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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Airmen of Note

The Brass Junkies 102: Joe Jackson

Andrew Hitz

For episode 102 of The Brass Junkies we were joined by the former leader of the Airmen of Note, Joe Jackson. In addition to being one of the best trombone players in the world, Joe is also a prolific arranger.

He talked with us about leaving the University of North Texas in order to tour the world with the Maynard Ferguson Band, playing in the Airmen of Note for 20 years and producing the award-winning Jazz Heritage Series that was heard on 112 radio stations around the world. The dude has done everything!

I’ve gotten to play a number of gigs with Joe here in the DC area and he is just a treat to play with. Ears for days!

Get the full show notes and links to everywhere you can find this episode of The Brass Junkies here.

Strength Is Not the Answer

Andrew Hitz

"Strength is not the answer.  I guarantee you that everyone in this room has the strength to play a high G."
—Jim Thompson, Former Principal Trumpet of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Preach, Jim!

Watch this video of the incredible Brian MacDonald of the Airmen of Note and tell me that strength is needed to rip in the high register.

One of my last Boston Brass big band Christmas gigs featured Brian on trumpet. I was knocked out at how ridiculously relaxed he looked while soaring above the whole band. It was a call to action to take a lot of not just unneeded, but counterproductive physicality out of my playing.

And that's why the mirror is your friend. Watch the greats on YouTube and then watch yourself. Can you be doing anything more efficiently? The answer is pretty much always yes no matter who the hell you are.