Archive for April, 2010

Just recently (Monday 12th of April) I had the chance to see something truly special here in Vancouver, Canada.

This was none other than Chris Botti and his Band live in Concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

To say that I was looking forward to this concert was an understatement – I bought tickets back in October 2009. At this time tickets were selling out fast too – however at the last minute I managed to snag some great seats in the front of the dress circle which couldn’t have worked out better.

The reason I am personally a fan of Chris is that he has simply put a fantastic ‘tone’ on his trumpet. That tone is maybe 30% Large Bore Committee, 60% the man himself and 10% sheer talent. From the first note I was floored with just how round, soft and fat (translation: phat) that tone he has really is. There are few people who sound better live than on CD – but this guy is one of them.

The band brought it that night also – collectively the 5 of them have a serious icing session going on top of the proverbial ‘cake’ that was the VSO Orchestra.

The show followed most of what was essentially the live Boston CD/DVD which was great. Although the structure was essentially laid out the beauty of jazz improvisation was that it takes a new form each night depending on the mood and feeling happening on stage at the time. I must admit I was really hoping that he would break out a few of his old tunes – like “A Thousand Kisses Deep” or “My Funny Valentine” but alas it was not to be.

A couple of things that happened during the show were really impressive to me was 1) at the end of the show when the Orchestra cleared the stage and people finished their standing ovation was that Chris took off his mic and played open in the hall down in the front row with just him and Billy Childs on Piano – his sound was still huge and rounded even without some of the effects that he has added through the sound system normally.

2) They spoke about bringing people (especially kids) out to live shows. It made me think back on my chance meeting or watching of some greats I had seen in the past and how it always wanted me to play better or longer – this time was no exception and was a great message for all.

The thing that is really impressive is that these guys are still on tour after 6 years of touring so far – and are playing roughly 300 ish shows a year – yikes!

After the show was great too – I was hoping to get the chance to ask him a little bit about trumpets and sound approach – but there were literally 500+ people waiting in line to see the guy after the show.

Isn’t it amazing that a guy can capture a sound and style that appeals to the masses – and he plays the trumpet of all things! (only the most awesome instrument in the world – but I digress…)

He’s like the new century ambassador of cool for young trumpet players to aspire to.

Anyhow, I still got to meet him with my wife and shake the guys hand and tell him that he was the reason I picked up the trumpet again after a long break of 4 years.  (True Story)

In essence if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have met a great bunch of people (through playing and through buying/selling) and even thought to start Trumpetgear – thus missing out on a whole bunch of experiences.

Thanks Chris!

Look forward to seeing the next show!

Now if I can just find that elusive Martin Committee I’ve been looking for………

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Newly released this week is the new – Bremner sssssshhhhhh mute for Piccolo trumpet.

This has been a while in the making and will be good news to those whom have been struggling to find a place to warm up/practice with their Piccolo trumpets.

Essentially this mute is a scaled down version of the trumpet mute and is very compact in size – yet has all the characteristics of the original. (Lightweight, durable, plays in tune, has a lower amount of back pressure)

The new mute measures approx 10.5cm in height and is around 6cm in diameter at the largest end – a very small and convenient travel size.

I have pictured the new mute and the original below so you can see the differences.

These mutes are now available for order at our website – be sure to contact us to get yours today!

(I expect the 1st batch will sell out fairly quickly)

So as most of you may have read recently I just went through a transition to another country.

One of the things I was dreading was not being able to play twice a week any longer in front of people as I felt I was making some real progress in my playing.

As it happens, one thing I didn’t consider very much in the move was how to address the problem of having a place to practice daily.

Now playing live is not such a biggie for me – but not being able to practice is.

These days if you’re living in the city and in an apartment/condo situation the last thing the building manager wants is some guy blowing his horn and upsetting the rest of the residents at all hours of the day.

So what can a guy do?

Well,  at this moment I am trying to get out and connect with as many groups as I can to get back playing again.

Secondly my 2 favourite mutes right now are a Jo Ral Harmon (for practise during the day) and a Bremner sshhh mute for other hours.

If you haven’t tried the Bremner practice mute – you should give it a go.

This thing is super lightweight, durable and fits easily in most cases.

The other thing nice about it is that it blows a lot freer (i.e. Less back pressure) than most other mutes that I have tried.

It also cuts down the sound quite a bit – which is obviously important for Condo or apartment dwellers.

We have these mutes available for order (usually we have them in stock too) for approx NZ$60.00

http://www.trumpetgear.co.nz/trumpet_mutes.html

I should note that playing consistently with a mute is not ideal for sound development.

This is usually a more temporary measure to allow you to keep your lips and breathing in shape until you are able to play open again in a venue.

Right now – this is working for me though.