Those forward jaw "Upstream" cats

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Ever blow on a piece of taught cellophane? Described here:

    Blowing on most types of candy wrappers -- inner foil wrappers, waxed or colored paper and cellophane -- produces a high-pitched, wavering whistle noise. Whistling with a gum wrapper takes a bit of practice, but once you master the technique you can whistle with virtually any thin, flat item to eradicate boredom and annoy your friends and family.

    Read more at: How to Whistle With a Gum Wrapper | How to Whistle With a Gum Wrapper |

    I especially like the term "annoy your friends and family" lol.

    Yeah well for a good candidate for a forward jaw embouchure setting it is almost that easy to play SCREAMING high notes. Just like blowing into the cellophane and driving everyone crazy. Conversely for a lot or most receded jaw setting trumpet players it is quite the challenge to get those notes. Most of us playing receded jaw have to settle for something under that ceiling. I have a decent sounding Double C myself, but it's a real biatch to play it. Consequently I don't use it very often. And don't need to. i suppose no one really "needs" a Double C anyway.

    Here follows a few notes i just scribbled down for the hell of it. Enjoy! and thanks in advance for reading.

    Some of your well known forward jaw players are;

    Cat Anderson

    Doc Severinsen

    Bud Brisbois

    Jon Faddis

    Wayne Bergeron.

    A good photo of Wayne here:

    Showing the upward horn angle peculiar to the forward jaw player.

    Missing from the list and for good reason is Maynard Ferguson. Maynard didn't quite keep his jaw out far enough to be called a forward jaw player. Almost but not quite. I'd say he was sort of on the cusp of the forward jaw setting. Probably at least part of the reason he had such a huge sound.

    And thus lies a reverse condition common to the forward jaw player. These type often don't project the full spectrum of sound resonance in his tone. One might play loud enough (although the setting is known for a lot of "squeak artists" too). However the usual result of the tone is something missing in the partial series.

    Another common feature to forward jaw players is the dry lip setting. Either one or both. Although some receded jaw cats play dry. I heard tell Maynard played with one dry lip. Probably the upper.

    If you listen to enough Maynard Ferguson you'll note that he generally topped at a solid D above Double C. He did play higher but in most instances the effect was more histrionic or showmanship. "Sport trumpet playing" and fun at least for us trumpet players to listen to. His E above Double C near end of "Blue Birdland" on "Live At Jimmy's" is nice and effective. Slurs up to it.

    However Brisbois would have picked the note off clean. No slur, but i always like Maynard better. We do hear Maynard nicely picking off the D above DHC on his "Eli's Coming" off "MF Horn I album.

    What it is is that these forward jaw players who can play that way (most of us can't) are able to CONTROL that soft, fleshy upper lip tissue well. They can hold the smallest of apertures while still keeping the chops soft and vibrant. With these stable, well controlled chops they find it easier to articulate the notes.

    Bobby Shew said of Brisbois:

    "Bud used sort of a combination of this and sort of the Costello thing. Basically Bud played with a real sort of jaw out, sort of bulldog jaw out which is Costello, which appears to be an upstream."

    And :

    Some of the problems that Bud did have was that he never got a really big sound, which is because he was using the Costello pinched aperture thing. He could control the s--t out of it and but couldn't get much sound and it drove him nuts.

    from: ""]

    Conversely on that receded jaw player whom by some miracle can play above a Double C will tend to get a scratchy, hesitant tone.

    It isn't like we all get a real choice. In other words we can't really say to ourselves "I'm going to switch to forward jaw upstream". not unless we have the latent capacity to blow that way.

    Here's Wiki's source on Wayne Bergerons early days;

    "Wayne has said that it was difficult for him to learn the trumpet because he naturally played everything up two octaves. He could play a double high C (C7) before he could play low C (C4/middle C)."

    Wayne Bergeron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This last quote is interesting because it identifies another problem many or most forward jaw trumpet players have: Difficulty in opening up and controlling their lower register.

    For myself I think that in my early days on the trumpet or up until about the tenth grad that i probably played with a more forward jaw. least ways early photos my mom took showed me holding the trumpet angle higher. Then one day while practicing the Carelton Macbeth version of "Louis Maggio's System For Brass" I dropped my jaw to get some pedals. Soon afterwards my upper register blossomed. It wasn't forward jaw easy to scream but it was good High G's and such. So for me it was the opposite direction that helped high note production.

    Who can tell which way the young aspiring trumpet player will eventually blow? I guess that only he can provide that answer. I believe that the criteria lies in the suppleness of the upper lip flesh down low on the lip.

    Anyway I'd like to assure everyone here who struggles for extreme range that the lack of ability to blow easy Double C's probably isn't your fault. Practice may make perfect but natural ability can carry the load almost by itself.

    good luck and again thanks for reading.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that it is safe to say that many will not agree with this. Yes, there are prominent lead players in both camps. Which ones actually know why they have what they have to the point that they can "form" or "reform" another player is another issue all together. All of the truly great players had/have a certain amount of natural talent that helped in a big way. Opportunity is the second most important factor behind natural talent.

    My take is that the extreme upper register simply requires an upper lip that is not squished. If your jaw is not forward, then the trumpet needs to be angled down enough to keep the pressure off. That is not the only requirement, but that part is universal with all players with outstanding high registers. Other things like body use, attitude, musical development, breathing are also important factors, but more universal than the geometry of the face.

    My experience is that players generally look for range before they have a "need" or "concept" for it. This makes the effort often "brainless" and will do more to hurt the player than help. The time of year is coming up where marching band and DCI will bring all of the pedagogical ignorance out again. Players without the foundation getting parts that are not favorable to their personal development. Players with good range being forced to play TOO DAMN LOUD and players with moderate range being forced to play TOO DAMN HIGH.

    I am not an upstream player, have a double C that is not a problem. I only "need it" once or twice a year when I play a big band gig subbing with a group doing some Gordon Goodwin stuff. I don't have a lot of natural talent but got lucky with my teachers.
  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I would like to chime in that my problem (nearing 47 years of age) seems to be more of a ---"being able to hold a small aperture together" --- rather that which way to play. I can have a DHC, but unfortunately it takes about 2-3 hours or practice time each day. That is consistent practice, and seems to be --ON THE EDGE of my abilities, or my physical limitations. In other words practicing that much each day is about the limit of my muscles of my face/embouchure can take -- without going over to the "face wasting" or "muscle fatigue" factor. ON playing my usual 1.5 hours a day -- I am subsequently limited to a decent E above high C --- which is acceptable, BUT I like to play a line or two near the DHC on occasion and pretend I am "Maynard, or Cat Anderson, or Phil Driscoll" --- AT LEAST FOR A FEW LINES -- I can then imagine that if I was younger, I could be an exceptional trumpet player --- so, I don't need anything above high C ---BUT I LIKE TO GO THERE if I can. ANYWAYS, when I put in the hours of time, and play a decent sounding high G, High B, DHC, and occasionally a decent DHD ---it seems to take me to a whole new place of trumpet playing ---------of course, I never had the "boldness" to do that in public -------CAUSE, on any given day --- I just can't guarantee the sound will be good!!!!!!!!! -------who knows perhaps someday -- that could happen -----and that would be very very cool in my life ---------
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    I think it was the impressionist Rich Little who said that if he wanted to sing a High C he had to imitate Pavorotti or some other singer who had one. The Rich himself didn't have the ability to sing so high in his natural voice.
  5. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    I don't necessarily find that jaw forward/receded is effective for range improvement. I DO know that in my case, having my jaw a little forward helps align my lips better (and I've already had braces), so that they sit on the mouthpiece more comfortably, and so that my mechanics work effectively (otherwise, my bottom lip tends to tuck under, and I find aspects of my playing diminish). This is DEFINITELY not the case with everyone because of anatomical/skeletal features, but my point is that for me my jaw placement was found as a result of listening, for sound and flexibility, not range, though that results after proper steps (breath, relaxation) are taken.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
    kingtrumpet likes this.
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    kingtrumpet,there are a lot of different schools of how to obtain a strong upper register. There are those that belive it takes a lot of strength,and hours and hours of practice each and every day to develope this. Then there are those that belive while it does take practice,it is more a matter of coordination and technique. I agree with the latter,and it can be taught.
  7. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    So local 357 it seems like you are saying that if you don't have some natural early ability thatb you'll just never play really high nom matter how much you study and work on it. Is that what you're saying?

    Plus the players you listed may have their jaw forward but they are not up stream players. An up stream player has the horn pointed up from the horizonal line of the face These players play with the horn pointed straight out from the face.

    Plus some of what you say is third even fourth hand information. Such as. Most forward jaw players play dry. Unless you ask them in person or they wrote it down themselves for us to read, it's just gossip and shouldn't be stated as fact.

    Plus while I find the playing of Bergeron, Maynard, Doc, cat, Baptist very exciting. Ther is nsome much,much more to playing music on the trumpet than playing above even high C. I don't know any of the pros I work with that care about playing a double high C. There is just so much more to care about as a mature player.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
    coolerdave likes this.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I CAN'T disagree with you Al -- because I have seen my own "high range" develop where I never had anything above the D above high C. However, it seems that at some point, that (without 2 hours of practice) -- that my "face muscles" are unable to hold the aperture together. Yes, I can get "soft notes" --but when I extrapolate that to play a bit louder --- that is where the lips seem to NOT be able to hold the aperture. Yeah, perhaps anyone can play some soft high notes ---but who doesn't really want them to be triple forte, and in tune???
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    You just renforced what I was saying ,it's technique and coordination,not brute strength. It doesn't take an enormous amount of air or strength to open up the sound in the upper register.If you're blowing your aperture apart,you're trying(blowing) too hard.I've had 10 year old students playing solid E's and F's above high C and they were little kids.
  10. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    Local, that's just freakin' silly! There's just as many downstream players that tilt down instead of up, also cutting off part of the MP cup...Sounds like your jealous to me :lol:
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

Share This Page