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Good performers with average technical skills?


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Stanislav234
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:00 pm    Post subject: Good performers with average technical skills? Reply with quote

While listening to trumpet players like Chet Baker, Chris Botti, Herb Albert and etc i always ask myself: how advanced is their technicals skills? For example double/triple tonguing, speed, large intervals, extreme range and so on.

All of them, in my opinion, have great tone, articulation and intonation, but what about technical abilities? Do you think that's possible to be good "soft" player without even being able to play technically-demanding fast pieces (for example, Carnival of Venice). Sometimes i think that one can just practice "singing" and "speaking" through the trumpet without trying to attain any levels of virtuosity and be able to touch someone's soul with his playing.

And on the other hand, as an advanced classical guitar player i can say that without all of these demanding pieces i wouldn't be able to express even simplest melodies in a right way. I mean playing with rhythm, emotion and immersion in music.

What is your opinion on that subject? I really want to know what you think.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think good players try develop what they need to make the kind of music to which they aspire. If you want to play in a polka band you better have chops of of steel and know how to triple tongue like Rafael Mendez. If you want to play lead in a band that features MF charts, well, you know what you need to spend your time on and it ain't triple tonguing.

Orchestral players may not need extreme range but they sure better be able to master wide leaps and be able to come in reliably above the staff after 132 bars of rests.

There certainly are players in the annals of trumpetdom who can do it all and you can undoubtedly name more than a few. But, generally, I believe most players naturally focus on whatever they need and if isn't being able to play Giant Steps in all keys they don't dwell on it.
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djpearlman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Playing beautiful music and playing technically challenging music are not the same thing, though they obviously can overlap. There is no question that people can make beautiful music (on any instrument, trumpet included) without having what we think of as virtuoso technical skills. Virtuosity gives a person more options (if it does not get in the way of expressiveness and emotional content), but it is by no means required to make beautiful, interesting, moving music.
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Stanislav234
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your replies!
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if that is herb playing on "zorba the Greek" he has some pretty amazing technique.

Chet had real good technique too and could really hang with fast tempos like "carson city stage" and tons of other examples. Great time at all tempos was Chet's thing, in addition to flawless musicality. Listen to his version of "dolphin Dance" he owns that tune.

I think many players not "known" for technique but for musicality were under-rated as technicians.
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Stanislav234
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lipshurt wrote:
if that is herb playing on "zorba the Greek" he has some pretty amazing technique.

Chet had real good technique too and could really hang with fast tempos like "carson city stage" and tons of other examples. Great time at all tempos was Chet's thing, in addition to flawless musicality. Listen to his version of "dolphin Dance" he owns that tune.

I think many players not "known" for technique but for musicality were under-rated as technicians.


I listened this pieces now, and yes, they are impressive in the matter of technique. Quite strange that i've never heard them before. Always learning something new.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chet's solo on Dolphin Dance is a work of art. A nice example of when to play and when not to play.
Being a great technician does not always translate into being a great creative musician. I once read a quote that someone made about Maynard Ferguson. It went something like this. If Maynard had taste, he would have been considered a genius!
Years ago I was obsessed with improving my chops. I worked with an older pianist in my area and he often told me to spend more time learning the tunes and changes. Being the stubborn Irish/Italian caba dost, (hard head) I didn't always listen. This guy knew every old standard and could play them in any key. I played a lot of weddings and parties with his group. He knew any song that an old timer would come up and request. He wasn't the greatest technician on piano but he was always in demand He worked more than anyone I knew.
If I could go back 40 years I would do what he always told me to do.
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trumpethead
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Chet had amazing technique.

Plenty of examples notably for me, on 'Chet Baker plays'.
Tunes like 'Bea's Flat' and 'Happy little sunbeam' come to mind.
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theslawdawg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel terrible. Never looked into Chet’s stuff but now I will. Thanks everyone.
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bnsd
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in high school, I really thought it was all about technique and range. Maynard, Faddis, Vizzutti, Chase, Cacia, and on the more legit side, Mendez, Andre, etc.

I've since found that the right players speak to you...

reminds me of a thread on here once... some guy talking about he could play whatever Herb Alpert could play while he was still in Jr High.

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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some, trumpet playing is simply art, making music. The point of the whole business is to create the music that you wish to create. The issue of technical ability is subordinate to and supportive of making music. For example, if the music that you play doesn't require superior triple tonguing, then what is the point in spending a lot of time trying to master it? The practice time would be better spent on another more important aspect of trumpet playing. My guess is that a lot of amateur trumpet players fall into this category. They play for the joy of playing and aren't forced to play things that don't suit their fancy.

For some, it is a competition. Sometimes the competition is with other trumpet players. Sometimes the competition is with the instrument itself and sometimes the competition is with themselves. I imagine that somebody like Wynton Marsalis would fall into this category. It seems, from what little I know of him, that he is in competition with himself. He wants to be better for the sake of being better. I'm not saying that making good music is not important for him; I believe that it is very important to him. But, he is not satisfied with just making good music. Rather, he seems driven to make music that nobody has ever heard before, music that is based on superhuman technical ability.

For others, it is a combination of both. I would guess that a large number of journeyman professional trumpet players fall into this category. They have to worry about competing for jobs. Also, they have to worry about making rent and so want to be able to play whatever type music comes along. The may not have the luxury of only playing music that they prefer. The look for opportunities to play what they like, but need to compete for positions playing music that may not be to their preference.

So, the whole notion of rating people's technical ability matters more to some people than to others. I wonder if Louis Armstrong ever obsessed about playing the Carnival of Venice flawlessly. Who, besides a trumpet geek, would even care to hear him play Carnival of Venice?

I recently attended a Chris Botti concert. It was sensational. I could not have enjoyed it more. He hit some really high notes (don't know how high) and played some really nice bebop lines. The music was so enjoyable that it seemed absolutely pointless to wonder about his tonguing, his range, etc. Herb Alpert doesn't get a lot of respect from some who frequent Trumpet Herald; I personally find their criticisms of Mr. Alpert annoying (Zorba the Greek is the piece of music that made me yearn to master triple tonguing). I don't know why we can't admire what Chris Botti, Herb Alpert and many other trumpet players have accomplished without trying to find fault with them.

Warm regards,
Grits
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MrOlds
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Grits Burgh said!

Now that I think about it, what do competitions, no matter who’s name is attached, have to do with the art of making music?

Painters, revolutionary ones at least, developed techniques that furthered their vision. Can’t faithfully reproduce a Rembrandt? Who cares?
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Stanislav234
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grits Burgh, great post! Seems that you had a lot of thoughts about this topic a long time ago. It was very interesting to read.
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plankowner110
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Herb Alpert perform live last November and he played a two-plus-hour show with flawless precision and inimitable style. Every note was perfectly executed. How many of us will be able to capture the hearts of an audience like he did at 82 years of age? The performance with his talented wife, Lani Hall, was fantastic!
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Robert P
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chet could play but I don't think he viewed the horn in a stereotypical "trumpet player" way, it was more of a conduit to sing through. Plus he was handicapped by missing teeth and had to adjust his technique.

I think Herb is limited as far as range and power by his tooth/jaw formation.

From what I've heard Botti is a solid player who can generate plenty of range and power when he chooses. I've never heard him play classical concertos but I'd bet a buck he could tear up the Haydn, Hummel, Mozart concertos.

Botti recorded one of the nicest versions of the Star Spangled Banner I've ever heard. I think he was sync'ing here but I'm sure it was his playing.


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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

plankowner110 wrote:
I saw Herb Alpert perform live last November and he played a two-plus-hour show with flawless precision and inimitable style. Every note was perfectly executed. How many of us will be able to capture the hearts of an audience like he did at 82 years of age? The performance with his talented wife, Lani Hall, was fantastic!


Agree! Saw them a couple of years ago. Herb played nonstop and never stopped to sit. I think he was 80 when we saw him. He played up to high c or d a few times with no problem at all. Lani was equally amazing. She's also gorgeous. They are coming back my way soon but we already had plans so we'll have to miss them. I would go hear them any time!
Herb may not dazzle you with technique but the performance we saw was one of the best I've ever been to.
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ws tpt
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:09 pm    Post subject: Chris Botti, Chet Baker, Herb Alpert Reply with quote

For those who may be interested, Chris Botti attended Indiana University and was a student of Bill Adam. Like many Adam students, Chris' technique is rock solid. Several years ago, there was a video interview where he spoke to still playing his version of the daily Adam routine to maintain his chops both on and off the road. It may still be on Youtube. Before he became Chris Botti, soloist, he worked steadily in the NY studio scene. In another interview he mentions arriving in NYC and hearing Wynton Marsalis and others and decided that being a post-bop player was not "his thing". He can play bop and plays changes well. As Robert notes above, live and in concert, Chris plays with power and technique (one of the 1st 2 or 3 numbers that he does when he appears with an orchestra takes him up to a nice G that he does a very long hold on). Harmonically, many of his solos aren't as challenging as the changes to many of the bop tunes, but if you see the transcribed lines to his solos, they require one to be able to get around the horn quite well. Just another perspective and my $0.02.
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khedger
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: Chris Botti, Chet Baker, Herb Alpert Reply with quote

ws tpt wrote:
For those who may be interested, Chris Botti attended Indiana University and was a student of Bill Adam. Like many Adam students, Chris' technique is rock solid. Several years ago, there was a video interview where he spoke to still playing his version of the daily Adam routine to maintain his chops both on and off the road. It may still be on Youtube. Before he became Chris Botti, soloist, he worked steadily in the NY studio scene. In another interview he mentions arriving in NYC and hearing Wynton Marsalis and others and decided that being a post-bop player was not "his thing". He can play bop and plays changes well. As Robert notes above, live and in concert, Chris plays with power and technique (one of the 1st 2 or 3 numbers that he does when he appears with an orchestra takes him up to a nice G that he does a very long hold on). Harmonically, many of his solos aren't as challenging as the changes to many of the bop tunes, but if you see the transcribed lines to his solos, they require one to be able to get around the horn quite well. Just another perspective and my $0.02.
WS Tpt


I believe Botti also studied with Woody Shaw......
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Botti has monster level technique.
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Pete
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
Chris Botti has monster level technique.


John, without a doubt! I was at the Blue Note in NYC when he sat in with Maynard’s band. We were sitting right at the front of the stage. Standing next to Maynard, Chris was really impressive, not to mention, a good guy.

He stayed around after the gig and talked to us, as well as others in the audience.

I heard him play more recently in Northampton,MA. He played great!

And to the OP, just because someone doesn’t always flaunt their technique, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any.

Pete
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