East Coast / West Coast Trumpet Style

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by Larry Gianni, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi all,

    First I'd like to thank Thevor for his help in making this all make sense. I consider him a friend, thanks to this great site.

    Having been asked about this topic , Here’s my take on the East Coast / West Coast Sound and Style difference that started to distinguish itself in the 50’s and became more and more defined to the player and the listener throughout the 60’s and 70’s and early 80’s. It a long topic so I thought I'd take it in 2 parts.

    Part one – “ The East Coast Sound “

    I’d like to start off this topic with a quote from Mr. Lead Trumpet (as he was known and with good reason) as he spoke at the National Trumpet Symposium in 1979 during the busiest recording era that both coast’s trumpet players have experienced. The player, the legendary Bernie Glow after being asked a question of what it takes to be a good lead trumpet player;

    “The first consideration to being a good lead trumpet player would be a good, big sound. Not a piercing sound, not something that’s going to stick out, but something that is going to be big and warm and a pleasant sound so that you will blend with the ensemble and the trumpet section. It’s a sound that will fit the occasion and mood, regardless of what goes on. It’s your sound that gives you the extensionâ€

    …†You have to have a sense of ensemble playing, you can’t stick out. You can’t show how good you are to the determent of the section or ensemble. You have to show how good the music is. How good you are is of little worth unless you can demonstrate how good the music isâ€

    …†To be a good lead trumpet player, as I mentioned before, you don’t stick out. Sticking out in an ensemble is making people come in and say “Oh, listen to that lead trumpet player, isn’t he great. It’s not your function. Your function is to have people walk in and say†Oh, listen to that band, doesn’t it sound wonderful “

    This sentiment is defiantly the definitive statement of what was considered the east coast sound.

    Most East coast players , starting in the late 30’ early 40’s ,started playing in a tradition that held to a definite “mindset “set by the classically trained European trumpet sound and style using the tried and true methods in their early training. Eventually , they would transfer this style to the commercial field starting in the early 40’s with the playing of Charlie Margolis and Mannie Klein, among others,( Mannie Klein in the late 40’s moved to Los Angeles and was part of a powerhouse group of trumpet players including Uan Rasey, John Clyman, Rapheal Mendez, Larry Sullivan, Frank Salko, to name a few ) they held to the belief that a good lead trumpet did not want to "stick out" of the section or over-power the band. The traditional players believed that blending the sound of the total trumpet section was more important than the playing of any individual player. This was “legit “players concept of playing with the great orchestra’s of the time.

    The “cream of the crop†players like a Bernie Glow , Jimmy Maxwell, Johnny Frosk, Ernie Royal , Bob McCoy , Joe Ferretti, Dick Perry, Bernie Previn and many others fine players were from that school of thought being taught by the legendary teachers like Del Staigers, Harry Glantz, Schosslberg, Clarke, Wm Vachhianno, George Mager, Dr. Ernest Williams, Lleyenthal. Ray Crisara .The early recording work of the east coast was commercials, radio and early television that all had live bands .Shows like Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, Sid Caesar and The Tonight Show all emanated from the east coast. The trumpet players played the gamut of music on these variety shows from Stravinsky to Pete Rugalo, so this training helped them cover all the styles.

    Most of the road bands of the early 40’s and 50’s also picked up players from the New York area. These players were brought to the commercial field starting after the war in the 40’s using the talents they used in playing radio and TV shows and live acts, they took this same concept to swing and dance music. The trumpet sections of the dance bands of the 40's were tight, disciplined, not overbearing. The same players mixed easily between performing night after night in live ensembles including Broadway and Radio City Music Hall and during the days, the recording studios were packed with these same players. They prided themselves on "never missingâ€, "being prepared" and being a professional team of trumpet players.

    The standard equipment of the day was also very traditional. A Bach 37 or 25 trumpet with either a Bach 5c or 5d mouthpiece (some used the Bach 3’s and 7’s). Not until the late 60’s did Bob Giardinelli help give East Coast player a choice. At the end of Bernie Glow’s life, he was playing the “Bernie Glow “Giardinelli model.

    Here’s some of the players and their equipment in 1980

    Bernie Glow
    Bach 25 LB - Bach 3d mpc
    Johnny Frosk
    Bach 43 - Bach 7d mpc
    Joe Ferrette
    Bach 43 -Bach 6d mpc
    John Glassel
    Bach 37 - Bach 7d mpc
    Jack Morreale
    Bach 37 lt -Bach 3d
    Dick Perry
    Bach 37 , -Giard. 6c
    (Dick Perry was the lead trumpet player on the original Tonight Show )
    Bernie Previn
    Besson Meha -Bach 7d
    Ernie Royal
    Bach 37 -Bach 7d mpc.
    Joe Shepley
    Bach 37 -Giard. 7c mpc.
    Jimmy Maxwell
    Bach 37 – Bach 5B mpc.
    Bob Millikan
    Bach 37 - Giard. 7M
    (Bob Milikan played lead trumpet for the show Chorus Line for it’s entire run, 18 years )
    Marvin Stamm
    Bach 37 - Warburton copy of Bach 7d
    Wilmer Wise
    Bach 72 - Bach 3c mpc.
    Burt Collins
    Bach 37 - Bach 7d mouthpiece
    Phil Fischer
    Bach 37 - 3c mouthpiece
    ( Phil Fischer was first trumpet at Radio City Music Hall for 16 years )
    Wilfred ‘ Bob ‘ Roberts
    Bach 37 - Bach 3c mpc.
    Mel Davis
    Bach 37,43 -bach 5d mpc
    Leo S. Ball
    Bach 72 - Bach 3c mpc
    Doc Cheatham
    Bach 37 lt - Bach 10 3/4 cw mpc
    Lyle " Rusty " Dedrick
    Bach 37 - Bach 7c mpc.
    John Glassel
    Bach 37 - Bach 7d mpc
    Al Maiorca
    Bach 37, - Bach 6A mpc.
    Raymond Mase
    Bach 37, - Bach 3c ( commercial )
    Charlie Miller
    Bach 72 - George Bakur 7C
    Larry Moser
    Bach 37,43 - Giard 7m mpc
    Fernando Pasqualone
    Bach 37 - bach 3d mpc.
    Marky Markowitz
    Bach 37 - Bach 7d mpc

    I know I’m leaving a lot of great players out,( 2 come to mind right now , Snooky Young and Bob McCoy, I know Bob played a Calicchio, but I couldn’t research what piece he used and I know Snooky eventually played a Jet Tone, but couldn’t find what trumpet he used while in New York. I actually have a call in Snooky right now to ask him that dumb question) but I think you get my point on how important ensemble playing was even in the equipment they used. The sound was big, warm , broad what would call today “ the Bach sound “ or “ Dark sound “ , but that was “ the norm “ back 2 decades.

    By the time of the 70's, with the advent of electrified and amplified instruments, this “rock and roll†sound, plus improved recording techniques starting to be part of Radio, TV, Broadway, Commercials and records. Companies and Stars hired young, hip arrangers that started writing trumpet parts that were getting a little higher, longer and tougher. It was evident what was expected from the trumpet players were changing. The new music created concern among trumpet community since many of main session players were getting a little older and were not accustomed to the severity of the parts handed to them to play.

    I remember a story that Bernie Glow told about how, sometime in 1978 , he sat at a record date, fuming at a contractor and conductor when his lead parts for the “ jingle “ were going into the high F#’s and G range take after take. After the last take, he finally yelled at the contractor, “If you needed a Ernie Royal for this job, you should have got Ernie Royal for it and not me; he can do this kind of stuff with one hand".

    It happened to be Bernie’s third recording session of the day and after this one, a Broadway show album would take him until 2:00 am. (They usually hired an additional lead trumpet because at that time, it was recorded live with the cast and orchestra and the sessions could run 6 to 8 hrs. Bernie didn’t want to spend all his energy on this ridiculous high note stuff. )

    About the same time, two guys came to NY that broke the traditional East Coast “ mindset’s “ mold of traditional orchestral training, playing concept and commercial trumpet section and ensemble sound. They were Jon Faddis, a 19 year old, right from Lionel Hampton's band and trained in San Francisco by 2 ex Kenton/ Herman lead trumpet players and Lew Soloff, who had just left Blood, Sweat and Tears and was considered a ‘ Rock and Roll “ player ala Mic Gillette, Bill Atwood, Tom Poole, Lee Loughnane, etc. Jon had not been trained in the conventional classical ways and styles and Lew was Julliard trained but spent most of his early time playing with Blood , Sweat and Tears which differed greatly from most of the playing the other players had be brought up on.

    Because of the tremendous talent of these players and also their great upper register skills, Jon and Lew were given the opportunities to play with the veterans right away keeping the old school philosophy of mentoring the next generation, plus having some real “ muscle “ in the section. Wouldn’t you want Jon Faddis sitting in the section down at the end playing 4th trumpet if you were playing lead and having a off day and needed a little help or maybe you just got handed a “ Chase “ take-off for a Ford commercial. The established players of the day took these guys in (plus Alan Rubin of “Saturday Night Live" fame) and gave them the referrals for the session they were doing. Jon and Lew would sit and play 3rd or 4th on a session and when a “stratospheric†chart would pop up, or a rock chart that needed a contemporary style to it, or a high R and B “riff “that never ended showed up, the lead player would pass this part down to the†young bucks “with the fresh chops and driving style. With the†old school ensemble mentality “still the norm, as long as the section sounded good everyone looked good. The practice of “fresh blood “in on the session, soon gained wide acceptance with the legendary trumpet fraternity.

    The only difference was that Jon and Lew didn’t have that lead trumpet sound that was customary on the New York scene and that’s why the so-called “ East Coast “ sound ( really mindset ) slowly started to change. AS far as equipment goes, that also changed .Jon came to town with a Bill Chase set up of a Schilke B6l-b and a Schilke 6a4a and Lew also used a B6l-b with a Schilke modified 14a4a mouthpiece. In fact, the first B,Sand T’s album was played by Lew on Jon’s Schilke B6l-b. (They happened to be roommates in NY in the 70’s). Lew played all the " Cat Anderson " parts in the movie " The Cotton Club ".

    Slowly the sound that became synonymous with East coast players and their mindset morphed into what is is today. With Broadway shows being a prime employer of trumpet player in NY these days, “Quasi-Legit “should best describe the style and each coast can be as big and bright as each other.

    In the 80’s and 90’s player like Joe Mosello, Danny Cahn, Dave Stahl, Dean Pratt, Russ Konikoff, Glen Drewes, Chris Albert, Byron Stripling . Craig Johnson, Frank Fighero, Dave Trigg Wayne Naus, Joe Giorgianni, Alan Chez, Roger Ingram, Frank Greene, Rich Szabo, Mark Van Clieve, Mac Gollehon , Earl Gardner , Larry Lunetta ,Steve “ Crazyhorns “ Hyde and many others have taken some of the places of the earlier generation, but most have come off the high intensity road bands of Maynard, Rich, Herman, etc, plus the a totally different music scenario taught in the colleges and universities fo Big Band playing plus the advent of a vast selection of trumpets and mouthpieces to choose from has influenced the playing and style that was once dubbed “ East Coast “

    My friend Dave Trigg tells me, the East Coast/ West Coast sound difference is probably now a misnomer because of the great change over the last decades with the newer generation of trumpet players, brought up listening to Maynard, Woody Herman, Chase, and Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Tower of Power, Earth, wind and Fire, Chicago, and are now filling the sections and playing most of the parts (what there is of it) on the east coast.
    It looks like time has eroded this sound/style differential that was the east coast sound, but in part 2 of this saga, the west coast sound and it evolved and how it also changed with time.

    As a closer , here’s a quote from Mel Davis when first meeting Bernie Glow

    Mel: “Bernie, you know, when I first came to New York I’d heard of you knew of you. You had a reputation. The first time I worked with you I was terrible disappointed. There was nothing impressive. You didn’t bowl me over. I couldn’t quite understand what everyone saw in you. It took several weeks of working with you before I finally realized. That is why you have the reputation you do. You don’t bowl people over with your playing. You just make the music sound as good as it sounds. “

    Bernie: “that the biggest compliment anyone could ever pay me “


    Again, thanks for the help of my friend Thevor Also, I’m sorry if I miss-spelled anyone’s name or left anyone out that should be included, it was not intentional. When you right about something like this as soon as you hit the submit button, you remember a person you should have included.

    Also, if someone could please drop me a PM and tell me how to make lists have spaces between tehm. thanks

  2. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    I played in a rehearsal band with Bob McCoy in the late '70s. He had had some health problems and might have switched equipment compared to what he played in his prime (Tonight Show, etc. ) years. Anyway, at that time he was playing on some type of Jet-tone. I remember that Jet-tone used him in their ads as an endorser for a time in the '70s.

    I've wanted to ask bnbtrpt-You are/were basically a west coast kind of lead player. Do you find that your style and sound are changing now that you're working out of NYC?
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Forte User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Larry, thanks so much for the history lesson!

    This should be made into a book and published.

    Keep the stories coming.

  4. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles

    Thank you PH for helping with Bob McCoy. When I met him I believe he was using a schilke mouthpiece, and had just started doing the Yamaha endorsement with Buddy Childers, Walt Johnson and Bobby Shew. The endorsment for 3 or the 4 players was short lived.

    Bob McCoy was a great player and considered, along with Ernie Royal , to be the " High Note " guys intown ( Double C and above ) before Faddis and Soloff came to town.

    One person I forgot to mention is Rick Henly, who is a great player with an incredible sound and technique. When he hit NY, he was playing a Bach 37 lt and a Reeves 41s / 2 mpc.

    Again, everyone please fill in any blanks in the my post. I tried to cover almost 2 decades of trumpet playing in 500 words. Please add to it in any manner you can especially first hand info. that's the best, most accurate and most interesting.


  5. gus

    gus Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Larry I will post something before it is deleted again.

    I sincerely admire your ability to explain the flow of the
    musical scene. Your understanding of the links of Vegas,
    Broadway, Legit, Jazz, Commercial shows that you are
    a great and open minded musician.

    Keep this histories coming.


    PD Sorry for my English
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003

    Thanks Larry!

    Awesome post!

  7. BachMan

    BachMan Pianissimo User

    Dec 9, 2003
    Mr. LG,

    That is one of the most informative posts I have ever read on a trumpet forum.

    Thank you so much for sharing that information.


    -How will the next generation develop?

    -Studio work on both coasts sems to be very limited.

    -The touring bands are gone (some exceptions)

    Now it seems we have people learning how to play these styles of music in schools of music where back in even the 80s while people were going to school :) there were more chances for studio work or to get on a touring band and learn from the masters in the band who could take younger players under their wing.

    show them the ropes...

    and let them develop!

    Is it even possible for a young player to make it in these genres today?

    I guess what I am trying to say is I think the new generations of players will have less of a chance to learn while on the gig like some of the older cats did. There are fewer opportunities and there is alot more learning going on "in school" and less on the job.

    My Thoughts.
  8. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    When I got to NYC in 1970, the Bach 72* was the horn. Almost everyone played one. I know for sure that Ernie Royal played the 72*. Gold-plating was also in vogue.

    Bill Ratzenberger was making Jet-Tones for the guys( He made several for me that I couldn't play.)
    Peppy was making PHD mouthpieces and doing incredible work.
    Peppy's shop was a great place to hang and meet the guys.

    It was like a big happy fraternity in those days.
    Jim and Andy's was the place you could be sure to find most of the heavy weights day and night.
    When I was a newcomer to the scene I spent more time there than at home :lol:
  9. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    I did not play West Side Story on Broadway, I only did the recording with Bernstein conducting.
    Gino Buzzaco was the guy who did the original B'Way run.
    bachstrad72 likes this.
  10. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hello Mr Wise,

    I'm sorry about the mis-credit (I edited it out) Strangly, I actually knew that Gino B. had done the long run as first trumpet with " West Side Story " on Broadway.

    In fact, Gino's Buzzaco’s name came up in a conversation I had with Bob Reeves just 2 weeks ago. We were discussing playing long runs of Broadway shows (because playing†The Producers “was driving me nuts, the pit is under the stage and you watch the conductor on a monitor and we were all starting to act like big kids) and how you lose your concentration after a while. We both mentioned Gino and how he (Gino) had thought that he had lost some of his skills in concentration and sight reading doing the West Side Story for so long. Bob had actually heard the show live. ( His wife is from NY and they were visiting relatives )

    As far as I remember, Gino played a Conn 60b. and was in the Conn book " Conn album of Stars " that Conn put out in the late 60's.

    For everyone else, here's a little history of Mr. Wise:

    Wilmer Wise has performed as soloist with the Phidelphia Symphony playing the Haydn Concerto. He has played with the Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and New York Philharmonic and was solo trumpet with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, plus recordings with Pablo Casals and most of the work of music writer Phillip Glass. ( “ Thin Blue Line “, “ Kundumâ€, “ Glass Works “ )
    He tenure playing trumpet on Broadway includes Gigi, Goodtime Charlie, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Drood, Nine, A Doll’s Life and Assassins to name a few.
    He also did the Purcell trumpet sonata in the film ‘Kramer V Kramer “and, of course, West Side Story. He, along with Rick Henly, played the theme to “Newhour with Jim Lehr “on PBS. He also taught at Princeton, Morgan State Univ. and the Peabody Conservatory.

    Thanks you Mr. Wise for letting me know my error. Trying to cover that great era of trumpet playing and the legendary men associated with it in words cannot truly give it the “ Credit “ and “ Justice “ it deserves.

    I sorry to say, I believe we will never see the likes of it again.


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