Hi folks --
I have been up to my eyes with work but I wanted to mention the hip and
heavy Northern Brass TrumpetFest hosted by Bruce Lee and Trent Austin
last week near Boston.
Bruce had an array of premium horns (Lawler, Eclipse, Callet, and
others) and the GR and Northern Brass mouthpiece lines.
Trent gave a concert with a jazz trio (bass/drums/tpt) and gave a
superbly informed improvisation clinic.
Some of my impressions:
I went to the Fest with some real questions. My attacks had been giving
me trouble, although I've been practicing more and am much stronger in
other ways as a player. But, the attack is SOOO important. At first
Bruce just let me doodle around and find the right size. He is a
marvelous, low-key, helpful consultant. But when I asked some specific
questions, about WHY a certain mpc/tpt played and responded a certain
way, he surprised me by instead telling me why it responded that way for
ME, with MY setup and MY chops and MY habits.
He is a good consultant for equipment, but probably a great teacher.
(He's obviously an excellent player too).
Trent's concert and his development as a soloist defy standard
description. His facility over the horn and the harmonies are so
thorough that one immediately relaxes and stops listening for "trumpet"
and starts listening for "music." Though he might interrupt that
process with the occasional "how did he do that?" from a mortal trumpet
player like me. Playing in a demanding format (the trio sans piano)
and, what's more, playing "Giant Steps" with just the drummer and then
"Joy Spring" unaccompanied, this was one of the best jazz trumpet
performances I've seen all year. He blazed fast lines and he burnished
slow melodies. His inside/outside playing reminds me of Woody Shaw, and
his playful melodicism and dark singing tone make one think of Jack
Sheldon a bit. All with more than a dash of Clark Terry and Clifford
Trent has all the ingredients.
He is also a first-rate clinician, discussing and demonstrating chordal
and scalar notions so important to playing jazz.
We're lucky to have such generous and helpful folks...