Why Cat Anderson's mouthpiece worked for him.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    Lets get down to brass tacks here.
    The fact is, there are those people who are gifted well beyond the rest of us and the rest of us look for the "secret" to doing what they can do and we can't find it. It can be an interesting, but pointless and eventually futile search. Cat Anderson was one of those "gifted" people.
    Yes, these gifted players do work at their craft, but they have that little (or a lot) extra that makes choices much easier for them. Cat Anderson had the remarkable ability to relate his particular need into a mind numbing extreme of a mouthpiece that only HE could imagine, design, and play. Mortals need not apply. Cat did not use that tiny, shallow mouthpiece exclusively either. He used it when the part required it. (Probably most of the time, eh?)
    Player/horn combinations
    Click on the Cat Anderson link for more info and a comment from someone who actually sat in the section with him.
    I rather think that asking why something works for a player is akin to asking why Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Hemingway, and other great writers were able to write so much better than the average writer. Analyzing their writings is fine and fun, but it doesn't mean you'll ever be able to naturally write how they could nor will it give you any real insight to their ability.
    We need to really be thankful Cat Anderson didn't use a huge and deep flugelhorn mouthpiece to produce that incredible high register. I can hear the crying and moaning from high note wannabe's now...

    Rich T
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  2. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

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    The more I practice with anything the better it sounds.
     
  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Cat was the Associate Conductor for the Ice Capades at Madison Square Garden in the 70s when I last worked with him. He was amazing. There was even a feature for him in the show. He played a version of the Soul Train theme that stopped the show every time he played it. Our first show was at about Noon. Cat had been playing in his hotel room since about 0am.
    What was his secret..................... HE PRACTICED.
    Wilmer
     
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    Well uh yeeeaaahhhyes but plenty of trumpet players practice a lot. Most of which get to be pretty damned good too. However very few of them can "sit" on a Triple C as could Cat. Any analysis of of this fact must take into account the extraordinary physical advantage Anderson had. And if we're going to do that the most natural questions to follow are.



    1. What were the parameters of Anderson's chop setting that allowed him to play so high?

    2. Can the average Joe expect to attain this same advantage through an embouchure adjustment or change?

    3. How long would it take for him to make these adjustments successfully?



    I'm not here to answer those questions but to try and figure them out at some point down the line.
     
  5. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

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    Practice. My only hope.
     
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    1.) Cat Anderson was a lot taller and bigger frame than I ---- so he had more AIR to work with
    2.) Local - even if you figure out a WIGGED CHOP SET, and have fun doing it ---- will we all be able to take that and play our full range, EFFORTLESSLY from the low F# to the Triple (or maybe for most of us - even a DHC)???
    just questions I have!!
     
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    I don't know. My estimate is that the person would have to make individual adjustments to the embouchure setting in order to pull off the trick. I would also speculate that there would be a common marked tendency for the practitioner to use the setting in only one specific register.

    I can't speak for the two cats I've heard tell do it (both are fairly well known working pros). But each of these guys is a pretty good high note trumpet player on his own regular chops. Sort of a High A to B Flat type. But when (one of them) REALLY WANTS TO NAIL THE HIGH ONES? He wigs it out.At that point he can articulate accurate running melodic lines at and above Triple C's so loudly that you simply must leave the room or suffer hearing damage. And the lowest musical note he's got on the "wig" is the third ledger line High F.

    Not exactly a practical tessitura to own.

    In fact we don't know if Cat himself employed some variation of a "trick" to do his deal. The fact (and I mean the "fact") that he used a mouthpiece significantly smaller by a divisor of 3 than any other mouthpiece I've ever seen is an indication that he's doing something differently when climbing upwards to the extreme end of the altissimo range. I'm not that great of a high range guy. Not compared to Cat or his type. OK a solid High G, occasional A etc. but even then I'm doing something a little differently while maintaining the same setting from Low F# to the top of what I've got. It's what I call a "reverse polarity of muscle usage".

    There isn't a lot written abt trick settings as I believe most genteel teachers of the horn frown upon the idea (like I care lol).

    But you (KT) are asking the right questions. Meantime be careful about chasing rainbows! Always keep your regular chops solid. These will pay the bills.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  8. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

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    From previous discussions you have said that what works for one person may not work for another. Why would you think what worked for Cat might work for someone else. Wouldn't it be wiser to consider what worked for Maynard, what works for Bergeron, what worked for Killian, Brisbois etc. There might be many entirely different answers
     
  9. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    I sat next to Cat........ He didn't use any tricks! Check any of the many videos of Cat.....no tricks!
     
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I agree with Wilmer. It's no real secret. His methods book gives you the route to how to do this. I posted the link a few posts back. Look at it. It is not in-humane and it makes sense. But to achieve this, you must practice this. And yes, endurance will take hours a day to get there. Look at his warm up... He recommends you play a long tone G for 20 minutes alone... Also note... he recommends specific rest times in between assignments.
     

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