Being Ready

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by xjb0906, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    460
    174
    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    No names will be mentioned in this story to protect the guilty.

    I have been playing third trumpet in a big band for a few years now. I play mostly third, but get lead on a few parts and some solos. About 3-4 months ago our lead player left the band, which left an opening for a lead player. I am not yet able to fill that roll, but am getting closer with each passing day. The leader of the band found a pro trumpet player to get us through last night's gig. He has played in several big name bands and taught trumpet at more than one university. He attended a few rehearsals in the month before the gig. I played lead during the rehearsals that he was unable to attend. Unfortunately, he was unable to play the gig due to having some surgery earlier in the week. He chose a sub of equally impressive credentials to send in his stead.

    When I arrived at the hall we were playing I was told to play lead if the sub didn't show as he was already late. Five minutes before downbeat the sub arrived. It didn't take long to realize that something was amiss with the new guy as he was unable to concentrate on anything. He made comments of how he had played most of the arrangements in the bands that had originally performed them. He was unable to play them last night and blamed it on a bad back. All the while I couldn't help but notice the smell of booze as he made a mess of things in the first set. By the end of the set he was asking us to help cover the lead parts. At the beginning of the second set I took lead on the first three tunes, before he left the stage saying that he needed to sit down. Needless to say, the audience and the band had greater appreciation of the quality of music that we were making from that point forward. It wasn't that I was doing that good, but that I wasn't as bad as what was happening up until that point. I played lead the rest of the second set and shared it with the 4th trumpet during the third. That second set is the most fun I can remember having on stage as the energy of the band and audience and myself grew with each tune. We were appreciating each other in a way that I have not experienced before. On a break between the second and third set I was given a note attached to $50 from the band stating " band consensus is that you saved our ass". Words can't describe how it felt to gain the respect of a group of musicians that I have always felt lucky to share the stage with.

    I always work on improving every aspect of my playing so I will be ready for whatever situation arises. The fact that it paid of last night just encourages me to work that much harder as there is still so much that I am not ready for.

    Practice often and be ready. You never know when you will be asked to stretch past your normal reach.
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,459
    7,035
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I've had several calls to spring in for the first player. They went well, and generated more gigs. Congratulations on a job well done!
     
  3. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    1,465
    657
    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    What a great story, and a finely crafted post too. Being a third part player is hard because for one thing, you cant have the lead players mindset. Its a thankless job that when done well is not noticed much. To step in and do a respectable job in an emergency for the lead is a tribute to your musicianship. Bravo for having your head screwed on straight. Both the rest of the band and your audience that night showed great respect for you as a trumpet player that gets the job done no matter what part it is and you should be proud. I think being proud yet humble is a trick that is hard to pull off but you seem to understand that and I am happy for your success. Best wishes.
     
    Vulgano Brother likes this.
  4. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    4,469
    4,573
    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    I know the situation very well... worst case was when I was still fairly young at big band playing, doing fourth chair in a swing band. We were playing "In the Mood" as final piece of a gig, with the famous Clark Terry solo, and #2 started that solo one beat late... can you imagine? and did not realize his mistake. #1 and 3 somehow did not have the heart to interfere, and the band were starting to fall apart, so I waded in on bar 2 of the solo, with the biggest and loudest sound I could produce. It silenced #2, and even though I failed to play that solo very well, it got the faltering band back on track, and we ended up to an overwhelming applause.
    Next day, I was told that my services in that band would not be required any more "due to your stepping out of your place". Those things can happen.
    Six months later, that band dissolved due to internal dispute.
     
  5. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    460
    174
    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    The fact that I am no lead player is apparent today. The chops feel really bad. Still working on that high note technique.
     
  6. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    4,469
    4,573
    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    But you got the job done - so now it's time to be proud of yourself and relax.
     
  7. Honkie

    Honkie Pianissimo User

    175
    125
    Feb 22, 2013
    Congratulations, well done -- both the post and the playing.

    I hope the guy who messed up is OK. He sounds like he's in bad shape...hopefully
    he takes the experience as a wake-up call, and not another reason to spiral downwards.
     
  8. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Age:
    68
    1,298
    279
    Nov 11, 2005
    Indianapolis
    Xjb - get your self some ChopSaver, I'm not a lead player by any stretch of the imagination but play lead in one big band. After a grueling reh. or job I use ChopSaver and the next morning all is well. Do not apply before playing, it seems to deaden my chops. Good luck and hang in there.
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    12,459
    7,035
    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Depending on our age, an extended warm up can often get the chops from feeling beat up to normal.
     
  10. lipnutz

    lipnutz Pianissimo User

    147
    27
    Dec 17, 2013
    You rocked the house when you had to come through. That's a stud trumpeter. ;-)
     

Share This Page