tone question - jazz vs classical

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by vkladchik, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. vkladchik

    vkladchik New Friend

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    So I mentioned to a friend the other day that I picked up the trumpet again after ... 20 years? 25 years? Anyway, his grandfather is a retired French horn player, played with an orchestra professionally his whole life, and when he heard me mention jazz as my motivation for picking up the trumpet, he made a comment that was kind of surprising. He said that jazz trumpeters played jazz because they couldn't play in orchestras. I (politely) inquired what he meant by that, and he said that jazz horn players had such horrible tone that no self-respecting orchestra would let them in.

    My respect for my elders thus tested, I changed the topic, but thinking about it later, I have to (maybe) admit that he might be right (just a little). Miles Davis seems to be the most egregious. He fluffs notes shamelessly. In fact, most trumpet players I think are great don't really seem to be trying to get that perfect "liquid-gold" kind of tone that, say, sax players seem to have (like Stan Getz). Trumpet playing seems a lot more rough and ragged than other instruments in jazz (starting right from Louis Armstrong).

    Why is that? I mean, I doubt it's a lack of ability on the part of the players. Miles went to Julliard, after all. Even Wynton Marsalis seems to be playing two different instruments when he plays jazz and classical - one rough, one a lot cleaner - so it must be even kind of intentional. I can't imagine Wynton delivering a blistering 32nd-note barrage with the same "and the heavens opened up" tone that he uses when he plays Haydn.

    What's going on here?
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the comment is so blatantly stupid that it really does not deserve comment.

    Who is playing in the symphonic soundtracks of any major film? Classical players? Nope, very well rounded Monsters of trumpet that are at home everywhere.

    Tone is not and never will be the deciding factor. There are very many jazz musicians that get along very well in symphony orchestras - and even some symphony players testing the jazz waters.

    What separates the two is their SOUL. A great jazz player has to play jazz, just like a classical player has to do their own thing.

    The classical player focusses on the things that make playing in the orchestra predictable and reliable. They have to satisfy the music director too.

    I do not think that you can compare the two, and the current cut of pro players proves that you can have your cake and eat it too!
     
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    VK,

    Tone is a question of a concept. There is more and more trumpet players today doing both classical and jazz. Some do change equipment, while other don't. The essential is:"Be sure Brain is engaged before putting Mouthpiece in gear"

    Personally I do not believe that Marsalis uses different horns for classical and jazz. However, he changes the sound concept: articulations, vibrato, tone colour, phrasing etc. Hope that this helps.
     
  4. vkladchik

    vkladchik New Friend

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    Ah, so it is intentional, then. I know the old guy (who was introduced to me as "the definition of a crotchety old man") wasn't to be taken seriously, but the comment got me thinking about how different jazz and classical trumpet sound. Are there any other instruments which sound so different in different settings? (Only half-rhetorical.)

    Marc
     
  5. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

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    Wow!
     
  6. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

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    "In fact, most trumpet players I think are great don't really seem to be trying to get that perfect "liquid-gold" kind of tone that, say, sax players seem to have (like Stan Getz)."........say, how many "keys" does your "trumpet" have anyhow?:-?
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Clarinet, saxophone, bass, drums, trombone, violin, cello, voice, just about anything.

    I think many combo jazz players do what they need to, regardless if it sells or not. They are VERY focussed on themselves. The symphonic player has a group around them that also has expectations. Different set of skills and requirements.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    My trumpet has 12 major keys, 36 minor keys and countless modal (found a new one analyzing the Arutjunian the other day).........

    Till Bronners playing is pretty liquid as far as I am concerned. Chris Botti and Scotty Barnhart too!
     
  9. derekkress

    derekkress Pianissimo User

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    Back in my Mcgill days I auditioned for a spot in the orchestra. I overheard Mr Thompson commenting shortly after many excerpts, "there goes that lead player again, but he can play" I got the part since he knew I could adjust and change my tone color for the part.And I did and learned many things thru the process.Playing the trumpet means playing it well and playing it in the style in which you will be performing. Like all players there may come a time when we specialize (lead playing, jazz chair, principal trumpet etc...) but being flexible and all rounded may be the difference between working and not working! Good luck all!
     
  10. vkladchik

    vkladchik New Friend

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    I guess to a certain extent that's true, but it seems particularly noticeable with trumpet, which is probably a testament to its range as an instrument. It can go from angelic ...

    YouTube - Sergei Nakariakov

    to devilish...

    YouTube - Miles Davis: Walkin'
     

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