Why Cat Anderson's mouthpiece worked for him.

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

  1. peanuts56

    peanuts56 Pianissimo User

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    Well put, Wiseone. Cat could have played a garden hose and still sound good. He obviously put in the time and continued to practice diligently.
    I heard Doc last week and at 85 he still is a monster. Doc is well known for his dedicated practice routine, lot's of long tones, soft playing slurs, etc. It's boring as hell but it's also the secret. The only trick or secret is patience. Cat obviously knew that as Doc still does.
     
  2. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

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    The videos I have seen show him making it look effortless. There was hardly any physical change in his face when he played.
     
  3. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  4. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    It is a fun link to read and since much of the info comes from the players themselves, what they say is accurate.
    Rich T.
     
  5. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    From the external features what you say is probably true. We just don't know what he did on the INSIDE though. I'm suggesting that he may have shifted to a muscle usage far different from what he did below some given note like the High C. That the severe small/shallowness of his mouthpiece is possibly/probably indicative of some other kind of musculature usage far different from what he did down below.

    And I've mentioned this from my own playing: That the mouthpiece stays on my lips the same way from Low F# to the High A (about all I've got) but the "shift" occurs above the staff. Where I'm reversing the direction my chops push previously down low. In general I don't use the "shift" except to play very loud high notes. Ones that "scream". If I stay in lower register chop usage I can still hit the High A but can't really put a whole heck of a lot on it.

    It's more something I can hear in Cat's playing rather than explain or define.

    I'm gonna bet that more than a few trumpet players here with decent register have found some kind of "shift" to the upper register too. When I found mine I was about 15 years old or so. After experimenting with some pedal tones and trombone doubling I "shifted" and blew w/extra air support and these amazing High F's and G's started pouring out the horn. At first thought I was "cheating" or doing something wrong And the notes didn't connect all that well w/the lower register the first six months or so. But then gradually the notes started to to seam well into the whole framework of my register. Then over the years I completely forgot about this initial high note "shift". At least up until screwing around with other alternative chop settings. And THAT is when it dawned on me:

    The upper register may indeed require a reversed chop motion in order to sound. In some cases this "reversed motion" can be maintained inside the existing parameters of the ordinary embouchure. in other cases not so.

    So we see these two cats (I'm dying to mention their names but won't post on the open forum) who re-set their mouthpiece on a radically rolled out lower lip and pierce the air with paint peeling Triple C's.

    Cat however apparently didn't need to change the position of the mouthpiece on his lips in order to pull the thang off. He did however use that weirded out mouthpiece. And within that fact may lie some clues as to how he did it.

    And how the rest of use mere mortals might pull off the same game. Possibly anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  6. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    I dont see a trick here in this video... just seemingly un-stressed power. Looks like he is wondering what's on the hotel buffet tonight!
    start at 3:40 to 3:50... loop it 10-20 times and bask in the awesomeness!

    It's a High C, Db (3rd valve), Eb, F, then a nice gliss up to the DHC.

    Duke Ellington - Germany '59 6/7 [Cat Anderson's "El Gato"] - YouTube
     
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    Thanks jiarby. I've always liked that clip.

    I'm not talking about a visible trick. Am mentioning that there is some kind of reversed or different muscle usage from the inside.

    Whereas a pair of outstanding, current trumpet players employ a visible "trick" to attain the DHC to THC register Cat did not not have to make such a physically observable adjustment. However in either case they did find access to the altissimo register.

    In the case of the two wig setting players they found it by the weirded rolled out lower lip "Wig" setting. As for Cat? he found it by the miniscule mouthpiece.


    The resolution of this video isn't good enough to tell if this trumpet player is actually rolling out to do the "Wig" but I am told on good authority that he does. here:

    Steve Reid Trumpet high notes #1 - YouTube

    In any case there is some kind of odd manipulation of the inside chop workings going on. It is not a technique the average trumpet player can expect to make on his existing chop setting. There has to be (in addition to plenty of practice and perseverance) some kind of natural luck or successful experimentation to do the trick.


    In my own case I have screwed around with 2 alternative chop settings and can actually play the triple notes in practice. However each has liabilities. One doesn't articulate well. On the other, which is the "wig" the chops tend to feel like they will pop out of the mouthpiece at any time. Hence the reason I'm itching to find a m/piece similar to Cat's.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  8. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

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    Rashawn Ross seems to me to be doing it closest to the way Cat did.
     
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

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    Yes isn't it disgusting? (said w/envy)

    In both cases Cat & Ross I'm seeing these huge, soft lips common to African American people that seem to be able to hold a small aperture while maintaining a very pliable surface.

    This is what the "wig" attempts to do. Gives the average Joe that soft lip flesh in such a way as to keep things vibrant although very small in aperture. As a matter of fact we see Jon Faddis, another African American pulling it off too.
     
  10. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

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    Love that video. He is almost looks bored while playing. I would say it looks effortless, but we all know that years of private effort when into that performance.
     

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