Tips on more big band lead playing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

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    No problem with playing Lead too soft over here! But there's also too loud!

    Being that I have always been extremely loud in the upper-register, I actually try to make a very conscious effort to fit the top note in with the chord, instead of drowning it out- which (drowning out the band) most of the time drives band leaders CRAZY!!!!

    This even counts when you're way up! I still try to fit Double Bb above High C, up to Double C above High C (which is just about the top of my register), into the chord. I mean, really, they're easier to adjust because the harmonics are so close together up there- if need be.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't understand the concept. We are not talking about coming in early, we are talking about a very sharp edge on the leading side of the big, brassy chords. It is more like the difference between a samurai sword and a pocket knife than early and late. You really have to be able to do it before commenting.
     
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    What about slightly hanging over on that last note G above high C. Says yeah, I got it! :) Followed by a dirty look from the leader.
     
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  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    I think that the projection of the second, third and fourth parts are more the responsibility of these players than the lead cutting his volume. At least in commercial big band and loud R & B work.

    On those rare times I'm playing second I try to play even louder than the lead player. He will usually appreciate this. Makes his tone blend better. The whole trumpet section acting like a one piece unit.

    An ideal big band trumpet section would be composed of four to five very capable lead players.

    This isn't true of pit orchestras and concert bands. Here the first chair does need to hold back more.
     
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Well, rowuk, then I'm confused, because the OP listed this:

    3. Hitting the first note of a phrase just a hair early.

    And later, continues his explanation, "If you play the first high note slightly early . . . "

    Not being argumentative. I'm just not sure there's any other way to read that than "early".
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    As you obviously haven't done this, just believe me that the early he was talking about is a shade of color for the chords, not a groove breaking lack of timing. EVERY experienced lead player knows what this is about. Those that discuss hitting notes have no idea how this works.
     
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    OK. The topic of this thread is Tips on Lead Playing and I would guess that the OP's intention was for some of us less experienced forum members to benefit from your, and others', experience. Unlocking the code to what's underneath your language so that we could understand it and learn from it would be really useful and appreciated. Some of us don't know what we don't know, but that doesn't mean we can't learn. :-)
     
  8. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

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    Its a rare occasion I completely agree with Robin...But here he's absolutely correct. You hit the front end of the notes in a shout chorus and bring the rest of the parts through like a freight train following your locomotive.

    Its being an extrovert to the Nth degree...

    A little better explanation I hope?

    But, really you have to do it...There is nothing like playing lead when you're in the zone, just bringing it with energy like rocket-ship; taking a held High D and feeling so good you just naturally rip it right up another 8va, or start it trilling into the next G above high C...It feels awesome. You're not even thinking about it, you're just doing it- and sometimes you're the most surprised person in the room when you're done! When you were the front car on the roller-coaster!

    PS: and I discuss hitting high notes :-P
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    I think it's just a lot safer to hit the first note of a lead phrase a hair early. And with plenty of heat on the note so long as there's some kind of "forte" marking on it.

    My biggest fear as a lead player is being defined by the others as "too mild". That hasn't happened in a long time.

    It was about three years ago and I was playing my first gig with a local and well established big band. Decided that I was going to hammer the whole first set at about one marking louder than indicated. Making sure that the band knew the new lead player had control of things. The way a mountain lion marks his territory. Very similar actually lol. So if it was marked mezzo forte? I'd play forte. Forte? Two FF's and so on. At the end of the first set the dancers and audience applauded loudly but with one exception:

    A couple on the dance floor exclaimed that "the trumpets are too loud"

    Which really meant that IN THEIR OPINION I "Was too loud".

    Concerned, I decided to play the second set at the written volume. No more and no less. At the end of that set the leader and female vocalist said to the trumpets:

    "Where were you guys"? Meaning that we didn't seem loud enough to her.

    From that time on I decided to follow my own instincts on loud playing. And that if a few people thought that "the trumpets are a little loud" ???

    Means I've got the volume just about right.


    Here's another tale I love to tell. Funny as hell. To me anyway.

    Last year I got a review from another trumpet player that I "played too loud" or was advocating that other lead trumpet players play too loudly. He posted it all over the internet. At the time I didn't think much of it. Besides to me being accused of overly loud lead playing is just good advertising. Like saying the center for the Lakers is too tall.

    Anyway i ignored the remark until I realized that the cat who made it was a lead player for another local band. One that I have occasionally subbed for. AND...

    Then suddenly it dawned on me that just the week before I'd accidentally run into him playing the lead chair at a free outdoor concert. Here's the killer, the part that makes me laugh my ass off.

    You couldn't hear him well enough! He seemed to be getting the notes right but it didn't matter. As he was only playing with the volume of say the second or third trumpet player.

    Some trumpet players have trouble developing volume and endurance on the lead. Or all the other parts as well. A jealous and defensive lot they sometimes take it out on their peers. The ones who truly can peal paint.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    So you guys are talking about anticipating the note a hair, but also with an attitude, which is very important - would that be right?
     

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