Here is the second “live” recording of one of my unadorned hymns. These recordings will be on the new hymn CD when it’s ready.
New Trumpet Book – One Range
I made the mistake of mentioning on facebook, many months ago, that I was in the process of writing a new book. I said that I had hoped to have it done by the end of the summer. Here we are going into December and the book is only now ready to finalize and publish. I tried approaching the writing process differently from what I normally do and the first few drafts were a disaster.
Now the problem is that this is the busiest time of the year. If we get it released before January, it will be wonderful, but I’m expecting it to be released closer to January 15th next year.
A Trumpet Chops Strategy Guide
The book is precisely what it says in the title. It is a guide to help you expand your upper-register in a way that keeps all of your notes connected. The result is a One Range feel where there isn’t really an upper-register or lower-register. The process and the mechanics are consistent throughout all of your notes.
I wrote the One Range book to be a strategy guide to my routine books. It lays out precisely the best way to use my books.
This has become important because we have so many routine books now. There are the original routines from the Daily Routines book, the Chops Express book, and now the Trumpet Chops series of seven books. Book three from the Trumpet Chops series will also be released soon. Keep your eye open for Trumpet Chops Player which I hope to also release in the next six weeks…God willing!
To gain the greatest benefits from those books, they must be practiced a certain way and within a particular context. One Range spells it all out in a very detailed, step by step manner.
A Different Schedule This December
I am always busy, so I will not say that December is busier than usual. But my performance schedule is almost back to normal again. We had a rough few years, just Houston in general, for gigging musicians. Everyone I’ve spoken to has had a rough time making ends meet. But this December seems to have almost as many performances as what I would consider “normal”.
The good news for the book projects is that I have breaks between teaching and gigs when there is nothing else to do. During those times, I will be away from home and won’t be able to practice, write arrangements or compose. So I will have time to work on websites and and book projects.
That’s what I’m doing now. I am writing to you from the Houston Public Library, down the street from H.S.P.V.A. I am helping the jazz band at H.S.P.V.A. tonight and didn’t want to drive home between the rehearsal and the performance.
Ha! I used to do this at Starbucks, but I’ve kicked that habit.
So yeah, I’ll be visiting public libraries all across the city in the next few weeks. So I’m sure I’ll be posting more on this blog during that time.
Writing Charts for People
I am also writing arrangements for various groups right now. The project I’m enjoying most is for a trumpet player in the Faroe Isands. This is the second year he hired me to write the horn parts for their special Christmas concert. I love their choice of music and I particularly enjoy working with Olavur, my client for that project. He has been so easy to work with and he enjoys my writing.
Praising God for His Provision
I am grateful for the performance work. I am grateful for clients who like my writing enough to pay my rates. I am grateful for my students who have been some of the best people I’ve ever worked with.
I am also extremely grateful for my wife, Pearl, who is my “help-meet”. We have a traditional marriage and spend all of our time together, usually – except in December. 🙂 She does so much to help me be the best at what I do that it would be impossible to share all of that with you.
I guess I’m sort of rambling because I’m sitting here and didn’t really have a plan for what I was going to write for you today. I’m just sharing my thoughts. We won’t have a real break for a few weeks and today is the day that I am trying to get my mind set for the work that lays ahead.
So there you are, two new books on the way, more than my fair share of performances, great chart writing opportunities, dedicated students, dedicated wife….I’m a blessed man.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Here is an original trumpet composition I wrote two years ago. The idea was to put into musical form what I hear as sounding like Thanksgiving to me. This trumpet ensemble piece is part of an informal series of compositions that I am writing dedicated to each of the different holidays. So far I have original compositions for Independence Day, several for Christmas, Palm Sunday and one for Easter.
Thanksgiving Interlude is one of the compositions on my Trumpet Quasi Master album. You can read more about that album on my other website:
I had the pleasure of performing again with the Temptations over the weekend. We did a show here in Houston on Saturday night, and then we drove to Oklahoma to perform with them again on Sunday. This video clip is from the exit music from Sunday’s show. It’s a short solo but I think you will enjoy it.
So Smooth – by Brent Carter
Johnny Gragg recently released a couple of videos that I played a role in creating. For this first video, So Smooth, not only did I play the trumpet, but I wrote the horn parts. The song didn’t originally have horns. After they asked me to do the session they hired me to write original horn parts for the tune on this video.
What Is Hip
Although Brent Carter is currently the lead singer with The Average White band, he used to be lead singer with Tower of Power. It was a treat to play this popular T.O.P. tune with someone connected with the powerhouse band that made it popular.
I did pucker out at the end. I’m not afraid to admit it. 🙂
The horn parts we read on What Is Hip were also mine. When I first got called for the gig, Kelly asked me if I could clean up the old parts. These were the hand written parts that we used to use in the old Cold Sweat days. What Kelly didn’t know is that I wrote those original parts. I think that was in 1990. I did a record lift for Cold Sweat, and yes, of course my writing is like 1,000 times better today.
So it was fun to go back to my old parts and “clean them up”. 🙂 It was actually a very interesting experience, going back to my old writing and looking at how I used to think back then.
If you have a band and need some horn parts, either lifted or original, please feel free to give me a call. I have written horn parts for dozens of bands.
Here is my first attempt to do a live video of one of my “unadorned trumpet hymn” recordings. This really is how it looks when I’m doing the recordings for those albums. I do not use headphones for the first part. There is no click track. It is all very natural.
I wanted it to be as real and as natural as possible. The only thing fake in these recordings is the digital reverb.
When I do the second trumpet part (usually on the second time through the hymn), I have to play it through a few times to get a feel for the tempo. I do not adhere to a strict tempo in the first trumpet part, so it’s a bit of a guessing game to do the second trumpet part, even though I was the one who played that first trumpet part.
By modern day music industry standards, these recordings are sub par. They are too loose. Not precise enough. But I felt it in my heart to offer something natural and less refined.
I do not know the exact scripture reference, but there is a place in the Bible where God tells them not to cut the stone used to build the alter. That instruction has been on my heart the entire time that I’ve been recording these unadorned trumpet hymns. I want to offer God, and you the listener, something that is uncut, unrefined, and in its natural state.
I do hope that you enjoy it.
Free Improvisation on Trumpet Number 18
Here is my 18th free improv video. I’ve been doing these free improvisations for about 18 months now. This one is different from the rest, which is the point, right? It is easy, when you are playing free, for the same old stuff to spill out.
The improvisations are something of a paradox. We need to implement structure, but in such a natural manner that there is a communicative flow to it. Without the structure, all of the music begins to sound the same. But conscious efforts to create structure will lead to sterile, stiff, inexpressive noise.
In this video, my intention was to barrow from the language of the free jazz trumpet players of the past twenty years. I am not as much of a master of this language as some, but it is not foreign to me. That said, I couldn’t do what I do if that language wasn’t completely internalized already.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this taste of modern trumpet playing.