I have programmed all of those styles my entire life. So I have had not issues with those in so called simpler and shorter attention spans. And I have never played down to my students or the audience, because i think students and people all want to experience the highest and best—and that does not have to be something “far out.”
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
9. Which are your favorite solos and why?
Literature—that is so difficult to answer because there are so many. And I like all styles and periods, so, of course, I like the David Concerto, Marcello transcriptions, and jazz or audience-friendly pieces.
c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com
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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. It is not an easy to follow a Titan such as Arnold Jacobs, nor to take your place in one of the most storied low brass sections of the past 60 some years. To do so without skipping a beat is remarkable. An alchemist of sound, his tone has adapted to the new CSO to create the signature blend that is at once present without being obtrusive, warm yet clear-genius! The “Fourth Valve” tm is delighted to host the master alchemist of sound, the sensational Eugene Pokorny-enjoy!
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.
3. Do you conceive of an articulating tongue along the same lines as Arban, where it is a valve that completely albeit temporarily seals the air, or as denting the air stream (Remington), or creating turbulence (Marcellus)?
I think of the tongue as floating above the air stream. When an articulation is needed, the tongue dips into and interrupts the air stream for as long as it needs to then springs back up floating on top of the air stream. When a note is meant to end, the tongue should have no participation at all, except when the notes are meant to be very short. In that case, I will stop the tone with the tongue. Please do not burn me at the stake for saying that. It works for me.
4. What differences did you notice about playing in the CSO when you first joined, as compared with your previous orchestral experiences? Style, attitude, preparation. Do the members listen more?
I need to gauge my answer with the reality that I joined the CSO when I was 36 years old and was still learning a lot about my own playing. However, the biggest physical change was amount of sound output I was expected to produce. This not only meant the loudness but the softness as well. Both Jay [Friedman] and Charlie [Vernon] can play very soft. So can Michael [Mulcahy] who joined the Orchestra several months after I had been there. All three of them could offer a complex array of dynamic contrast. That factor and the dead, dry acoustics of Orchestra Hall make for a very challenging physical environment in which to produce music especially because the resonance in the room itself is practically non-existent.
I estimate it took me most of a season to get up to the volume levels I felt were necessary to pull my weight in the section. The hall in St. Louis where I previously worked had a wonderful resonance in the low register. There was no need to play very loud because the sound was always present and beautiful. The trombone section did not have to be over-amping in St. Louis because there was no reason. We “let” the sound happen in Powell Hall in St. Louis as opposed to having to “make” the sound happen in Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
Eugene’s New Tie! www.davidbrubeck.com
Regarding style, preparation and attitude every performer in every orchestra is a little different. Some are very conscientious and others are not. As examples of players with great attitudes, I could site Susan Slaughter, Daniel Gingrich, David Herbert, Rick Holmes, Steve Williamson, Richard Lesser, Christy Lundquist, John Hagstrom and some others. Most of these players (from the orchestras in Chicago, St. Louis, Utah, Israel, etc.) are either retired or have passed on. Many of these same players also qualify as ones who prepare their music ahead of time. There are other players who have special qualities. Jeff Reynolds (former bass trombone, Los Angeles Philharmonic) is one with whom I always learned something every time I would sit next to him. Michael Mulcahy (Second Trombone, Chicago Symphony) is one whose musical interpretations would be unpredictable but I know would always be adventurous. Cynthia Yeh (Principal Percussion, Chicago Symphony) would always produce a sound better than the one I would last remember.
Do the players listen more in the Chicago Symphony? Some do.
5. Connie Weldon and the tuba quartet, R. Winston Morris and the tuba ensemble, Jacobs and the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet & CSO Low Brass Quartet/Quintet. How important was chamber music to you, and how do you advise your students to partake?
While playing in chamber music is useful, it is not something I have gone overboard with encouraging students to do. There are very practical reasons for playing in tuba ensemble in terms of playing in tune and adjusting pitch to a “mean tone temperament” (lowering major 3rds, raising perfect 5ths, etc.).
My favorite ensemble in which to play is trombone ensemble. We at one time did that a lot in Chicago but it rarely happens these days. We always manage to put together a trombone/tuba ensemble at the Pokorny Seminar in Redlands during the summertime. I think players benefit in being able to hear individual lines especially when there are fewer of them to listen to in a chamber group.
And who says a low brass player could not play the cello part in a string quartet without great benefit to….well…..the low brass player.
6. How do conceive of or describe the ideal tuba sound? Can you address it in terms of core and breadth.
It is difficult to accurately describe a sound with words and actually know what that sound is. My all time favorite tuba sound is the one produced by Roger Bobo. It was all muscle and no fat. Ideal. Sinewy. Tommy Johnson produced a sound that had heart and depth. It also was a sound I could more easily emulate because of the physical structure of my face, sinuses, etc. David “Red” Lehr has the most awesome, smooth, legato I have yet to hear on a tuba player. I am not sure how to describe any of these players’ sounds in terms of “core” or “breadth”. Maybe the previous desciptions will help.
7. What percentage of the time do you estimate that you use the following breathing strategies and why:
A. Take in the breath and release it by simply allowing gravity and the relaxation of the intercostal muscles and diaphragm to allow the air to leave your body in relaxation.
If I am playing Wagner, Prokofiev or any low register tuba parts, I will let gravity do the work for the most part. That would be at least 90% of the time. When I get to the end of my breath capacity I may have to push a little to keep the air moving out, but then I inhale and let gravity do its magic again.
B. As above, but also bringing the stomach muscles in to speed the exhalation of the air.
GP: Even when playing Wagner, Prokofiev and the other low register tuba pieces, I often must push a little to keep the air moving out, but then I inhale and let gravity do its magic again. As a mantra I try to remember that the “free exchange” of air should be a priority when breathing. The more warmed up and “elastic” I am regarding breathing, the more air I can easily move. Percentage-wise, I would have to say that I eventually start pushing nearly 100% of the time.
C. Placing the diaphragm and stomach muscles is isometric opposition to control the flow of air.
I am sure that in notes that go from “f” (below the middle C) and higher my stomach muscles are in some type of isometric stance, especially as the notes go higher. As a higher air pressure is needed, something needs to produce that pressure. While the isometric is not “ideal”, I am sure it is present as a safety precaution to have ample pressure ready if needed. I think of the aeronautical aspects of landing a plane with the engines spooled up ready to “pull up” again in case of a problem.
7. From your vantage point inside the orchestra, are there any composers for whom your admiration only grows?
Eugene Pokorny All American College Band-Disney www.davidbrubeck.com
When the orchestra plays opera (which is rare for us), the repetition builds up expectations and my attitude improves (usually) when I have to a chance to play or listen to the music multiple times. Prokofiev and Wagner are always a great adventure to get exposed to. The writing and orchestration of Ravel is always revealing something new to me. I am enamored of some music my colleagues would scoff at, for example, Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.” Outside of the orchestra, the music of Puccini and Gerald Finzi are now my greatest loves. I am much more moved in significant ways by Finzi than anything I have ever heard by Mozart. [Now you can burn me at the stake, but I will not retract that statement.]
c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com
images courtesy of
University of The Redlands
The Florida Atlantic University Orchestra, under the baton of Dr. Laura Joella, is set to feature bass trombonist David William Brubeck in the world premiere of Thomas Sleeper’s latest concerto for bass trombone. “Sleeper is a major composer who also happens to play the bass trombone, so it is no surprise that the work is riveting”, comments Brubeck. The trio have collaborated before, as Sleeper provided a world premiere transcription of Six Arias for FAU, Joella and Brubeck. This latest project is even more ambitious, as the composer set out with the conductor, the ensemble and the soloist in mind at the inception.
“The work is intensely visceral”, comments Brubeck, “and features shifting rhythmic accents and syncopation amidst a confluence of polyrhythms and soaring lyricism.” The three movement work is Sleeper’s third concerto for his native bass trombone, and taken along with his Six Arias, establishes Sleeper as one of the most significant composers for the instrument.
Set in three movements, I. Allegro-Lento-Allegro II. Adagio III. Allegro-Adagio Moroso Subito-Allegro, the work is unified by completeness and contrast. Each of the outer movements stands alone, and the second movement is at once understated and yet profoundly satisfying.
“Hauntingly Mysterious”, “Richly Lyrical”, “Soaring Melodies” – all phrases used to describe the music of Thomas M. Sleeper. His output includes 13 operas, fourteen concerti, five symphonies, four orchestral song cycles, works for chorus with orchestra, band, wind ensembles, three string quartets, numerous other vocal and instrumental chamber works and music for film. Sleeper has developed a unique compositional voice whose vocabulary is clearly from, but not limited to, this century-adapted from sleepermusic.com
Why a pre-elementary book and not a standard elementary book?
Almost every OTHER beginning method book is written for BAND, NOT BRASS!
The first few notes matter.
Most methods starting notes for brass are too low, some are even too high, but 5-Minute Lessons have it just right. By choosing a band-based method, which essentially caters to woodwinds, the results for young brass players can be less than optimal, and sometimes downright disastrous, creating inferior embouchures and habits which can last a lifetime. Our advice? Start Here…
David Brubeck’s pre-elementary method for trumpet is written for young brass players by a great brass player. It has been presented at the International Trumpet Conference and featured in the Journal of The International Trumpet Guild. Whether you are heading for “Essential Elements”, “Standard In Excellence”, “Yamaha Band Student”, or even “Rubank’s Elementary Method”, start your your journey here!
This 25 Page Method, includes six Pages of Fundamentals-(The ABC Preludes), 12 Lessons (5-Minute Lessons), AND additional pages of tunes, rhythms, scales, and even sight-reading all geared for the stone-cold, absolute beginner.
Brubeck is perhaps the only musician to be featured as a soloist at the international conferences of the trumpet, trombone, euphonium, and tuba festivals! He graduated with distinction from Northwestern University where he received training from some of the foremost brass players in the Chicago Symphony, and was the first college musician named by Disney as a three-time All-American. A professional trombonist who performs regularly with the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, Brubeck has performed with the likes of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and The Four Tops. Brubeck also has a lifetime of experience teaching young musicians at advanced levels having conducted the Florida Youth Orchestra and Greater Miami Youth Symphony for more than 25 years, and having studied with many of the finest music educators in the world such as Bennett Reimer and Arnold Jacobs. At the time of this writing, Brubeck has two former trumpet students on scholarship at the United States of America’s National School of the Arts-Interlochen Arts Academy, and two former students playing the Tommy Dorsey Chair in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, just to mention a few..
REVIEWED! DUO BRASS Recital at the 40th Anniversary Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, Reviewed By ITG Journal
“Brubeck played bass trombone throughout the recital, alongside an all-star cast of trumpeters that included Marc Reese, Craig Morris, Peter Wood, and Jason Carder. The recital featured a wide variety of music, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Dowland, and Gliere, as well as a commission by Ney Rosauro for Brubeck and Morris. Brubeck also arranged jazz charts by Chick Corea and Horace Silver, which further highlighted the power of this duo combination. Brubeck writes opportunities for each player to be the soloist, to accompany, to weave in and out of the melodic texture, and to play as an equal duo member, thus making his music exciting to listen to and play. The recital was a true exhibit of artistry and style by the whole cast of players.” (RG)
The 5-Minute Lessons for Trumpet were first mentioned at this conference, which resulted in an article about the method in the Journal of the ITG
Article Featuring The Brubeck Pre-Elementary 5-Minute Lessons:
Reprints from the International Trumpet Guild® Journal to promote communications among trumpet players around the world and to improve the artistic level of performance, teaching, and literature associated with the trumpet
PEDAGOGICAL TOPICS JON BURGESS, COLUMN EDITOR
PRE-ELEMENTARY METHOD FOR TRUMPET AND
TROMBONE: TUNES FOR TWO FINGERS BY DAVID WILLIAM BRUBECK
March 2016 • Page 42
c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.davidbrubeck.com
Posted inUncategorized|Comments Off on Brubeck 25 Page Pre-Elementary Method for Trumpet, 5-Minute Lessons for Trumpet Published by Cherry Classics!
Summary: Now is the time to act immediately to preserve an open and free internet backed by the U. S. Government and the accountability of U. S. voters, many of whom are women. If you are a citizen of the United States, please contact your Senator and Representative in Congress today! or by 30 September 2016 to strongly oppose the transfer of the United State’s oversight role of ICANN-The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to an international body which includes many despotic regimes who do not hold free speech nor the accountability of voters as core principles.
The U. S. has moved towards surrender of the internet in previous administrations, but President Obama is acting to transfer the final control of ICANN to an international body in two days, on 1 October 2016. The effects of the transfer will not likely be immediately felt, giving those who support it the opportunity to equate it with Y2K-“See! False alarm”, and yet the slow erosion of free speech and the loss of unregulated space which has been a key engine of innovation, equality, and information will have been doused with water to rust. As the creaking oxidation slowly creeps in, one can expect increased censorship, as is already practiced in nations such as Saudi Arabia and China. How can countries like Iran, China or their ilk improve the oversight to include more freedom when they themselves are censors of the internet?
Others who are sure to benefit are multi-national corporations who owe less and less allegiance to the United States and have already demonstrated their willingness to subordinate your personal freedom to profit and cozy relationships with despotic regimes. So where is the little guy to go to keep the internet accountable? Right now, you can call Congress-in two days you may not.
Who Stands to Lose? Women in the U. S. enjoy greater freedom and economic advantages than women in most other countries, not to mention the right to vote in free elections. A free and open internet can and has changed the lives of thousands of female entrepreneurs and activists who can operate as equals online, where this ability is not available to them within in their society. As global internet access increases, this will become more and more the case, IF the internet remains free and accountable to U. S. voters, women worldwide will undoubtedly have more and more of a voice. A very similar case can be made for the LGBT community, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Christians and other people of faith who all currently find representation, a voice, and accountability in the U. S. Congress.
Who Stands to Lose? Free Speech now protected by U. S. law and culture on the internet could soon be subject to inferior laws of the international community which do not equally cherish free speech to the same degree as guaranteed by our Bill of Rights-if at all.
Who Stands to Lose? English Speaking People may be surprised to find that the internet will become not only less free, but less friendly to English.
Who Stands to Lose? U. S. Technological Advances and cybersecurity are top concerns of US experts, as is a brain drain of the most talented internet experts which the U. S. currently enjoys. Goodbye Silicon Valley….
Who Stands to Lose? Society, culture and education. As many people, especially our youth, spend up to ten hours on line each day and more, the free access to information they currently enjoy may be increasingly stifled and propagandized. If the precedent set by countries to whom we are handing over these controls is any guide-you can count on it!
Who Stands to Lose? Privacy of anyone who owns a website. ICANN has your physical address, telephone number and other information which will no longer be preserved as accountable to US law, voters and Congress.
Who Stands to Lose? Copyright holders and intellectual property right holders who enjoy the enforceable protection of U. S. copyright law may be surprised to find that copyright law is not enforced throughout the globe, this will become even more true if the U. S. loses oversight of ICANN based on lack of copyright enforcement and the past behavior China and other stake holders regarding copyright enforcement is any guide. Good bye Hollywood profits….
Who Stands to Lose? U. S. Taxpayers, who paid for the development of the internet through their tax dollars, will receive no compensation when the oversight of this multi-million dollar corporation is yielded to international interests in two days.
Posted inUncategorized|Comments Off on PLEASE CALL YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVES NOW! VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO HANDING OVER U.S. CONTROL OF THE INTERNET! davidbrubeck.com VEHEMENTLY OPPOSES TRANSFER OF INTERNET OVERSIGHT FROM U.S. to ICANN
Forget about Alex being on the Paul McCartney’s video recording, “My Very Good
Friend, the (trombone-playing) Milkman”.
Forget about him playing trombone for Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson before becoming a Los Angeles recording studio standout.
Don’t even think about principal trombone in the Long Beach Symphony, or for the Oscars, or even as a guest soloist for the International Trombone Association.
Just imagine, for a moment, that you are a record producer about to be stranded on a desert island for ten years, and can take only one trombonist with you; it might have to be Alex Iles.
Alex is a man of breathtaking versatility and significant depth, who gives one the impression of a gifted tinkerer. If the trombone were the tone color equivalent of the color blue, then it seems that while many other trombonists seem to be perfecting a single blue, Alex seems to cultivate a every conceivable blue. As a result, he is always in style…”1385″ tm is proud as a peacock to present master trombonist Alex Iles, enjoy!
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
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.
2. Jazz and classical both? Solo and ensemble both? How do you keep on top of four to six different quadrants of playing at a high level. Where is home base?
When people sometimes ask me, “What kind of music do play more of on recording sessions? Jazz or classical?” My initial snide response is usually…”Neither!”
The fact is, the musical demands can be anything on any given day and is often totally the opposite of what the call goes out for originally. I’ve played orchestral bass trombone on sessions I’ve been told ahead of time was going to be mostly small group 30’s era swing era jazz!
Also, within each so called “genre” there can be differences that players have to listen for and learn.
For instance, 20’s and 30’s Kansas City swing feel and style differs in certain significant ways from the music of the 40’s and early 50’s Swing Era Pre bebop. The phrasing is different, the improvisational language can be different and the time and rhythmic feel evolved quite a bit in those 20 years.
Many films scored for giant orchestras these days contain lots of intense ostinato bass lines and rhythmic grooves. These scores demand basically a symphonic sound, but they frequently require the players to be able to play rock, funk, hip hop, or swinging syncopated figures with the right kind of groove. It is definitely not a style of music which relates too closely to Brahms, Bruckner or Mahler…or Basie, or Kenton!
Trombone Alert at 1:40…
I also think that it’s important to discover and address the specific kinds of musical and technical demands beyond any label people attach to it. For instance, something labeled “classical” like Stravinsky’s “Firebird” or “Rite of Spring” requires certain specific musical skill sets (metric changes, rhythms across bar lines, extreme articulation and dynamics, etc) that many players first encounter in jazz big band music. On the other hand, playing a pretty jazz melody might make be easier to play by someone who has been regularly playing legato etudes and melodies in various registers rather than having spent that time blowing through “Stablemates” and “Giant Steps”!
Now, I am all for with delving 100c/o into exploring and growing your skills as an improviser, but again; playing a pretty melody with a great sound requires honing different skill sets.
As freelance trombonists, we also have to be flexible and comfortable playing different instruments depending on the kind of music placed in front of us as well. Tenor trombonists in the freelance world tend to have to stay proficient and prepared on small bore tenor, large bore tenor and bass trombone. And we often receive little or no warning which it will be. Many freelancers sometimes take calls for euphonium and even tuba. I also play alto for certain pieces in the repertoire that come up a few times a year.
A big part of my musical life and livelihood is performing live, outside the studio. I love my positions in the Long Beach Symphony (principal) and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (2nd trombone). In a given year, I will play a lot of shows, concerts, and club gigs. I also love playing chamber music, salsa, trad jazz and new music. I like to prepare and perform recitals and guest solo concert throughout the year. These performances keep me honest and motivated to continue to explore and grow as a musician.
Many musicians become motivated solely by the lure of a paycheck or measure their success primarily in terms of their financial success or failure. I have always felt any work I get called for is largely a gift and if I don’t push myself a bit and get out to play music in creative outlets on my own, and in collaboration with the fantastic individual musicians I’ve come to know over the years, i have a hard time honestly calling myself a musician. I love getting paid to play, but I also find it is necessary getting out there and playing music for music’s sake!
Big musical challenges can come up with little warning. And you can only prepare so much for any given day. I think the key is to have a healthy exposure to a lot of different music on your radar starting out early and continuing throughout your life to keep expanding your musical awareness.
My students are great at keeping me informed of new stuff they’re checking out, but I also try to search out new and different music as much as I can. Some days, I think I have always enjoyed listening as much as playing music myself.
I have never listened for purely professional reasons or because someone told me I should. As a young trombone I realized that in order to maximize my chances to just get to play with anyone at all, I wanted to hear and understand every situation one might hear/see a trombone. I loved discovering and investigating all that music and continue to love hearing new music, composers and performers.
Developing this kind of flexibility just for basic survival turned out to be a critical component leading up to what I wound up doing for a living. I have been frustrated at times when I might only be performing at 75 or 80% of my best in any one genre, but for me, that has to be ok. What I do is sometimes like a musical decathlon!
3. How did the Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson experiences differ? From the leaders personalities, to musical priorities and life on the road.
When I was a teenager, both these bands were my top two “dream bands”. They were the bands I went out to see and hear the most whenever they came through town. Both bands played incredible arrangements at a high level of precision and with plenty of world class musicianship on display. I followed the personnel lists on their recordings and from newspaper articles the way some people followed their favorite sports teams. I idolized their trombone sections and soloists. To be invited to play and tour with these two influential bands was a great honor.
There were differences and similarities, for sure.
Both bands were made up of amazing players and arrangers. Each of the band’s tours took them to many of the same venues. Life on the road, traveling by bus everywhere could be challenging especially if folks weren’t feeling very social with each other or feeling physically sick.
Maynard was an incredibly positive person, especially as a leader. His ensemble had to sound tight and polished but he also encouraged us by making sure each of us had solo space and felt a part of the “show”. His fans represented a diverse demographic. Some people in the audience were not yet fully realized jazz fans. But they loved Maynard because he and his music were exciting, accessible and often resembled the kind of pop music they were accustomed to.
But this was really kind of a beautiful con job on some level because Maynard was subtly delivering a healthy dose of jazz education in every performance. Instrumental soloists were always introduced and featured. He performed many works by legendary jazz composers. And he often pulled out classic arrangements from his own repertoire.
I was invited to join Maynard’s band in 1985 with the departure of the fantastic trombonist/composer/arranger Steve Weist who was going back to UNT at the time to finish his master’s degree and start his illustrious additional career as an outstanding music educator
I learned many valuable lessons in my 2 years with Maynard. Probably the most important lesson of all was that we were all expected to deliver a highly energized performance of basically the same repertoire every single night. There were no excuses!! That is a lesson you really can’t get in school!!
Playing with Maynard was also my first real “name” professional experience. That gave me some professional “street cred” when I returned to my freelance life back in Los Angeles .
Woody Herman heard me play with Maynard at the long defunct Donte’s jazz club in LA and I suppose that might have put my name in his head when his lead/solo trombonist John Fedchock decided to depart after being such a critical member of the band for almost 8 years, playing incredible solos and also serving as Woody’s primary arranger and musical director.
I feel so lucky to have toured with both these bands. Woody’s band was a bit purer and perhaps a more authentic jazz band approach with the music they played. There was a respect for the past, but Woody never wanted his band to be solely in existence for “nostalgic” reasons. He idolized Duke Ellington and, in many ways I think he saw his band as having to always grow and evolve to survive. It was that way up to and after Woody passed away in 1987 when I joined the band. Woody was too ill to tour and passed away while I was on the band. Long time saxophonist Frank Tiberi led during my year with the band. He was very positive and encouraging as well. Besides concerts, club dates, and festivals, Woody’s band played a lot of dances. I loved these gigs because Frank would call some of the great classic big band tunes that made Woody’s band famous. “The Good Earth”, “Bijou”, “Woodchoppers Ball”, and all the rest. That was best danceband book ever, especially for trombone players. There were so many great parts and solos to play.
Again, the quality of musicianship in that band was inspiring every night.
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!!
5. What is your secret to a good legato?
If and when I figure out a “secret” I will let you know!! But seriously, I think it first requires a strong mental image of how you want it to sound. It’s not enough to just think of legato and simply “connected” you want to have a sound picture in your head of a great legato and emulate that. It’s an exercise in listening first and foremost. Great trombonists in multiple genres have “cracked the code”. Tommy Dorsey, Joe Alessi, Urbie Green, Jim Markey, Bill Watrous, Dick Nash, Lloyd Ulyate, etc etc. But I also have been inspired by singers like Dietrich FischerDieskau, Dawn Upshaw, Frank Sinatra, Kenny Rankin and Nat King Cole.
For me, legato is a way trombonists apply to creating phrasing and musical line, not only the mechanics of connecting one note to the next.
With that idea in mind, I think it is good to start learning how to articulate on the trombone by using no articulation at all. Keyed and valve instruments do this, why shouldn’t trombonists? Sure, there are lots of unmusical glisses when we move between notes on the same partial without articulation, but by doing this little exercise, a player can develop a model for an airstream we can use effectively with the tongue.
Gliss your way through a Bordogni etude or other legato melody. You can also focus on all the components besides your tongue; air, resonance, natural slurs, slide movement. What I suggest next is to gradually introduce the articulation JUST ENOUGH to get rid of the glisses. This way you can feel free to first play something the way you sing it or hear other people sing it.
It is also to “loop” between two notes on the same partial, say Bb and Ab and play back and forth, experimenting with where you place your tongue behind your teeth and gums, and perhaps what consonant sound you’re using [dah, tah and the degrees between].
I like using natural slurs whenever possible too. I strive to match my natural slur and legato tongue articulation so that they are interchangable sounding…in theory at least!!
6. Who have your main jazz teachers been, and what did each emphasize?
I would say my primary jazz teachers were JJ Johnson, Carl Fontana, Hank Mobley, Jack Teagarden, and Wayne Henderson. In other words, as Jamey Aebersold said, “All your answers to all your questions are sitting in your record collection!” I am 7580% self taught. In some ways I regret not having really paid my dues studying one on one with a master teacher for a few years. But that said, there have been some incredible lessons I have learned. I attended the Aspen School of Music a couple summers when I was in college and took an improv class with Vince Maggio from the University of Miami. Great teacher. We sat in a circle and each played a chorus on whatever tune we were working on and he would give incredible critiques, playing back whole segments of our solos on the piano and giving alternatives for how to make our ideas more coherent.
I also highly recommend the books by Mark Levine, “The Jazz Piano Book” and the “The Jazz Theory Book”. These books are not “academic” like so many jazz texts which only offer too many alternatives. They are hands on and related directly to the music. He will give a pattern or harmonic or melodic concept that real players [Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Erroll Garner, etc] actually used to navigate a certain harmonic challenge or for a particular effect.
7. Which players and singers have you found so beautiful, that you have sought to emulate them to the degree that you hear aspects of their in your music making?
The jazz trombonists who have and continue to influence me are from a pretty wide variety of
idioms and eras…Jack Teagarden, JJ Johnson, Tommy Dorsey, James Pankow, Bill Harris, Urbie Green, Carl Fontana, Frank Rosolino, John Allred, Bill Watrous, Elliot Mason, Lawrence Brown, Al Grey, Marshall Gilkes,, Jim Fedchock, Jim Pugh, Albert Manglesdorff, Wayne Henderson, Bob Havens and several of my LA colleagues, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Bill Reichenbach and Scott Whitfield.
In the “classical” and orchestral world…Ralph Sauer, Joe Alessi, Michael Mulcahy, Paul Pollard, Christian Lindberg, Michel Biquet, Stefan Schulz, Alain Trudel, Mark Markey, Charlie Vernon and Jay Friedman.
In the freelance and studio world of playing, I have grown up surrounded by one of the greatest collection of talented and adaptable trombonists on the planet…
Dick Nash, George Roberts, Lloyd Ulyate, Joe Howard, Hoyt Bohannon, Tommy Pederson, Charlie Loper, Bill Booth, Bill Reichenbach, Lew McCreary, Alan Kaplan, Steve Holtman, Andy Martin, Nick Lane. The list is expanding all the time too with all the great up and coming players turning up here!
If I were to pick one trombonist who has inspired more than any other, that would have to be Dick Nash. He possesses the sound, musicality, phrasing, time, sensitivity, flexibility, technique, range, intonation, creativity and overall musicianship that appears in one person at one time maybe one in a generation. He is just as inspiring as a person as he is as a player
8. What are your most memorable sound recording sessions? Any stories involving composer/conductors or fellow musicians?
Merely showing up for what appears to be an innocent work call, can put you in some pretty musically rewarding or just whacky situations.
Recording the sound track for Star Wars VII with John Williams was a real highlight for all the musicians who were there. It was so musically rewarding and a laser beam-like reminder to all of us of the things that inspired us to play a musical instrument in the first place! It was an honor to be asked and a thrill for all of us to live out our childhood fantasy.
I have performed on stage and in the studio with so many idols…Wayne Shorter, Pavarotti, Barbara Streisand, John Williams, etc. I really can’t believe I get to do this for a living.
Sometimes the actors show up to sessions. A few times they conduct for a photo op. Sly Stallone, Chris Pine and Tom Cruise actually did a pretty good job conducting. Tom Cruise conducted a pretty decent 5/4 pattern on the theme from “Mission: Impossible!”
Sometimes we record music that is supposed to sound like a middle school band or a slightly drunk party band. That can actually be tough in a nice studio with expensive mics and great engineers. Andy Martin and I had to mimic a pair of trombonists in on camera amateur brass band. I wound up playing left handed and out of the side of my mouth!!
9. Please comment on your Disney connection.
Disney has cast a huge umbrella over many of us. Growing up in Southern California, I spent several days of the year at Disneyland and there were always outstanding musicians performing in the “atmosphere” groups and the Disneyland Band, a recreation of a turn of the century town band. There would also be many visiting groups playing dance or concert music all summer at the Plaza Gardens, an outdoor stage. A group of us would pile into a car with my dad driving just to hear the band playing that night. We would all sit in amazement as we sat on the dance floor being treated to some incredible concert performances by bands like Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich.
When I was about 13, I heard a band of young players playing high energy choreographed music with great spirit and enthusiasm. I went to hear every one of their sets. This was the Disneyland All American College Band, a 12 week program to introduce select college musicians to the music business and provide a special type of entertainment that only a 20 piece band of great college musicians can create. Five years later I auditioned and was selected to play lead bone with the 1980 incarnation of the band.
Many alums of the AACB will attest that their summer in the band “changed their lives”. It truly did for me on so many levels.
I started playing jazz more seriously, learned what it was like to work as a musician, began developing a lead trombone concept, made lifetime friendships, expanded my overall playing abilities and began a connection to Disney which helped me establish and grow as a freelance career.
It was my friend from the band, trombonist, Dan Levine who called me, suggesting that I send a demo recording to Maynard’s band.
I started working and subbing in various groups at Disneyland after I got off the road. Many of the players I work with and play music with on a regular basis worked full time or seasonally at Disneyland. Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Eric Marienthal, Phil Keen, and Joey Sellers, John Allred have worked at “The Park” in their formative years.
I have mostly worked as an educational consultant the past ten years at the park, conducting clinics and workshops, including appearing at The Plaza Gardens stage as a guest soloist with All American College Band. That is always a thrill on multiple levels!!
c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. www.davidbrubeck.com
Images Courtesy of Alex Iles
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At any given time, there are a handful of universities that seem to be the most desired destinations and training grounds for young, accomplished trombonists; Northwestern University (NU) and Indiana University (IU) seem to be perennially at the top of this list. Can you imagine what it would be like to teach in BOTH great studios? At the SAME time? Peter Ellefson Has…
And now, (along with IU and UNT in Denton), NU has adopted a team studio approach for trombone. In recent years, they have boasted some of the greatest symphonic players from the great symphonies: Chicago’s Michael Mulcahy & formerly Charles Vernon (and now Christopher Davis), San Francisco’s Timothy Higgins, and Detroit’s Randall Hawes. Could you imagine having the “fly on the wall” vantage point? for ALL of the lessons, with ALL of the teachers? For several years? And how about playing in THAT trombone quartet? Peter Ellefson has…
If you ever imagined playing in a great symphonic hall, or with a fantastic orchestra, imagine playing in SEVERAL of these great halls, with a NUMBER of exciting orchestras. Peter Ellefson has done this, too…
At the apex of teaching music to young trombonists AND performing great orchestral music on trombone, is Peter Ellefson-a trusted colleague, tasteful musician, and dedicated teacher. 1385 tm, the tenor trombone interview series, is delighted to establish the arc and scope of our series, with this third interview of tenor trombonist Peter Ellefson. Enjoy!
1. What was the most important aspect of your playing that was influenced by each of your trombone teachers? How did they approach it?
Warren Baker………….Consistency of attacks, bodies and releases. I learned to hear differently and to not give up until it was correct. He also gave me the gift of sincere encouragement at a critical time in my development.
Mark Lawrence………….The first world class trombonist I encountered. Free and easy approach and effortless upper register. I sat behind him for weeks during the Empire Brass Quintet Seminar at Tanglewood during the summer of 1982, absorbing his resonant sound, virtuosic slide technique and elegant musicianship. He remains my primary solo influence.
Frank Crisafulli………….My primary orchestral influence. That sound! I always made sure I began each lesson with a duet so I could be in the same room with that sound. It was contagious in a very positive way. Nothing fancy, just take a breath and blow.
Dee Stewart………….The magic of easy air and that “work effort does not necessarily equal decibels.”
Joe Alessi………….Although I have only had a couple of formal lessons with Mr. Alessi, I have learned volumes from listening and playing with him as well as watching him teach at the Alessi Seminar. He probably wouldn’t claim me as a student but his influence on me is profound. In my opinion, he set a new standard for orchestral trombone playing and his solo recitals are spectacles of virtuosity.
NY Phil Trombone Section Finlayson, Alessi, Ellefson, and Markey. www.davidbrubeck.com
2. What are the biggest musical adjustments you make when preparing excerpts as opposed to solos? Mental concepts, strategies, musical approaches, etc..
Excerpts are about execution.
Consistent, predictable execution of masterful fundamentals within the style of each composer. Thank goodness I don’t need to prepare excerpts anymore but I do need to teach them to students who claim that they wish to play in an orchestra. There are five aspects I stress in every lesson, whether I have heard the student a hundred times or am hearing them for the first time. I also listen to the same five things during auditions and they guide me in my own practice:
1. Sound– playing with a great sound in all registers and in all dynamics.
2. Intonation– it’s either in tune or out of tune.
Being “a little out of tune” is like being “a little pregnant.”
3. Articulation– playing with appropriate articulation
to enunciate the music stylistically.
4. Rhythm– the ability to keep a consistent pulse
as well as accurately execute the rhythms within the established pulse.
Given all of the fundamentals above, what is produced?
The paint is mixed. Now…what to paint?
Solos are about telling a musical story.
Too many people play solos like orchestral excerpts. Music is about communication. Identifying what we have in our hearts and brains and sending the message via pitch vibration through our brass megaphone, which is then captured through the ears of our audience and received in their brains and hopefully accepted into their hearts. We trombonists are generally “musically challenged.” Unfortunately, we listen mostly to other trombone players who are similarly challenged. We listen to the greatest players to hear great fundamentals but rarely do we encounter great music. We need to take the chance to INTERPRET. We seem to be deathly afraid to put ourselves out there because we have no experience being creative and we are too worried about what other people think. I urge students to take a chance! I try to convince them that a bad decision is better than no decision.
3. NU under your tenure was famous for not only consistently excellent student experiences, but innovative studio logs that encompassed each studio. How did these come about? Which student reports of solutions did you find most intriguing drawn from the methods of your colleagues?
When I was fortunate enough to begin teaching at NU, the “quality ball” was already rolling very powerfully and distinctly. I just joined in and tried to learn as much as possible from my colleagues as well as teach the terrific students. Of course it was an honor for me to go back to my alma mater and share with them what I have learned since graduating in the mid-1980s.
The lesson reports you mention are a very effective way of getting the students to revisit their lesson throughout the week as well as keeping the teachers on task, knowing that the direction would be heard again—and read by colleagues. The summaries were in place before I arrived, I think. The ticket for admission to the lesson was a written summary of the last lesson.
One of the fascinating aspects was to read what my colleagues said to the students but perhaps even more fascinating was to read what *I* had previously said. I would go back and read the student lesson summary, often weeks after the actual lesson and think, “Wow, I said that? That is pretty good advice!” This is not meant to toot my own horn but to underscore the magic that transpires in lessons when the teacher and student are both “running on all cylinders.”
It was also curious to read how the students interpreted our words and what they chose to include i the summary. When I began, there were three of us: Michael Mulcahy, Charlie Vernon and me. When Charlie made an exclusive commitment to DePaul, Randy Hawes returned to NU. After a couple of years, as the numbers were climbing, Tim Higgins, the terrific principal trombone in San Francisco (and NU alum) joined us, which led to the faculty quartet in which I was honored to participate.
Prof. Mulcahy is a master of words and motivation. Prof. Hawes is a master of simplicity. Prof. Higgins embodies/espouses Prof. Mulcahy’s philosophies distilled through youth and practical application. I always learned from the summaries. I still have them all…hundreds of pages of gold. One thing I initiated was scanning all of the summaries. After removing as much identifying information as possible, I would make all summaries available to all parties. Pure gold. There were no luckier students than the ones at NU. What they received from us…and I am sure that which continues today, was the most pertinent information from some of the most active and important players and teachers in the country. I chose to leave in 2013. I had just turned 50, was still teaching full-time at IU and life was going by much too quickly. It was a very, very difficult decision to leave Northwestern. I think they have five teachers now!
CSO Trombone Section with Vernon, Mulcahy, Ellefson & Friedman
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!
c. Peter Ellefson www.davidbrubeck.com
5. Your Umbrella is a beautiful conceptual and visual aid. How do you use it to address student progress?
That was a concept I developed in my first or second year of teaching at IU to help students quantify their product. Thank you for finding it and noticing its value. I might change it ever-so-slightly now but the components remain the same. Student progress is about basic awareness and merely making them cognitively aware of the most important fundamentals immediately improves their product. I would add stress to the subjects of contemplation and focus. Currently, “Device Distraction Disease” is an epidemic, hindering the progress of every student I encounter.
6. What is your approach to a great legato on trombone?
It depends. For me, legato is not legato is not legato. It differs from style to style.
I have a different approach to legato than most. I will suspect that many people often find my legato too “smeary.” When I listen to singers, I hear portamento connections, not a “notched” articulation from one note to another. The trombone is better able to imitate a vocal approach than any other wind or brass instrument. I used to be sensitive about my “smeary” legato. Now I embrace it as espressivo. I can play cleanly (really, I can!) but often it is a conscious choice to play more vocally and lyrically. I don’t hear it so much from behind the horn as I am merely reproducing what is in my head but I do hear the portamento when reviewing a recording of myself. I am not sure I would recommend my style of legato to others because of the stigma of the smear but it works just fine for me. I also mix natural slurs and legato tongue, for variety, however, I have no set dogma as to when to use which. I just play. The above description applies to solo literature or other repertoire that allows for freedom of personal interpretation. When preparing excerpts, there can be no portamento in the legato. Clean wins.
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.
Frank Crisafulli and Peter Ellefson www.davidbrubeck.com
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.
No sooner had DUO BRUBECK finished its premiere at Kendall’s Arts & Letters Day Festival last Spring, when we had been invited back to launch the following years festival-this is the result.
Both Guitar Masters Lippincott and Farber are on hand for a chill to sizzle evening of standards and originals, all done up in the inimitable fashion of “Miami’s Own”-Duo Brubeck. Tracks are listed below. Enjoy!
Featuring Tom Lippincott
And I Love Her
arr. T Lippincott
So Danca A Train
arr. D Wm Brubeck
She’s Leaving Home
arr. T Lippincott
Star Sapngled Banner
By J S Smith
arr. D Wm Brubeck
by W A Mozart
arr D Wm Brubeck
Yes, Jesus Loves Me
by A B Warner
arr D Wm Brubeck
I Dream of Miami Beach
by D Wm Brubeck
arr D Wm Brubeck
Featuring Mitch Farber
arr D Wm Brubeck
You Are My Sunshine
arr. D Wm Brubeck
Old Devil Moon
arr D Wm Brubeck
Stereogram No. 6
by D Wm Brubeck
arr. M Farber
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
arr D Wm Brubeck
arr D Wm Brubeck
by G Gershwin
arr D Wm Brubeck
c. 2016 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidbrubeck.com
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