Life Builders: Darryl Bayer

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Darryl Bayer in Full Renfest Garb

A Natural Entertainer

Darryl Bayer is a trumpet and keyboard player from Boston Massachusetts. He is one of the few trumpet players I’ve ever met who is a true, natural born entertainer. When you see Darryl perform and see how easy it is for him to connect to the audience, it’s no wonder that he has become one of the more popular trumpet players in the Houston area.

My understanding is that Darryl has been performing since he was a high school student. He performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras and at some point along the way also worked as a keyboard player in a rock band. He has that certain flare that us brass musicians have come to expect from Boston trumpet players.

Darryl Moved to Houston not long before I did. He moved here after a short stint in California but has been living and working as a musician here in the greater Houston area for about twenty-five years.

Texas Brass 036

My First Gig Champion

Darryl Bayer gave me my first gigs when I got here to Houston and I have been working with him ever since. He became my champion months before I ever even met him. One of my best friends from UTEP, Chris Parks, was Darryl’s roommate when they were both students at the University of Houston. When Chris told Darryl about me, Darryl had already expressed a genuine interest in working with me. It wasn’t but a few days after I got here when Darryl popped into Mr. Austin’s office and introduced himself to me. Within weeks I did my first gig with him.

When I listen to recordings of my playing from those years (late 1980’s), it makes me appreciate Darryl all the more. I was not a very good player. I am almost ashamed to admit that I was so bad that I didn’t even know how bad I was. I’m not saying that I thought I was hot stuff. Not at all. But I didn’t realize how bad I really was. I know I had skills (and that was my saving grace), but I sounded really bad.

But that’s how Darryl is. He is sort of the Art Blakey of trumpet players here in Houston. He likes to take the up and coming players under his wing and nurture them the way he did with Chris and I. That’s something I really admire and respect him for, not just because he helped me get established but also because he continues to help younger players get their careers started.

The Texas Brass Ensemble – Sounds of the South

About six years later, Darryl invited me to be the second trumpet player in his quintet. I did some of the renaissance festival gigs, various recitals and lots of church gigs. This eventually lead to us recording a CD of mostly original music titled Sounds of the South. Some of those compositions were by Thomas Hulten and some of them were mine. The Texas Brass has performed more of my compositions than probably any other brass ensemble in the world and it is always a wonderful honor.

As a composer, the most difficult part of writing music is getting your music performed. I have been extremely blessed in that regard and Darryl has always been a big part of that. Once again I find myself using the word “champion.” Darryl has always been a champion of my compositions and my books.

About 90% of all the classical work I’ve done in Houston has been with Darryl.

The following is a video of the Texas Brass at one of our school concerts.

Music Business Sounding Board

This Life Builders series is about acknowledging the people who have contributed to my success in life. One of the ways that Darryl has contributed to my success in the music business is by providing opportunities to discuss the business with someone who was already successful himself. I have learned a lot from Darryl over the years, not only directly but also indirectly by having an opportunity to share my ideas with him.

A lot of people don’t think music and business go together. They believe that tending to the business side of our art will take all the joy out of it, but I disagree. The way you make it “all about money” is to take the money out of the picture. I feel the same way about business in music as I do technique. I have often said that the surest way to make technique an issue in your playing is to not have any! When you have limited technique, THAT’S what people hear in your playing. Well, it’s the same way with the business. When you take care of the business ahead of time, then the music can be just that….all about the music. But when you fail to take care of the business, then you FORCE it to be all about the money.

That’s why learning about the business side of our art is so important. There are very few people in my life who have had the desire to sit and talk with me about that side of the music world. So I appreciate Darryl so much for being there for me that way.

Continued Support

Even though I don’t work with Darryl nearly as much as I have in the past, he continues to show his support for my writing and for my books. The Texas Brass continues to play my compositions and arrangements and Darryl continues to be an outspoken advocate of the Daily Routines book.

This means a lot to me. I once read a business book that said, “You can’t move forward without your back end.” What it means is that you shouldn’t turn your back on the people who already appreciate what you do. The people who like what you do are your home base. Without them, you are no one, your product is nothing and you are going nowhere.

So yeah, it’s important to me that Darryl and others like him have been consistently supportive of my work. Without this “back end” support, I would have nothing to stand on. I can trace all of my current success as a arranger/composer back to that support. Remaining true to the purpose of theseĀ Life Builders posts, I must admit that it would be an act of pride to never express my gratitude for all that Darryl has done for me in that respect. (That’s what the Life Builders series is all about. Pride is when we fail to acknowledge the people who have contributed to our success in our lives. This series is my way of doing that.)

That said, I should also mention that Darryl is on our approved teachers list. Darryl has been using my Daily Routines book since it first came out and knows it as well as anyone. So for those students in Houston who don’t live close enough to take lessons with me, but want to learn some of the aspects of my method, we strongly recommend that you sign up with Darryl for lessons. Darryl is on the north side of Houston while I live on the south side. Please feel free to send me a message if you are interested in getting his contact information.


As always, with these Life Builders posts, I couldn’t possibly list all of the different ways that Darryl has contributed to my success in my life and career. I would like to close with this… Darryl is a relatively young Christian. He has been an inspiration to me to see how “on fire” he is about our precious savior, Jesus Christ. It would be wrong for me to not mention this because it is such a big part of who he is today.

Darryl is a good man. He is on the right track, doing a lot of good for a lot of people. He is one of my friends on Facebook and it warms my heart to see that he has been gigging and teaching so much. That said, I strongly encourage everyone who reads this to buy a copy of his recent CD release titled Soaking Reign. There are no words to describe his music on the new recording. It cannot be boxed into a single genre or style.

Thank you Darryl for all you’ve done for me. I know I don’t often express my gratitude, but I do appreciate all you’ve done. God bless you my friend.

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