Month: May 2011
My friend Alan Greene, who plays with me in the Asheville Jazz Orchestra, told me about a great YouTube channel by “bobilleg74.” Bob has has 29 uploads of jazz trombone solos and his transcriptions of them. There are a handful of solos I’ve already done and several I’ve not heard before. There are also a few he’s done that were solos I’ve been thinking about transcribing myself.
While it’s tempting to just learn the solos from Bob’s transcriptions (and I’m sure I’ll end up just stealing a lick or three this way), I’m still planning on working on some of those transcriptions myself at a later date. The benefit from transcribing isn’t just learning what notes and rhythms a great soloist improvised, but training your ear and learning the style through focused and repeated listening. It’s neat to then compare what you came up with to someone else’s transcription.
Check out this great resource here.
Tomorrow night, Friday May 27 2011, I’ll be performing again with the Asheville Jazz Orchestra. We’re teaming up with Asheville High School’s Tri-M chapter to raise funds for Mission’s Children Hospital in Asheville, NC. The Asheville High School Jazz Ensemble will open the concert at 7 PM and the AJO is the featured guest.
The concert will be held at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Asheville. If you’re in western North Carolina and are looking for some live big band jazz, stop on by and support a good cause. Be sure to say hello to me after the show!
Hank stopped by to ask a question I’ve also had to personally deal with.
I’ve found that the only way I can get the sensation of “embouchure motion“, i.e. the MP/embouchure/jaw `tracking’ along the teeth foundation either for ascending or descending, is on a so-called `dry’ set up. If I try a `wet’ set up the MP tends to slip down onto the red part of top lip in stead of the whole assembly moving/tracking. Thanks, Comments?
This is actually a pretty common issue for some players, particularly those who belong to the Low Placement embouchure type, but also sometimes Medium High Placement players as well. These types both have an embouchure motion to pull the mouthpiece and lips together down to ascend. When the lips feel slippery, sometimes the mouthpiece placement will slide on the lips to a lower placement like Hank describes.
First of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with placing the mouthpiece so the rim sits on the red of the upper lips, in spite of what many teachers and players believe. My own embouchure, shown at the right, has the rim right on the red of my upper lip. This just happens to be where it works best for me, and is a quite a bit lower than most Low Placement embouchure types I’ve seen. Perhaps the reason your mouthpiece wants to slide down there is because that’s where it works best. Try it out and see what happens. But without watching you play in person, that’s just a wild guess. Caveat emptor.
I did mention above that I’ve dealt with this issue myself, though. As you can note from the photo, if my top lip starts to slide up it goes right off the rim, so I have to be careful. I’ve tried a few different things, all of which help to a certain degree. Here they are, in no particular order. Continue reading Embouchure Question: Top Lip Slipping Out Of Mouthpiece
Speaking of band leading, I’m directing the Asheville Jazz Orchestra tonight at 8 PM at the White Horse Black Mountain. Cover charge is $12. Stop by and say hello if you’re in the area. Now, on to the Repentant Band Leader.
The Repentant Band Leader
And so it came to pass, during one date, that the Sidemen were assailed by Doubts, and Darkness descended upon the Bandstand. And the Leader turned to his quaking flock and saith, “My children, why Doest thou doubt me? Have I not led you through the Valley of the Loading Dock to the Great Land of Long Breaks, Hot Meals, and Undertime?
“Have I not banished the dreaded Macarena from the Set List and allowed thee to Blow on selected numbers? Do we not play the Correct Changes for the Bridge of Girl From Ipanema? And do we not play Motown selections at the Proper Tempos? And do I not pay you all equitably, neither overpaying the Chick Singers, nor underpaying the Horn Players? And are there not Charts for the Horns, so that thou need no Fake Parts? So why doth thou protest when I call The Willie Nelson Song, or The Jack son 5 Ballad? Are they not preferable to Achey Breaky Heart or anything by Celine Dion? Wouldst thou rather suffer Flung Beverage Containers or Scowls and Hectoring by the Aunts and Uncles?”
And the Sidemen answered him. “But Father, we look out into the Dance Floor, and we see The Maelstrom. We fear the Youngsters with Pierced Body Parts, as well as the Ancient Ones with Canes and Walkers. Also do we fear the Bridesmaids with the Large Hair and the Groomsmen with Cigars and Dishevelled Tuxedos. Also do we fear the Relatives from the Great Southwest, as well as those from California , and from New York . Also do we regard with Fear and Loathing the Party Planner, and the Room Captain. But mostly do we fear the Bride and Her Mother, who ruleth the Earth, yea, even above you, our Leader.”
And the Leader looked and saw that this was true. And he took his Book and he flung it into the Buffet Heaters. And he took his Baton and he broke it over his knee. And he took his Red Bow Tie and he rent it asunder. And he turned to the Party Planner and he said, “Now you have no power over me, Minion of Evil!”
And he turned to the Room Captain and he said, “I will leave by the Lobby Entrance.”
And he turned to the Bride and said, “Take thy Whitney Houston CD and place it where thy Groom may find it during your Honeymoon.”
And he turned to the Bride’s Mother and said, “Thy Daughter is a Spoiled Brat and I hope that she soon Divorces her Callow Husband and returneth to live with thee with her three children for the rest of thy Natural Life.”
And he turned to the drummer and said, “The band is yours.” And he went home and slept deeply and soundly and arose the next day smiling and began making calls to find work as a Sideman.
Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Now that the semester is finally over and grades have been done I plan to get back to some regular updates, starting with another question from the internet. Kevin writes:
Hi my name is Kevin and iv’e been playing trombone for 5 years now. I am currently a junior in high school. Ever since i started playing, i have always used more mouthpiece pressure than one would normal use. Every time i finish practicing, i always get the “pressure ring” round my lips. I really don’t know how i can break this bad habit.
First, don’t worry about a red mark where you place the mouthpiece, it doesn’t mean anything. Players with fairer skin will get more of a red mark. Some players just get it more than others. It’s certainly not an accurate judge of mouthpiece pressure.
Speaking of mouthpiece pressure, I don’t know for sure that you’re using too much pressure or not. Continue reading Embouchure Questions: Mouthpiece Pressure and Lip Ratio