"Modern" trumpet playing (commercial/jazz)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by connloyalist, May 22, 2006.

  1. connloyalist

    connloyalist Pianissimo User

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    I went to the "Trumpet Party 2006" yesterday, held each year in Noordwijk (the Netherlands). It features a big band and a host of professional trumpet players as featured artists with the big band backing them up. Or the trumpet section of some famous band or orchestra backed up by the band. I attended with a trumpet playing friend and had a pretty good time.

    However. I did notice on thing: almost all the trumpeters there come in one of two categories: "screamers" and "how many different valve combinations can you press in a given amount of time". In my very humble opinion, the screamers are great... for about 15 minutes after which it gets kinda old. The fast valve stuff, flying up and down the scales at 100 mph in a jazz setting just isn't my thing. Whatever happened to the lyrical stuff?

    Two of yesterday's performances stick out in my mind as being good: First, a (Belgian) classical cornetist, "old school" variety like 100 years ago. Yes, this too was virtuoso stuff, but in a classical context. Very good, the audience loved it. Second, a duet which had been written for Pete and Conte Condoli. Yes, this eventually strayed into a little screaming and fast doodling, but overall not bad.

    I guess this is modern trumpet playing: I can either play higher than you or faster than you. Am I the only one who misses the likes of Harry James or Herb Alpert?

    Regards, Christine'
     
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Christine wrote:
    Christine,

    I could not agree with you more!
    I do not like the way big band has shifted, they have everybody playing as high as they can. This seems to be what kids think trumpet playing is all about.

    One of the reasons I like our swing band so much is that we play transcriptions of the great bands of the 30's & 40's. Harry James, Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, Chicl Webb, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, etc. The se bands played very lyrically and the soloists all played melodic solos. Very little screaming. The highest notes I have to play are G's and there are very few of those. A lot of F's though.

    We had a fellow playing the jazz book, (2nd trumpet, out of three books) He wanted to be Maynard. At the end of every tune, he found it neccesary to "cap" me. Whatever note I played as lead, he would go above it. We finally told him stop or you're out. We fired him. We have a guy now, who is a very young 63, with tons of taste. Bill Hart, he played with the Dorsey band under Sam Donohue. He can and does play very lyrically, so much so that I really have to pay attention during his solos or I will miss my entrances. It is a plaesure to play with someone who knows how to play to the style of the music.

    Anyway, I agree with you, LEARN to p;ay MUSIC!

    -cw-
     
  3. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

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    May 21, 2006
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    Ay, there's the rub. Taste, creativity, beauty, artistry, the good stuff happens when people of like mind listen to each other and try to come up with a sum greater than the parts. Trumpeters can be competetive but so can violinists and pianists too, it's not just us.

    Michael McLaughlin

    "A man is incomplete before he's married, and after that he's finished." Mark Twain
     
  4. connloyalist

    connloyalist Pianissimo User

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    And on a similar note (and yes, this is a gripe :x ): Could someone please explain to me why many bands feel the need to be amplified when playing an indoor venue, even when it isn't cavernous? Something like a theater....

    Are the accoustics in modern theaters that poor? (actually, yes, I know a theater with terrible accoustics for band performance). Is it something about the dynamic range of modern wind instruments? Or performers? Or perhaps the different sections in a band aren't balanced, volume wise? There is an easy solution to that with resorting to amplification, I feel.

    Also, I feel that when listening to an unamplified band/performer I am much more "connected". One of the reasons I think the Belgian cornetist I was talking about was so well received, by me at least, was not only his virtuoso performance but also because he did it un-amplified. Much nicer to listen to.

    So what if a band can't be heard more than 100 feet away? Unamplified it will sound much more natural.

    OK, sorry. End gripe.

    Regards, Christine
     
  5. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

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    I'd have to agree with Chuck on this one...

    Screamin' has it's place but I far perfer lyrical content with pleasent tone over that.

    I guess it is what it is..

    Christine....

    I certainly do miss Herb Alpert and the TJB...! I love that type of playing. Louis Armstrong.... Ahhhh the good ole' days.. ;-)
     
  6. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

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    From your description,it's evident to me that none of those players were
    under the tutelage of Benny Bailey.
    Benny passed away last year and had made his home in the Netherlands where he was also a fixture for many years.
    Had the pleasure in exchanging pleasantries during his visit to Pittsburgh,Pa in 2004.
     
  7. Joe DiMonte

    Joe DiMonte Mezzo Forte User

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  8. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi,

    Christine I'm with you!!

    The pyrotechnic stuff is entertaining for a bit, I guess those who can do and that's great. I admire that ability, dedication and sheer ego.

    However, I must have heard and played the Bobby Hackett solo in String of Pearls 1000 times and still think it's perfect. Why can't I come up with something that appropriate?


    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  9. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    Saint Paul, MN

    From a cynical point of view "higher, faster louder" at least in the US is what puts butts in seats.

    My dad and I have wondered the same thing about amplification, and how could Jolson do a 2+ hour show with no amplification in a good sized theater, and against a full orchestra.
     
  10. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Christine wrote:
    Uh oh...

    A MAJOR complaint with me also.

    I play in one big band that mics every member. Yes, even the brass all have their own mics. On top of that the sound man is next to incompetent.
    He is not a big band guy, but he makes all the gigs and helps with the set up and tear down...so he is in.

    He has no idea of where solos are, even after MANY performances, therefore, we all know for example, that the first 3 or 4 bars of my trumpet solo on Take The A Train, played with a harmon, no stem, will not be heard.

    The drummer, in a big band has 5 microphones!!!!!!! Bass drum, under each tom and 2 over head, this is in a big band!

    I complained once that I did not sound good on an out front solo. I had to play toward the vocalist's microphone. I went and looked at the board afterward and the singer's mic is heavy toward the bass setting with very little highs. No wonder I sounded so bad. I checked the three trumpet mic settings and they were not even close to each other in the highs and lows and mid-range settings. How can the section sound good when the members are not even miced the same???

    It is a real problem with big band. I showed the lader of that group mnay pictures of the big bands and their set ups at gigs in th 30's and 40's. Often one mic for the trumpets, one for the bones and two or three in front of the sax section. And these guys would play in huge rooms with thousands of prople!

    Oh well, a long rant, but I agree...there is way too much use of microphone on a big band.

    -cw-
     

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