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Paid to miss notes???

Yep - I once showed up for a "Yellow Pages" ad. They asked me to play a short fanfare and miss a bunch of notes. The visual was this corny character with a long post horn announcing the new Yellow Pages. So I obliged and played it in one take:)  I am real good at this...

Top Ten responses for when a trumpet player is "asked" to miss notes:

10. You mean more than usual?
9. I'm your guy. I used to play French Horn.
8. Do you have any quiet numbers where I can drop mutes, too?
7. That'll cost you extra.
6. Do you have any recordings of authentic note-fracking I can study?
5. I've practiced for years just to be able to sound bad enough to play for you.

4. Only if you promise to put my worst performances on YouTube.
3. Can we record and go back and punch in cracked notes?
2. Is it okay if I also play flat?
1. If that's what you really want, you need to call Glenn Bengry.

Spray Painting a black tux coat WHITE!

I was hired to play my first summer concert at the amphitheater in northwest Atlanta. I was to wear a White coat. I had no white coat.

Following rehearsal the conductor told me to go get a white coat or else..

I drove to the hardware store and bought 3 cans of white spray paint. It took about 15 minutes to get the coat painted and the paint "sunk" in to the cloth. By the evening it was ready to go.

I put the coat on and the paint began to crack and ended up looking rotten. I played the concert with the guys around me laughing their heads off.

Afterwards I took the coat off and slung it up on top of Chastain Amphitheater. Probably still there today.

On the way to my car a very elegant lady approached me and said she loved the concert, and then she complemented me on having such a fine "crushed velvet " coat.

Tuba Player produces trumpet call from his backside....

In the mod 70's I subbed in the Atlanta Symphony often. The concert was in the summer at an outdoor venue. The orchestra was on a platformed stage surrounded by one of those portable wall backdrops.

Joe Walthall was to play the trumpet call on one of the Beethoven selections that night and it called for him to be off stage. Well there was no backstage so Joe hopped off the stage and went around behind the wall directly behind the trombone - tuba players.

There was a nice little space  or hole in the wall about the size of his bell, so Joe waited for the entrance  - stuck his bell through the wall and proceeded to play the call right into Mike Moore's butt. The sound came from there and all the brass guys turned around to look.

It was so funny we all began chuckling, and then full out laughing. Mike was laughing so hard he got off his chair and was rolling on the floor.

The assistant conductor of the symphony whose name I don't remember began staring at the brass. The evil eye times ten. The rest of the orchestra continued playing but the brass was lost.

In the meantime Walthall comes back on the platform, sits down and plays like nothing has happened. It was the funniest classical moment I ever remember.

Clifford Brown - interesting story from TPIN
The first country outside of US that Clifford Brown visited was
stangely enough Norway!

From left to right:  Art Farmer, Quincy Jones, Walter Williams and
Clifford Brown.

As a member of the trumpet section in Lionel Hamptons Band, Clifford
Brown played
two concerts at Colosseum Cinema in Oslo, Norway, Sunday the 6th of
September 1953.
After returning from the tour through Europe and North-Africa the band gave
a new concert two months later, the 7th of November.

When driving to SIFT in Elgin (from Aberdeen) this summer, I was
sitting in the back seat
of our rented car together with Atle Hammer.
Atle is 78 years old and has been a jazz trumpet player since the late 1940ies.
I asked him if he heard Lione Hampton's Band in Oslo in 1953?
Yes, he sure did.
"Did you know that Brownie was in the trumpet section", I asked him?
No, Atle did not know that. The trumpets did not have any solos as far
as he remembered.

Btw, the trumpet section was:
   Clifford Brown
   Art Farmer
   Eddie Mullens
   Quincy Jones
   Walter Williams

Quincy and Brownie had to sneak out from the hotel in the evening to
play at jam sessions.
In Oslo there was a jam session where Brownie played - but it was not recorded.
When they came to Stockholm, Sweden - they also got out in the evening
from the hotel.
Art Farmer and Brownie can be heard on a record from that evening
(with swedish musicians). One of the tunes was composed by Quincy.


Is trumpet playing sport, recreation, business, relaxation, communication, worship, praise, a gift, a blessing, a diversion, an art, a science, a way of life, a discipline, a prison, an escape, energy, force, movement, peace, anger, harmony, therapy, medicine, comfort, confrontation, unification, health, wealth, poverty, love, anguish, accomplishment, fear, joy, a friend, and enemy, a snake, a flower, a voyage, a release, the comfort of home, the agony of defeat or the joy of victory?


A Sideman's Stories from the Trumpet Section

So I play this gig at the Fox theater at Christmas. The show is the Temptations Four Tops etc. We get paid in cash.

I go out the back door to a little parking lot the musicians use. No lights, just a few spaces. This guy is standing to one side and as I pass he asks if I'm a musician?

"Yep" So he pulls out a knife and forces me up against a brick wall and asks for the cash.

I give it to him and it's over.

A year later i do the same gig and park in the same place, and meet the same guy who say"Remember me?"

Yep twice!  It goes with the territory

I've had a few real fun gigs. The kind you would pay them to play.

The cast of Star Trek NG appeared in a traveling theater piece named EGBDF. They came to town for a week and I was called . Orchestra on stage as a part of the play. That week I was hyped to say the last - I am a real NG fan. Frakes played trombone, Picard played violin, and McFadden "played" percussion.

Here's an article from a London theater mag about the adventure:

In 1992, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise were getting “a little stir-crazy”. The cast had been doing nothing but saving the universe for five years and they needed a change. ” Captain Picard tells me, “why can’t we do something at weekends?” And so they did. The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation embarked on a happily eccentric theatrical tour of four American cities, performing Tom Stoppard and André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (EGBDF). Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) played the Doctor, the android Data (Brent Spiner) played Ivanov, the imprisoned lunatic, and Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) played Alexander, the sane dissident diagnosed as mad by the Soviet authorities.

(gr-In addition : Gates McFadden and Colm Meaney played roles in our production)

The eccentricity lies in the fact that EGBDF requires a full-size orchestra on stage with the actors. It’s also short - just over an hour - so the huge stage effort doesn’t even make a full evening’s entertainment. On the other hand, as Stewart says, “It is a brilliant piece.”

It is, indeed, brilliant and very, very funny. And so, by some miracle, the Trekkies persuaded four big-city symphony orchestras to give them matinée time. And now, by another miracle, the National Theatre in London is to stage Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.
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Stories from the Trumpet Section – The Pointer Sisters

I’m going to be careful and not mention some names for obvious reasons

In the late 1970’s I got a call to play in the Backup Band for the Pointer Sisters at a less than friendly venue. After a little coercion I accepted and went to the rehearsal the afternoon of the show.

It was the usual crew of players crowded into a back room warming up for rehearsal. The band was good the rhythm section and keyboard /conductor/  Tom Salisbury- was world class.

The charts were the most difficult I’ve seen, having been written in San Francisco with those power  - house players in mind.

The first note of the overture was a double A and went up from there. The chart on “Salt Peanuts”  blew my mind – it was furious and well written.

We played our hearts out and the show was very well received. Following the gig we waited in the back room for our checks – this was the ultimatum we had given the contractor $ up front – that did’nt happen, but we foolishly agreed to wait until after the show.
Well minutes dragged on and on and no checks – cash in fact had been requested. Several us talked the contractor into approaching the manager, and he did.

It was at that point a 44 magnum appeared from under the managers coat. I honestly am a bit blank as to what happened next but the bottom line was that we LEFT.

Several weeks later a call from the Union confirmed there was some money available. I took it and was happy to be alive.

Charts included:
Yes We Can Can              Allen Toussaint      
Cloudburst                        Leroy Kirkland, Jimmy Harris     
Jada                                 The Pointer Sisters, J. Cohen     
River Boulevard                Barbara Mauritz     
Old Songs                         Bruce Good, John Shine     
That's How I Feel             Wilton Felder     
Sugar                               The Pointer Sisters     
Pains and Tears               Norman Landsberg     
Naked Foot   
The Neutron Dance    
Wang Dang Doodle             Willie Dixon     


Stories from the Road – McPherson Kansas Pit from Hell

In the late 60’s we arrived late for a gig at an ancient auditorium. The orchestra scurried to the basement and entered the pit. There was little light and a dank dark musty smell. A few of us encountered webs across the chairs and music stands. We pulled out the horns and started the show.

After the first portion of the program, one by one we began to itch and scratch. At first just a little, and in about 15 minutes none of us could play.

We exited the pit much to the dismay of the conductor upstairs on stage.

When we hit the light we were all covered with mosquitoes and large red welsts. It was a week before I healed up.

I’ll never forget McPherson Kansas


Most gigs come down to the money. Then there are a few that I would have played for no money at all. Some you have to play because you can’t say no to the contractor or he won’t hire you for a good paying job – politics are alive and well in the music business.
There are several “levels” of gigs, and each level has it’s own set of rules. The country club job generally means you play in tight quarters, at lower than ideal volumes, and are at the mercy of a leader trying to impress the wealthy clientele.

The rules:
•    Dress better than you play
•    Don’t eat the food
•    Park at least 2 blocks away from the back door ☺
•    Never ask how long the set is
•    Write down the tune numbers, don’t try to keep up with the
     hasty set list call
•    Bring every mute known to man
•    Forget about getting doubling scale for flugel
•    Never listen to the singer(s) if you expect to play in tune
•    Sure this is the last tune? Save your chops for another hour of “Rock” tunes.

You park in the back with the kitchen help, and enter the same way. The bandstand is jammed so close your bell is touching the music. The leader demands every mute know to mankind to assure you are playing “authentically.” The extension cords lie in wait to trip you, and by the way, you are expected to wrap up your light, put your book back in order, and sneak out quietly.

You might get a check for less than you bargained, and expect it to  few weeks late, and the union could care less. The next time the leader calls he assures you he was ripped off on the last gig, but this one is the big break, and he wants only the best players. Of course you’ve already talked with 4 other players that have turned down the gig, but he insists you are his main man.

The book is always in disarray and the leader calls up the sets so fast you have no hope of setting it all up. You end up hoping the guy next to you has the numbers up you missed, or that the tune starts with the rhythm section. Naturally as you reach the end of the page and turn, the next two pages are reversed and the arrangement was copied in pencil, by a high school student for free lessons.