Is the cornet a possible big band lead instrument? It's doable though probably not a first choice. Seems to have some applications though.
For several years now I've brought one on along on every gig. For when the lead stays at or below High C. OK maybe a few E's and F's but nothing substantial up in the ledger lines. When the really high charts came around? I'd use my trumpet. The idea being to get a bigger sound between Third Space C and High C by switching to cornet. To mitigate some of that middle register small mouthpiece edge common to the screamer pieces I usually leave in my trumpet. In fact I could go with a piece nearly as shallow as one of my lead trumpet pieces and get a sound (from the cornet) similar to putting a 3C in my trumpet. So the idea has practical applications. If I can get a big tone without going too deep in the mouthpieec? Saves a lot of energy.
Then this weekend I had a gig that involved a lot of walking and bus travel just to get to the job. Not possessing a multiple instrument gig bag I decided to bring just the cornet. Easier to carry. All it was was a brief four tune rehearsal band showcase. Something I'd gotten conned into doing and had no diplomatic way to get out of. As there were only four charts and maybe just a half dozen high F's I figured it would save more energy to blast them out on the cornet. If it's only a few songs? My ego told me ""you can play lead on a Schilke 22 for just four songs".
Interesting thing was that no one noticed a different sound from the trumpet section. I liked the over all tone better. In fact in some ways the High F's were easier because with a mouthpiece that isn't way shallow (as I usually use) accuracy at high volume is better. At least at the beginning of the gig. Again just played the four charts. I can do that standing on my head...
So I dug the tone. Problems? I had trouble getting a truly big sound in the tutti sections. It was still loud enough but a tad short of the dominance I normally like to put out. I had to really "work" the FF sections. I know when I'm blowing full out because no more air will move through the horn beyond what i'm capable of blowing. Hitting "The Wall"...
However when in the loudest tutti sections the cornet tone was still plenty audible from behind the instrument. Spreading laterally out end of the horn and/or off the music stand. Not a lot of trumpet players can do this mind you (caution: brag share coming). I know a few local cats who have easier high notes than me (not many) but theirs will not be heard over the top of a band playing in a loud chorus. Mine will. Guarantee it... (end brag share)
It was harder to get this to happen last night. The cornet "maxed out" more often.
"Maxed out" being the absolute top limit of volume possible to blow on an instrument. Usually i won't completely max out on the trumpet except in a rock and roll band and even then not too often.
Jeez that cornet is a sweet tone though. And in a way that is almost another problem too but not in the upper register. The problem is that the lower middle tone can be almost too candy sweet. I'll have to work on that. Maybe bring an even deeper mouthpiece for those accents.
Over all it was time well spent. It's all about getting the best tone with he least amount of work. And compromising as little as possible of either.
I'd say that if I could find one with better volume and similar tone/response? It would be the perfect horn. I heard a special tone coming from my cornet last night that I'd often looked for on my trumpet and yet so far had found impossible.