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Rafael Mendez



 
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Hornhead
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Rafael Mendez Reply with quote

When I was a sophomore in High School I played a trio with Rafael.

We played Espana Cani.

The band director taught me to play. I had taken lessons from him since I was 8 or 9.

He was originally from California and had taken lessons from the same teacher as Mendez and they had become friends. Rafael agreed to come up for a fund raiser for the band.

I still have the autographed program and photos from the concert which was in 1968 I believe.

I recently bought a 1961 Olds Recording with the original case, warranty card, and quality control check list and it came with a Mendez 2 mouthpiece! By the way the horn is absolutely beautiful and plays fantastic!
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A.N.A.Mendez
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good for you! He was amazing....
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Hornhead
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="A.N.A.Mendez"]Good for you! He was amazing....[/quote]

Thanks! A great experience!
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drncollazo
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That must have been an experience of a lifetime, as evidenced by your recall of an event that took place nearly half a century ago. Rafael Méndez is by far the most technically gifted trumpeter of all times. He has no peers in terms of technical ability.

N.
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Trptbenge
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

His work ethic was unparalled.

Mike
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oxleyk
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..

Last edited by oxleyk on Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Steve A
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

drncollazo wrote:
Rafael Méndez is by far the most technically gifted trumpeter of all times. He has no peers in terms of technical ability.

N.


Hmm, I like Rafael Méndez a lot, and I think he was fantastic, but "no peers in terms of technical ability"?

I think it's pretty tough to say that anyone in any trumpet discipline clearly stands above and apart from Maurice Andre, or Bud Herseth. Timofei Dokshizer was pretty incredible too.

No disrespect to Méndez (or you), and I appreciate the enthusiasm, but this seems a bit hyperbolic to me. We can acknowledge that he was special and amazing without needing to compare him to other outstanding players.
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jimpops
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Location: Morton Grove, Il.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whrn I got my Olds recording it also came with a Mendez 2 mouthpiece. Nice playing mouthpiece, make the upper register easier to play. The Olds Recording also has a big sound. There are some nice clips of Mendez on YouTube.
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trpt.hick
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mendez was touring and recording long before any of the more current trumpet stars such as Dokshitzer, Andre, et. al. I think that during his day (1930s to 1960s), only Harry James could play with such incredible technique. It is because of these two men (and many early cornet soloists, of course) that the technical limits of the trumpet are what they are today.

True, there are occasional genius musicians that come along, but few actually have the determination to stick with it and become world famous.

Dave Hickman
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ZenMaster
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:30 am    Post subject: Méndez changed my life Reply with quote

My 1967 spring high school band concert, featuring maestro Méndez, altered my life. I was torn between competing interests in sports and music, and in those days one couldn't do both. I had listened to his vinyls so many times I had memorized his vibratos and signature style. And now the man himself was coming to my little home town, Liberal, Kansas, to play with us. Méndez' playing, even though it must have been repeated hundreds of times with bands like ours, was inspired, and inspiring. That night he expressed his soul through that horn with a passion I’d never before felt. There was a moment during The Bullfighter’s Prayer that I could hardly play for the inexplicable tears welling in my eyes, and the sob arising in my throat. I’d enjoyed the comradeship of sports, but that night something in me was so touched that it made a musician of me; all desire for sports paled. My pursuit of music later provided scholarships and support to take me through college and into adulthood. It also connected me to a network of people and experiences which continue to touch and inspire me when I listen to good music.
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Comeback
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the wonderful post, Ken!

Jim
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amuk
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rafael was a great trumpet player, no doubt. Like many soloists he took shortcuts in his arrangements where the fingerings fell into place and sounded like the original version (see Hora Staccato). His primary claim to fame, IMHO, was in his double tonguing which sounded pretty spectacular. He really never explored the range above high C and I think, though he's really special, his trumpet skills were more in the showmanship arena. This is NOT to say he wasn't great but that he was a specialist sort of the way Maynard Ferguson was a specialist too in another area of trumpet playing. I really loved Rafael before I heard Roger Voisin.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amuk, Mendez had a terrific high register until his terrible accident in Detroit which he said forever altered his range. He still could pop out high Fs with little difficulty.
His arrangements are usually written in playable keys and some are still fiendishly difficult. Especially at his tempos. I'm sure you've heard Moto Perpetuo. Almost impossible to play as fast as Mendez with some incredible double tonguing at high C and yes, he could do it without stopping for breath. He did do it in concert a few time that way, but it took too much out of him for him to play much of anything else. How you can double tongue for that long without the horn gurgling at some point is way beyond my imagination.
Voisin himself was a great admirer of Mendez as were many of the world's best players.
R. Tomasek
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice story, I never got the opportunity to even hear him live let alone get to play with him. Rafael was a one of a kind player. Every story I have ever heard has also stated that he was a real gentleman.
Closest I can get to that is I got to play with the great Clark Terry. Clark is also one of the finest people on the planet.
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homecookin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hornhead and Zenmaster,
What a wonderful musical experience for both of you to have had in high school.
And also what a wonderful cherished memories of being able to have performed
with one of the most amazing trumpet players ever to walk on this planet.
As Professor Hickman rightfully pointed out( in my not so humble opinion)
Rafael Mendez reached a level of artistry and perfection that's been reached by very few other people that ever picked up a trumpet.
Every serious trumpet student (and professional alike) should read the following book:

MAGNIFICENT MENDEZ
A Biography
by Dr. Jane W. Hickman
and Dr. Delon Lyren
It will give you a great insight into Rafael Mendez, the man and the musician.
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homecookin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is also a CD that was put out by ITG several years ago that is a testimony to the greatness of Rafael Mendez. On this CD are several very well respected and famous Los Angeles studio musicians who are all relating their personal experiences and the amazing influence of Rafael Mendez.
None the least of these is a guy named Doc Severinsen.
Allen Vizzuti also pays tribute to Rafael Mendez
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trpt.hick
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That CD is titled "Rafael Mendez The Legacy." He is heard in parts of clinics and interviews, and plays the Arban single tongue exercises (pgs. 28-36). Verbal testimonials are by Herseth, Stevens, Voisin, McNab, Sachs, Vizzutti, Bilger, DiMartino, Endsley, Shew, and yours truly. To top it off, there is narration by Severinsen that ties everything together. A few live radio performances are tossed in to boot.

Dave Hickman
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jharding59
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:47 am    Post subject: In the 1956-1959 period in HS Mendez played with our band. Reply with quote

In the 1956-1959 period in HS Mendez played with our band at least twice and I am thinking it was three times. Gering High School band in Gering Nebraska. It started when I was a sophomore. I was already playing first chair. The most memorable experience in addition to working and playing with Mendez was when - on break - he went around and played every student's cornet or trumpet. That taught me it was not the cornet's fault, it was mine, if great music was not coming out of it. Our band director Mr. Childs seemed to have a very close friendship with Mendez. I still enjoy listening and watching him play.
Jim Harding
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trpt.hick
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gering? Wow, I grew up in Kimball. . . just 40 miles away. I heard Mendez play with Mr. Childs, as well as his son in Harrisburg, NE, during the 1960s.

David Hickman
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played in a back-up band for Mendez on a tour of the Hawai'ian islands. One night at curtain call, no Mendez and no Musical Director.

Just before the concert was to start Mendez and the director showed up half in the bag. Evidently, Mendez had discovered a place with his favorite Tequila.

The concert began and while Mendez was playing, he pointed his trumpet towards the heavens. . and he stumbled, uncontrollably backwards right off-stage behind the curtains. He recovered and reappeared seconds later, still playing.

The audience went nuts, They thought it was planned and part of the show.

Tell you something. He might have been juiced, but he still played his butt off.
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