First, sorry for the lack of regular updates lately. As things so often go, I got slammed with grading and class prepping and then wanted to unplug for a bit. I hope all the U.S. readers had a pleasant Thanksgiving.
Today I’m going to try to guess Bob McChesney’s embouchure type. McChesney is a fantastic trombonist (as you’ll hear in these videos) and also the author of a very popular book on the jazz trombone technique of doodle tonguing. Here is McChesney playing one of the parts for his arrangement on I Love You. As you watch, see if you can guess which of the three basic embouchure types he is.
This video is hard to get a clear enough look so I’m not completely certain. His mouthpiece placement seems to be mostly top lip, almost definitely downstream. Looking for his embouchure motion is also a little hard to see because he moves his head around just enough while he plays that it’s sometimes hard to follow it while he plays. Still, there are a few times when he plays large enough intervals that I *think* I see him pushing up to ascend and pulling down to descend. So my best guess is Very High Placement.
In case you’re curious as to why McChesney mentions that he’s playing a “live version” it probably has to do with some of the comments about his recorded version below.
What an outrageous chart! McChesney also plays so perfectly on this recording that some people were certain it was fake. One commenter correctly, I think, pointed out that at lot of what makes this sound fake is that it’s the same player on all the parts and it doesn’t sound natural because of it. I’ve heard this done by other performers (and goofed around with it myself) and it always sounds a bit like a synthesizer with the exact same sound on all four parts. If you’re familiar with McChesney’s playing you know he is capable of playing that chart that well.
It’s fun to also look through his score. Check out some of the voicings he uses. I like the way he goes in and out of unisons. Coincidentally I’ve been playing around with this a bit in a big band composition I’m composing, so it’s given me some other ideas to try out and explore more in my chart.