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Claude Gordon and his Big Band on American Bandstand 1959


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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:55 pm    Post subject: Claude Gordon and his Big Band on American Bandstand 1959 Reply with quote

Hi all,

I just came across a YouTube video of Claude and his band's performance on American Bandstand in 1959. This was the culmination of when Claude and his band won the national "Best New Dance Band" contest sponsored by the Musician's Union. It was an effort to promote Big Band / Dance Band music among the youth of America at the time (who were turning in droves to Rock & Roll bands and music).

The YouTube video appears to have been put up by the family of Cecil Hill, who was Claude's lead alto player in the band at the time.

The first song ("I Could Have Danced All Night") is okay but not thrilling. It was the piece all 170 of the bands had to play for the contest. But the second piece (a medley called "Fantasia") is pretty cool, especially toward the end.

The band is TIGHT.

But that didn't prevent the kids in the audience from clapping on 1 and 3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOuai_uKKW0

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a find and what a sound!

But the audience clapping on one & three? NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
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Tpt_Guy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpthrld wrote:
What a find and what a sound!

But the audience clapping on one & three? NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!




All joking aside, excellent performance. I haven't heard much of Claude playing (that I know of), so it's nice to hear the man, the myth the legend.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding clapping on 1 and 3...

Usually one must go to a festival at a remote German village to hear such heresy. I know. I've been to that village. Many times. In many places. And not because I love music. Because I loved the money.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
Regarding clapping on 1 and 3...

When this happens you need to hope that you have Harry Connick on the keys. he knows how to solve that problem.
https://youtu.be/UinRq_29jPk
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
Regarding clapping on 1 and 3...

Usually one must go to a festival at a remote German village to hear such heresy. I know. I've been to that village. Many times. In many places. And not because I love music. Because I loved the money.


I played in your warm-up band . . as much as I can remember (can you say Obstler?)!
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EricV
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great clip and as John says one tight band!

Anyone know who the three trumpet players were? You would have to be pretty good to get a gig with CG i imagine!!

Thanks for posting this

Eric
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EricV wrote:
This is a great clip and as John says one tight band!

Anyone know who the three trumpet players were? You would have to be pretty good to get a gig with CG i imagine!!

Thanks for posting this

Eric


I think I saw Claude G inflate his top lip a bit, at least when he ascended - commenting this since I´ve found I do the same whenever I play above say G on top of staff. Never did that in younger days, as far as I remember.
It´s no problem for me but my latest (and 2:nd overall) teacher tells me to avoid that.
What´s your opinions on this?
And of course -nice clip!
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GeorgeB
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that clip, John. I had never seen Claude play before. And what a band. I counted 13 members, including Claude, but it sounded like a much larger band. And tight ? Oh, man, yes!
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Bruce Haag
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:10 am    Post subject: Big Band Contest Reply with quote

The judges for the "Best New Band in America Contest" were Stan Kenton, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Kaye, Woody Herman, Neal Hefti, and Guy Lombardo.

Claude told me that after he had won the contest, later that evening, Stan Kenton came up to him and related how after Claude's band had only played a few bars of their first number, Woody Herman threw his pencil down and exclaimed “No contest!”
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Last edited by Bruce Haag on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting anecdotes. I remember his winning that (gad I'm old).
I was a young bebopper and pretty much dismissed the band as being "too commercial". Thanks for the memory.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice. I've on watched one previous video of Claude playing. It was a masterclass and it was a brief demonstration.
John, did Claude bend his mouthpiece slightly?
One funny story about clapping on 1&3. I was watching a documentary on Fats Domino a few years ago. One of his band members was talking about how musically hip everyone in NOLA was. He said something like even the white folks know they're supposed to clap on 2&4. It may have been David Bartholomew.
I immediately texted a musician friend that I frequently play with at church. We always cringe when someone claps on 1&3 during a gospel number.
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RussellDDixon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks John ... first time I've ever seen him play. I like the Tenor player who was bouncing a lot ! Amazing how big bands and brass in general is no longer appreciated or used in popular musical culture.
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mrhappy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RussellDDixon wrote:
. I like the Tenor player who was bouncing a lot !


Yeah me too!!
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Yamahaguy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!! Thanks, John...this is awesome! And that horn is sweet, pre-Benge I'm
guessing. A Besson Meha? Love the stop rod on top of the 3rd valve slide!
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bent mouthpiece
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Jeff_Purtle
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things Claude did when rehearsing the band was to use "How You Practice" with the entire band. I don't know how they had the patience to do that too much. That's what Claude told me.

"How You Practice" is basically what Claude had everyone do with the Clarke etudes and other technical passages to master them to the point of not being able to miss. I have a diagram posted on my site of it to show the process.

https://www.purtle.com/claude-gordon-practice-routines-the-brass-herald
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you're all enjoying the video!

Regarding the bent mouthpiece, yes, Claude's mouthpiece is bent.

In Systematic Approach to Daily Practice for Trumpet Claude wrote the following regarding bent mouthpieces:

Quote:
To some, bending the mouthpiece is extremely beneficial. To some, it is harmful.

A student on this matter should seek the advice of a competent teacher, whereas an experienced player may use common sense and a little experimenting.


Makes sense to me.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We all know how Claude extolled us over and over not to become overly lip conscious.

Claude Gordon wrote:
"The only purpose of the lips is to vibrate."

"Too often the student is lip conscious to the point that all emphasis is placed on this one item to the exclusion of the many other important factors that cause the lip to function. All of these items must be developed and coordinated. When the whole machine is working harmoniously, then playing becomes a pleasure without abusing the lips."


And yet...

In one of the other dedicated forums someone has started a thread analyzing what appears to him in the video to be Claude's "inflated upper lip" on high notes. Oh the irony...


https://i.postimg.cc/R081GJ0C/f67498eb918f60ab574bb8e6a47ee343206b4995.jpg
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RussellDDixon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrhappy wrote:
RussellDDixon wrote:
. I like the Tenor player who was bouncing a lot !


Yeah me too!! :D


I KNEW you would Mr. Happy !!!
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