Recently, I’ve found that practicing partial-skipping lip slurs to be very beneficial for my trombone playing. It’s a very specific type of exercise, and I wasn’t 100% happy with any of the method books I had in how they covered it. Brad Edward’s amazing lip slur book (you can buy it here) introduced me to the concept, but I wanted a concentrated sampling of different exercises to pick and choose from.
I took some time to write a few out, and I figured it would be nice to put it up here. Happy practicing!
“The routine” is something that a lot of brass players do every morning to keep their chops in order. At different points in my life I’ve experimented with the Adam Routine, Remington Exercises, and the Caruso Method (and others). Each approach has taught me something different about playing trombone. For the last few years, I’ve gotten into a really good groove with a set of exercises that have helped me develop into a more well-rounded trombonist and I decided it would be fun to put them up here. I don’t think this is the end-all/be-all of routines, but I’ve found it very helpful, and I hope a few of you do too.
I’ve been really lucky to have some of the best brass teachers out there. Big shout out to: Rodney Hudson, Phil Ostrander, Robin Eubanks, Norman Bolter, and Tom Plsek – my main trombone teachers over the years. And John Faieta and Gabe Langfur, too. Thanks for everything, guys!
Many apologies for the lack of posts in recent…years. Due to popular demand, I’ll be back at it in the next few months. I couldn’t be more happy with how these recordings came out – Austin, Mark, and Kathy all sound fantastic!
I originally performed Premonition in a very different sort of quartet with James Wylie, Assaf Shatil, and Scott Halligan during the Spring of 2009 (listen to the original version here). It was a real pleasure to hear it played again by Mark, Rick, Sean, and Kathy.
Short Piece is brand new, written in late July and early August. One day after one of their first rehearsals, Rick Stone and I were talking about the anxieties of writing for a group like the saxophone quartet. Neither of us are “composers-with-a-capital-C”, and the notion of writing for a group without a rhythm section was quite daunting. Rick mentioned that whatever he wrote would probably be short and not very good, so we challenged each other to write the shortest, most disappointing piece possible. Such a notion is a very interesting tool to spur on creativity, and – ironically – I’m very happy with the result. Rick’s piece was also totally rockin’.
Also, I’ve never not been involved with the performance of a piece of mine, and it was a very unusual sensation, to say the least, to hear my music played by other folks. If you happen to be a member of a saxophone quartet, and you’re interested in performing one of these pieces, I’d be very happy to email you PDF files of the parts if you drop me a line.
Every solo concert is a learning opportunity, and this one was no different. I found myself going back to little motives over and over again – there was the allure of a certain dominant-to-tonic lick, an odd minor third in the upper register here and there, some fragments of old standards (maybe because it was Valentine’s Day) - and it helped anchor the structure of these improvisations.
Special thanks goes to Derek Beckvold and Andrew Hock for sharing the evening with me – they both did long-form solos which were totally amazing (you can listen to Andrew’s set here). Also, extra special thanks goes to Rob Chalfen for running the Outpost: its casual radicalism makes it one of my favorite places to play.