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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Trumpet

The Brass Junkies 106: Jim Pandolfi

Andrew Hitz

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TBJ106: Jim Pandolfi legendary trumpeter Jim Pandolfi has one of the most amazing stories in music. Or most places.

Jim Pandolfi is a legend! Just an unbelievable story of triumph and kicking all available ass. Jim is legally blind and asked the Metropolitan Opera to not hold that against him. They gave him a fair shot and the rest is history.

Jim and I used to hang out way too much in New York City back in the day and never did anything productive. We take a trip down memory lane and also take a deep dive on brass pedagogy. Really good stuff!

The Brass Junkies 103: Mary Bowden of Shenandoah Conservatory

Andrew Hitz

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TBJ103: Mary Bowden on her new upcoming album, Seraph Brass and the importance of networking

My soon-t0-be colleague at Shenandoah Conservatory joined us for her second appearance on The Brass Junkies. Mary is awesome. We could talk to her for hours.

You can check out the complete show notes including all links mentioned during TBJ103 over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 88: Jeffrey Strong

Andrew Hitz

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TBJ88: St. Louis Symphony trumpeter Jeff Strong on preparation, playing with the Marine Band and having an air blowing epiphany

I've had the privilege of playing a number of gigs with Jeff and he is one of the most effortless and musical trumpet players I've ever played with. Just incredible.

At one point in this interview I thought he was going to break me I was laughing so hard!

Don't miss this one!

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 84: Mark Gould

Andrew Hitz

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Mark Gould is a legend. They broke the mold with this guy. I consider him a good friend but I hope you won't hold that against me.

We have had him on our short list of must-have guests since we started the show and are happy we finally made it happen!

Please be warned: This episode contains much more adult content and adult-themed material than any other episode so if that's not your thing, we'll see you for Episode 85!

From the show notes:

Mark Gould, the former Principal trumpet of The Met, the mastermind behind Pink Baby Monster and author of the hilarious new book, "Orchestra Confidential" joins Andrew & Lance in an episode filled with laughs, stories and swear words. Like, a lot of swear words.

WARNING: As mentioned in the above description, this interview is more "adult" than our usual fare. If you are sensitive to this sort of thing, maybe sit this one out. You've been warned.

In this fun and lively conversation, we cover:

  • The first time Gould conducted The Boston Brass Kenton Christmas Carol show
  • How his new book "Orchestra Confidential" came to be
  • Pink Baby Monster, Elixirs and the Banff stories
  • Reagan masks and inflatables in the "Desert Jews" show at ITG
  • Pink Baby Monster's origin on 9/9/01, starting as a song and growing into a group after 9/11
  • Making a hip-hop record w/Brian McWhorter
  • Pink Baby Monster being covered in the Daily News
  • How he got banned from ITG
  • What a Conductor Can’t Say
  • Snobbery in jazz music
  • Training young musicians
  • Project-based training with a deadline
  • What he would do if starting out today
  • Collaboration wish list (David Lynch)
  • Harry Watters
  • PBM, “Conducting the National Brass Ensemble Album” video
  • Masterclasses
  • Heavy valve caps make all the difference
  • Q: How high can you play? A: Exactly
  • Playing with Jim Pandolfi in The Met

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 78: Chip Crotts

Andrew Hitz

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What an incredibly inspiring story Chip has! Talk about stepping up when facing some unspeakable adversity. This is one of the most uplifting and motivational episodes thanks to Chip being so open about his fight against Bells Palsy.

If I ever have to face something like that, I hope I have half the grace and courage that Chip has shown the world. We were honored to have him join us.

From the show notes:

TBJ78: Chip Crotts on playing trumpet with Ray Charles, prosthetic robot arms for musicians and his comeback from Bells Palsy

Chip Crotts has played trumpet with an incredible array of stars, from Natalie Cole to Maynard Ferguson and has been involved with building an innovative program from the ground up at Georgia Tech.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The integration of music and technology at Georgia Tech
  • Building the undergraduate degree from the ground up
  • The development of a prosthetic robotic hand and arm to allow folks to play piano of drums
  • Playing with Ray Charles and Maynard Ferguson (and an amazing array of other artists)
  • “You never know when your shot’s gonna come, so you have to be ready”
  • Natalie Cole, the Tuscaloosa Horns (T-Horns)
  • Lance’s water pipes freezing and bursting mid-show, FUN!
  • Working with Santa Clara Vanguard
  • Dealing with Bells Palsy which paralyzed the left side of his face, and his documentation of the recovery process on video at his Facebook page

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

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.

72 Thumbs Downs

Andrew Hitz

Everything about this performance is stunning.

Brandon Ridenour's pic playing. His father's piano playing. The arrangement. The communication between the two of them. Everything.

And yet at the time of this post, 72 different people decided they disliked this video so much that they had to publicly state that by down voting it on YouTube.

I completely understand not being a fan of arrangements in general. (I couldn't disagree more with that stance from a personal taste standpoint, but you could of course make that argument in an intelligent fasion.) You can easily not be a fan of their interpretation of the piece (or literally anyone's interpretation of any given piece.)

But to actually feel the need, on a video posted personally by Brandon, to give this a public thumbs down is really baffling to me.

The reason I'm pointing this out is a reminder to us all that if you put your work out into the world, there will be people who don't like it and feel the need to share that opinion with the world.

So don't fall into the trap of having your eyeballs (and heart!) go straight to that huge number 72 next to the thumbs down before noticing the 6,000 thumbs up votes or 300,000+ views. The only way to not have any down votes is to never share it with the world. And who the hell wins then? Literally no one. You don't make the world a better place by not sharing your art with us and the internet trolls will just find another video to give a thumbs down to.

It also bears remembering who is doing the down voting. Do you think that Jose Sibaja, Jens Lindemann or Ryan Anthony are any of the 72 down votes? Hell no they're not. Anyone who can play at this level is too damn busy making art to be taking swipes at people who not only are making it but have the courage to share it with the world.

So screw the haters, ignore the thumbs down count and push on. And you damn well better share your work with the world. We need it now more than ever.

#endrant

The Brass Junkies 65: Ken Watters

Andrew Hitz

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This was a fascinating interview! Trumpet player Ken Watters, who is the brother of former TBJ guest Harry Watters, gave us an inside look at the recording process in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where artists such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson have all recorded over the years.

Pretty incredible to get to hear how the entire process goes down from the first call trumpet player. Ken did a great job of painting a picture. I found it riveting.

From the show notes:

Alabama Horns trumpeter Ken Watters joins Andrew & Lance for a fascinating masterclass in the difference between the Nashville horn sound and the horn lines from Muscle Shoals. Ken currently spends the majority of his time recording with legends like William Hightower, Eddie Floyd, Smash Mouth and Billy Ray Cyrus. He explains how Muscle Shoals became such a hotbed for recorded horn sections and explains how sessions and arrangements come together. He talks about how to write good lines, that simple is good and less is more and that sometimes it is best to write away from the horn. There are also tons of great stories from his time in NYC, Atlanta, recording and touring with his brother (TBJ guest and psycho buddy to A & L) Harry Watters and the story of how he met another TBJ alum, Wes Funderburk, in a 10 pm phone call, summoning him to come record with Natalie Cole.

 

He is also the first person to actually play his horn on the show (how did that happen?) and says that his trumpet is the watermelon. Whatever that means.

The Brass Junkies 63: Michael Martin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Hitz

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Michael Martin is infuriatingly good at way too many things. And on top of it all he is as humble as people come. It was a pleasure to get to interview him and talk about being in the Boston Symphony, touring with the Chicago Symphony and composing professionally.

From the show notes:

Boston Symphony trumpeter Michael Martin joins Andrew & Lance to talk his career as a player, and composer. Michael joined the BSO in 2010 and has had great success there, building on the training which began with his dad (Freddy Martin). We discuss his days at Interlochen and Northwestern, touring with his brother (Chris Martin) and the Chicago Symphony and how his composing career got off the ground at an early age. He also discusses his favorite conductors, what it takes to be a good section player, how to listen and how to learn new repertoire really quickly.

Oh, and he shares a hilarious rookie error story during a rehearsal of Mahler 2 under Michael Tilson Thomas. "20!"