How High Is High Enough?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by FreshBrewed, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. FlugelFlyer

    FlugelFlyer Piano User

    Dec 15, 2003
    Palos Park, IL
    Here's another angle to look at it from if you're thinking like a lead player. A lost talent is to be able to knock someone off their feet with a simple G or high D above the staff. There are people out there I call "high note clowns" who's double D's sound as good as their low C's, yet the sound is very stiff and brittle, and they're not able to do much else. In addition, their high notes can be very volatile, basically a hit-and-miss game. Then I know lead players who are good up to the occasional second G above the staff, yet their first A above the staff is enough to blow a hole through the wall and it's there every time. Playing like this generally requires larger equipment (keyword: generally), but it's no more demanding chop-wise than playing like my high note clown description, just requires more air which is no problem for someone with decent cardiovascular endurance, in other words not about to hit the floor with a heart-attack every time they stand up. Right now, I'm working on playing lead on a 7C (though lead, what little I do, is only one of my *cough* limited talents) and I'm good right now up to a high E and occasional F before my sound thins out, but I take pride in the fact that the notes below that are powerful enough to make people's hairs stand on end. When you're barely talented enough not to burn a frozen pizza in the microwave, you have to take to pride little things like that :wink: .

  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    In my humble opinion I would say never stop climbing. In all the lead books I've played you must have a consistent F/G. Sure, every now and then there are double C's and whatnot and usually these notes are bracketed as an option note. In our present day we have highnote "screamers" and lead players as Chet alluded to earlier... I think if you truly want to "own" that register then you gotta be able to play that note loud, soft, short, long, ascending to it, right on it, etc... The best way to do that is to hit it every day with scales, methods, leaps, etc. All this has already been said in previous posts. I'm just summarizing.

    There is also way more to becoming a respected lead player than "being able to hit the notes". Ya gotta swing, have the style downpat. One of the biggest problems I notice today is that ya need to be great at sightreading. You need to lay down a chart the first time you see it cause as a lead player the rest of the band is following you and the rhytmn section for it's cues, lead ins, dynamics, style, etc. You also need a good ear. Go get tons of recordings and listen to the pros do their stuff. Find your own voice. Above all, always practice. Last thing, don't be a #$% and depend on a mic for volume... one of my pet peeves.

    One day I hope I'll be able to audition/win a lead gig. Until then, I just gotta graduate college! LOL. Take care all.

    Tim a.k.a "The Bear"
  3. dHoff

    dHoff Pianissimo User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    High, Fast, Low, Slow, Just make it beautiful

    Personally, I listen to a ton of music and I have come to the conclusion that I don't give a rat's --- how high a guy can play. I am not impressed by athleticism. Make a beautiful sound and I'll listen to you all day.

    So how high? High enough to play the part in front of you with tone that represents the beauty of our instrument.

    I love the suggestions of so many talented players on these pages. I have listened to so many people squeeze out high notes that sound like they have been forced through a straw.

    Play fast enough for your part and high enough and low enough. But let every note be a full and rich expression of you.

    Show offs are boring!
  4. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Just an update on this situation with me. I've been playing in a university big band here the last month and a half. I've butted heads with the big band leader a few times on style issues. Of course, he is twice my age and has run the big band for years but he doesn't really listen to big band music. I brought in some recordings of the stuff we are playing and had the band just listen to them. It's amazing what listening can do for a bunch of young impressionable players. Some of them now understand why I do some of the things I do when I'm playing the lead book. I have burned tons of music for the trumpet section to listen to and they love it. I couldn't believe that in their studies of music, jazz had pretty much been left out in the cold when it came to their instructor teaching styles.

    My recent resurgence on trumpet has really been a listening and learning adventure. As previously stated by someone, musicality is the priority. I've worked on the range but rarely use it. I do, however, have that G or F if the music calls for it. So I have decided that those notes are high enough for what I do and will work to keep them and maybe a little more if needed. My sound and musicality seem to have made much more of an impression than my G on these university students. Thanks to everyone for all of your comments on this subject.
  5. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.
    Mike, that's a very inspiring post. Listening BIG TIME to great muscians and adding their approach to your way of playing is a great way to develop. Big Band music has changed so much in the last generation that you really need to work hard to keep up. I'm listening a lot to the latest Kim Richmond CD, it takes some time to get into all the complex colors but it's a step forward for Jazz Ensemble.

    Lead players like George Graham, Lou Soloff, Rick Baptist, Byron Stripling, Wayne Bergeron, Jon Faddis, all have such interesting ways to make a big band sound a certain way. Personality still plays a big part in Lead Trumpet Playing!

    It's the style and musicianship not the athleticism that sets them apart.

    Of course, they do have big.......CHOPS!!!

    I heard the last gig Milt Jackson did in N.Y. with Clayton-Hamilton at the Village Vanguard. John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton played along with John's brother playing lead alto but the rest of the band was N.Y. cats. Byron Stripling was there playing Lead, and he'd done the record of course. But dig the rest of the section. Faddis, Soloff and Randy Brecker. When I saw the section I wondered how it would sure did! Byron was perfect and Faddis on 2nd followed so well, sounded like one guy! Soloff and Brecker played 3rd and 4th, solos. All parts were perfect, no style or balance problems, pitch, trouble just a swingin night!

    What a gig! Milt was really up for it and I think he passed not long after. We had heard the L.A. Band at IAJE a few months before, that band may have been tighter but this was really happening. Solos from all were world class.

    Point about the section, everybody was a world class musician.

    No one was trying to play higher than anybody else, just make the best musical statement possible. Brecker played his butt off!

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