Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The last 8 months have just flown by…..

I’ve made some pretty sweeping changes to the website and Facebook pages too – they don’t currently exist!

That’s actually due to the fact that I’m concentrating on the Canadian side of things in Vancouver, doing my day job (Store Operations Manager for 200+ people), trying to build a business in Canada :  www.thebrasscellar.com,  and trying to raise a 2 year old. Needless to say I’ve been pretty busy of late. 

One thing I would like to keep going is this blog – I think it could become a pretty handy tool for some brass players out there, and might save them some time in researching and finding the information that I have learnt over the last 3-5 years.

For New Zealand the Trumpetgear website may be gone – but I will still continue to support people getting access to great instruments and information where possible – you can find me at http://www.thebrasscellar.com for any brass related products – but I will continue to post here.

So coming up I have plenty to write about.

Since last posting I have lucked out and found some really nice instruments to talk about:

Martin Handcraft Imperial (37 Bell), Schilke B5L, Harrelson Bach Modification, Martin Deluxe Committee in C, Martin Handcraft Committee (Medium Bore), and coming soon – Martin Handcraft Committee (Small Bore) and Martin Handcraft Imperial Large Bore. 

More to come on these soon!

Chris Botti & Band were in the house last night – and when I say house (with a Canadian twang) I mean the stunning Orpheum Theatre here in Vancouver.

Unlike last time I planned ahead and bought my tickets as soon as they became available (around August 2011).

Being super prepared and dedicated afforded me and my wife one of the best seats in the house – front row.  (Classy!) – Above is a photo taken on the sly (as they don’t allow pics)

What unfolded over 2.5 hours was a fantastic concert – it had a bunch of the classic tracks – plus a few of the new tracks from the new Impressions album in for good measure.

The great thing about this band is that every musician in their own right is an awesome soloist – Billy Childs, Robert Hurst, Mark Whitfield and Billy Kilson – then you have Caroline Campbell and Lisa Fischer in there as guest artists also. Each soloist at some point almost store the show with each of their respective solos.

The show was mixed with some high energy songs like – When I fall in Love, The Look of Love (this was worth the price of admission alone – Lisa Fischer is amazing on this!) and Why Not where the band was just smoking hot. If you can get in the front row it’s totally worth the price of admission as you can see the expressions, hear the hidden comments and share much more of the experience. I especially loved watching Billy Childs on the keys. He is just a blur of hands in some songs – and he decides in a couple of sounds that he’s run out of keys to play – so he starts plucking or strumming the piano strings directly for additional effect.

On the slower/softer side there was – Italia (feat. Lisa Fischer & Caroline Campbell), Venice, Emmanuel (Feat. Caroline Campbell), Cinema Paradiso (Feat. Caroline Campbell) and a few more I can’t recall at the time of writing.

Being up close to Chris is a thing in itself also – I knew that he has a great sound (and I am not talking the electronics or reverb) – but the soft edge and fullness of the horn and how he creates that sound is testament to the time that he has put in on the horn. He’s also found a way to deliver percussive phrasing and runs on the horn unlike most horn players why try and fit in strings of notes. I must have looked like a weird guy in the front row staring intently at all the actions, nuances and phrases taking down mental notes on everything.

Seeing him live is a totally different experience to listening to a CD as you realize he can do all that, run the stage and the sound guy and the audience all at the same time.

From the new selection of songs on the Album the track – Prelude No.20 in C Minor is haunting and is a must listen track – we were lucky enough to get the live version played on the night.

To finish the show – My Funny Valentine (My all time favorite) with just him and Billy Childs. – Great!

What an awesome show!

Afterwards you get the opportunity to meet Chris (Billy was out signing too) and have him sign records and take photos. And he stays till the last person – which is nice as that takes about an extra hour to run through 150-200 people and all the photos. I didn’t want to miss out so I bought a CD and also brought along an old playcard bill from 2001 from his opening concert of Night Sessions which got a good chuckle as it was from 10+ years ago and he hadn’t seen it essentially since then. (Thanks Ebay!) Both now signed.

What I should have done was take along my Martin Committee Prototype horn built by Reynold Schilke and had him play it.  I have a small collection of interesting Martins brewing so he probably would have dug that

Thanks Chris

Hope to see you again next year!

Greetings all,

Here’s something a little different for you all that you really should check out if you are in or around the area of Tauranga next weekend.

This is a charity concert put together by local artist and performer – Hiro Kobayashi

It’s for a great cause and I am sure that they will put on a fantastic round of performances.

You can find out a little more about Hiro at the bottom of this post – he comes highly recommended.

Hiro Kobayashi was born in Japan and has been living in New Zealand since 2005.

In Japan, he was a principal trumpet player with Jeunesses Musicales du Japon Orchestra (yearly selected youth orchestra, under 30 years old) several years in Tokyo. He studied trumpet with Miroslav Kejmar, former principal trumpet player of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tsuyoshi Hirabayashi, freelance trumpet player in Tokyo.  His performances were on TV with Jeunesses Orchestra (NHK) and TV advertisement, Suntory Wine “RESERVE” in Japan.
In New Zealand, he has performed for Tauranga Big Band, Tauranga Musical Theatre, , Tauranga Civic Choir, Tauranga Performing Art Trust, Opus Chamber Orchestra and several brass bands (Tauranga, New Plymouth, Manukau, Whakatane, Matamata  and Waitakere). As a soloist, he has performed concertos with Bay of Plenty Symphonia and United Youth Orchestra.  And also he is performing with a professional brass quintet, Waikato Brass Quintet in Hamilton.

Hiro is an excellent trumpeter and a fine musician. As an orchestral player he shows mastery of the idiom, and in chamber music he always contributes to the ensemble with sensitivity and musicality. Not only is he a oustanding exponent of the standard Bb and C trumpets, but excels in the demanding piccolo and Eb instruments. I recommend that you make the effort to hear him as soloist – you will not be disappointed.  Rupert D’Cruze – Conductor and Trombonist

It gives me great pleasure to endorse the efforts of trumpet player Hiro Kobayashi in organising a fundraising concert for the earthquake-ravaged citizens of our Japanese Sister City, Hitachi.  Usually when we contribute to a worthy cause we do so without expectation of any form of return for our generosity of spirit other than the pleasure of giving and of providing much needed assistance. In this case we stand to gain more than we have given because, in addition to his own considerable talents on offer, Hiro has assembled an exceptional line-up of local musicians to support him in what promises to be an outstanding and varied concert. For those people who have had anything to do with Hiro and his lovely wife Yasumi since they chose to live and work in Tauranga, it feels like the most natural form of Karma to give something back to the country that has given Tauranga such an outstanding gift as the Kobayashis. Since their arrival they
have been an integral and important part the Brass Band, Orchestral and Big Band music scenes and have accumulated an enormous number of friends and admirers as both musicians and citizens. I urge you to support their concert. You will be well rewarded.  Murray Mason – Director Tauranga Big Band

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………

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.

OJA – Gig in Urasoe City

Posted: August 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

Ever wondered if Jazz was alive and well in the tiny island of Okinawa?

I am happy to report that it indeed is.

Here’s some pics from a gig in early August in Urasoe City, Tedako Hall.

Flyer for the Event held August 1st 2009

Flyer for the Event held August 1st 2009

OJA Band in full swing

OJA Band in full swing

Let me just say that the facilities here in Okinawa in certain areas are state of the art.

The halls etc are fantastic and have all the latest technology and comforts built into them – so basically it’s a great venue to play.

It’s nice to be playing into a fresh state of the art microphone too – so you know you don’t have to take it 100%

The Okinawan Jazz Association also seems to not do things by halves either- they had professional flyers printed, local press and even recorded the event. Each gig we do seems to be better and in front of more people.

For a kiwi boy from NZ who is used to playing gigs to not a lot of people it was a welcome sight to see at least several hundred people in the audience genuinely enjoying themselves and getting into the event.

Wider shot of the Band

Wider shot of the Band

The music varied from swing standards, ballads to some serious funk and some chop busting numbers like Night in Tunisia that really put the trumpet section through it’s paces.

If you’re interested in checking out the OJA Big Band the released a CD last year to celebrate their 50th anniversary visit the home webpage here:

The Album Cover to Uchinna Jazz!

The Album Cover to Uchinna Jazz!

http://okijazz.com

The band also featured in an article in the August JAL Inflight magazine this month.

Here’s hoping we can inspire the next generation to pick up some instruments and keep the tradition alive – it’s great to be involved in a band such as this one!