Rafael Mendez: The Legacy

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrotherBACH, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

    Oct 5, 2010
    I was having difficulty single tongue fanfare passage and my teacher said that my tongue was sluggish. I discovered that I was doing exactly worst thing possible: striking the back of the teeth as in saying “therapeutic” (Chase, p. 47). I did it as a kid and all during my comeback. I did not know any better. The attacks were always sharp and crisp, so I was happy and until now REALLY over-rated exercises for single-tonguing. I now understand how self-limiting my tonguing is. I now also understand the analogy about the tongue being a valve and just releasing air (not striking anything). I feel like Iam learning tonging from scratch, all over again. I am looking for the most natural “release point” now, which seems to also depend on the range I am playing. What was easy is now hard again.

    With that in mind by pure coincidence I was sampling CDs andf ound “Rafael Mendez: The Legacy”. I have none of his recordings and have basically ignored him until now. I am now playing the CD which arrived Friday and I am just blown away. The CD even includes him playing Arbans exercises for tonguing. His articulation is so beautiful; what an inspiration this man is. I feel like I have been so ignorant.

    patkins likes this.
  2. acarcido

    acarcido Forte User

    Dec 28, 2009
    Ontario, Ca
    BrotherBACH, welcome to the world of Rafael Mendez. I wish I was old enough to have seen him play live. Doc Severinsen even pays homage to him in the yearly Rafael Mendez fastival in Mexico. There are no modern day players that can articulate equally or better. I have always know about him when I was younger but he was already retired. Imagine back in the day seeing Rafael, Maynard, Harry James and Doc all playinging together next to Dizzy, Satchmo, Cat and Clark Terry. I can name so many more too. How awesome would that have been?
    coolerdave likes this.
  3. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Mendez' articulation is the absolute best I have ever heard. His Motto Continuo is impossibly perfect, mind boggling. An inspiration indeed.
  4. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Rafael Mendez was one of the greatest trumpet players who ever lived.

    His technical skills were exceptional and he should be studied by all trumpet players as among the best of all time.

    He was truly a legendary master.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  5. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    MOTO PERPETUO as played by Mendez.
    Moto Perpetuo performed by Rafael Mendez - YouTube
    There are 4 edits in this performance. Mendez's sons have stated he could and did play this without stopping. Due to the astonishing concentration needed and the fatigue it created, he felt for the recording 4 carefully placed edits would leave him some endurance for the rest of the pieces to be recorded that day.
    Where you hear a triangle that seems not to belong, that is where an edit has been done.
    He plays this as fast as some violinists and faster (!) than some others do and if you saw the actual music he used, it would likely blow your mind. This is astonishingly difficult to play.
    coolerdave likes this.
  6. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

    Jun 3, 2009
    western Wyoming
    As I have said in a previous post one of the good things about being 76 years old is that I was able to hear Mendez in his prime (late 1950s) at a performance in Tallahassee, FL. I was also to hear Doc, Al, and others of that same general era... They were all great, but Mendez' perfect articulations, perfect pitch, dynamics, and technical skills would have been hard to improve upon. Recording technology has obviously improved since his heyday but even with mid-century systems his sound and technique come across brilliantly. Still some great Mendez CDs and sheet music available out there..... JA
    coolerdave likes this.
  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    There are many stories of Mendez that give clues to his brilliance ....... My favorite is that, when he was a kid, he used to walk every day up to the top of a nearby mountain and practice up there. Then, he'd walk back down and grill his brother about the sound ..... "Could you hear it? How did it sound? ... etc." He'd be up on the mountain, trying to fill the valley with sound. That's dedication, at a young age.

    coolerdave likes this.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Beyond his technical perfection he was one of the most musical players ever. he alway played with the utmost passion. When I was a budding player I would go"how does hw do that" as I gotten older I hear how passionate he played every piece of music.
    coolerdave likes this.
  9. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY
    I bought a couple of Mendez CD's from David Hickman's outfit. Love them both. Just wonderful and amazing. Youtube has a good little bit also.
  10. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    There are also some trumpet lessons from Mendez on YouTube .... For such a technical wizard, he's an easy going teacher. He taught his two sons to play, and then did some recordings with them.


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