Guess the Embouchure Type – Wild Bill Davidson and Ashley Alexander

It’s time for another “Guess the Embouchure Type.” This time I’m going to take a look at trumpet player Wild Bill Davis Davidson and trombonist Ashley Alexander and see if I can guess which embouchure type they have. Take a look at the below video and see what you think. My guess after the break.

Wild Bill Davis Davidson is a tough one, while Ashley Alexander’s is quite easy to spot. 

What makes Davis’s Davidson’s embouchure type so challenging to spot is partly the grainy low resolution of the video and partly because we don’t get a very long closeup of his chops. It looks like it’s one of the downstream types, as he has more upper lip inside the mouthpiece. He also hams it up a bit, moving his horn around as he attacks notes, rather than keeping everything steady (what I happen to recommend, rather than moving around so much unnecessarily). Just when he goes to attack a higher pitch at about 0:30 into the video the camera angle changes, so I can’t get a good look at his embouchure motion to tell if he belongs to a “very high placement” type or “medium high placement” type. His horn angle is pretty much straight out (and off a bit to the side which sometimes players need to do). This suggests the “very high placement,” but sometimes “medium high placements” have a horn angle like that too. So my best guess for now is “very high placement,” but I’ll have to look around and see if there are other videos of Davis Davidson playing where we can get a better look.

Ashley Alexander’s embouchure type is much easier to spot. With his extremely low placement there’s little doubt that he belongs to the “low placement” upstream type.

Alexander was known for playing the superbone, a combination slide and valve trombone. I’ve got a couple of LP records of Alexander’s big band playing charts written by one of my old teachers, Frank Mantooth. Not only are the charts on those records fantastic, but Alexander blows solos all over them and sounded absolutely fantastic. Those records haven’t been released on CD or for download as far as I know, which is a shame. I did see some YouTube rips of some of the tracks and they are worth checking out if you’re a fan of big bands and jazz trombone playing.

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