Archive for the ‘Trombone’ Category

I’ve got a screw loose

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

I opened my closet door a month ago and found that the handle was loose.

Looking closer I see that the screws are a bit loose and need to be tightened. Today I went to open the closet door, as I have every day for the past month, and guess what? It’s still got screws loose. The handle wiggles, and it’s exactly the way it was last month when I discovered this. Maybe it was six months ago, to be honest I’m not sure how long it’s been this way. It’s my own lack of motivation that keeps this problem from changing. I know it’s not going to fix itself but for some reason I can’t bring myself to change the situation.
Two weeks ago I was in Bern Switzerland listening to Ian test equipment I’d hand carried over from Elkhorn WI. Comparing equipment I started hearing a click, or maybe it was a clack. We continued to play test and the click and clack continued from the depths of his 4147IB. It was not going away!

Knowing that I’m the guy that’s supposed to be able to fix things I decided to stop ignoring the sound and I dove in.

Looking over the instrument carefully, I quickly decided that the issue was not from anywhere but the rotor area. Ian was clear in saying that it’s been doing “this” for a while and he’s not sure where the sound is coming from. After two minutes I find a rotor screw that holds down his stop arm has backed out a couple thousandths and is making the annoying noise. After grabbing a screw driver and remembering that old principle “righty tighty” the sound magically goes away.

What was left after this turning of the screw was nothing but music, and resonance. Sometimes all it takes is the initiative to not ignore the problem.
Please don’t tell my wife I wrote this blog, she might make me actually fix that closet door.

Raw Vs Refined

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Man, I can’t get rid of the sugar references but I promise this will be the last…

Yesterday I was picked up by a friend in a Subaru WRX STI which is a small little rocket ship of a car that handles like a modified go cart. As we accelerated onto the interstate I was pushed into the door from the G forces of the all-wheel drive connecting us to the road. The road noise could be heard, and every little road inconsistency felt through the car. I started comparing in my head this ride to a BMW 335D I get to ride in.

Both are capable, performance wise, of doing more than you could ever do on the road legally. They both get the job done quite well, but the BMW is a bit more refined in the approach.

Thinking of instruments that people play, and what they are after brought this full circle in my head. Many times the instruments that people want handle like these sport cars, but how they get there can be quite a difference in experience during the performance.

The handling if a bit tight can lead you exactly where you put the note, for better or worse. If the response is a bit soft in the handling the excitement of the experience can be lost as well.

Maybe it’s time to go for a drive and think about this a bit more…

Dave Taylor Concertino Reviews

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

David Taylor recently performed his new Concertino 4x’s at Bargemusic’s Here And Now Festival in New York. In a Facebook post, Dave said that he was shocked that the reviews were mostly about his composition, but that it was more surprising that the New York Times ran a photo of him to promote the festival.

Dave Taylor in the New York Times

The first review comes from New York Classical Review:

On the musicians side, there was bass trombonist David Taylor’s Concertino No. 2, with Taylor accompanied by pianist Ron Stabinsky, bassist Matthew “Moppa” Elliot, and percussionist Kevin Shea. The form was classical, with four recognizably standard movements. The style was not, though it was a fascinating hybrid of older jazz ideas heard through a prism of modernism, a more successful version of Stan Kenton’s experiments in modern composition. There were serendipities, like a fractured tribute to Tommy Dorsey and a ballad in the form of a waltz, and Taylor played with a strong, beautiful sound.

Another comes ConcertNet.com:

One would hardly know from David Taylor’s informal, talkative, delightfully informal persona that he is one of the most accomplished and eclectic musicians in the world. Specifically the trombone, and more specifically because he has worked with composers like Hovbhaness, Wuorinen, Perle, as well as Yo-Yo, Streisand, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus and… well, everybody else in the classical and jazz world.

Listening to his four-movement Concertino for Bass Trombone, Piano, Contrabass and Percussion was like listening to Ursula Oppens on piano. It was a master at work. The slightly jazzy but beautifully laid-out chamber work did go on a bit, but Mr. Taylor didn’t need any avant-garde techniques to make his point. It was big-band-style trombone style with a minimal chamber-group to support him.

Dave continues to push the musical envelope. As brass musicians, we love what he brings to his performances. It’s nice to see when others recognize what an incredible talent he is, as well.

Decompress

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

When your leadpipe-to-mouthpiece relationship is correct, a couple of magical things can happen.

The lips inside the mouthpiece can actually relax and buzz more freely since the leadpipe and mouthpiece are providing the correct amount of compression for your body.

This allows the resonance to be more complete and relaxed. Imagine if you could just focus on the music and decompress…

No more sugar!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

I’m a coffee snob, but I haven’t always been. I used to buy my coffee based on fancy labels. I’d load it down with sugar and creamer, masking the acidity, the lack of flavor, or the burnt aftertaste.

Then I started roasting my own coffee beans. I quickly found that I had a better product than anything available to me in southeastern Wisconsin. I now drink my coffee naked. It has flavor without the fillers.

I never knew that what I’d been drinking for decades was of such low quality.

I think a lot of musicians can experience the same thing with their instruments. When a horn doesn’t work for them, they add creamers and sweeteners, trying to overcome their instruments’ underlying problems. Tension creeps in. Intonation suffers. Sound quality and resonance are less than what they could be.

They’ve never experienced what is possible with an instrument that is completely natural for them.

Our main goal is to fine-tune instruments for our customers. We strive to achieve a balance of sound, color, resonance, and clarity. Many times this can be accomplished in a single visit. But we do have customers that visit from more regularly, staying on top of their changing needs.

It might be time to take a look at your horn and everything you’re adding to it to make it work for you. I’m not saying sugar is bad. Well, yes I am.

First Date

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

I see people having their first date with a new instrument, if not daily, certainly weekly.

From the time an individual walks through the Edwards door you can almost sense their anticipation, for that first look .

Walking into the room can be a bit intimidating at first, until you realize that it’s not a big deal to have this first date. You can always walk away without any emotional or bank account scars.

Now it’s time to play. First instinct is to push the boundaries and see what this new relationship can be, but alas first the customary warm up to find the boundaries of sound and partial feel. Too wide? Too narrow? Too much Compression? Too little and all of a sudden you’re falling into the horn wondering if you’ve wasted your day travelling to all places, Elkhorn Wisconsin.

That is until, you find something that’s intriguing.

“Wait, this feels so natural my face is relaxing”. There’s depth of sound in the low register, while my face is not aching with fatigue in the upper register. Where have you been all my life? Why haven’t I had you in my arms before today?

One of the saddest things, is to see the look on the player’s face once this moment has happened. Often, they will glance sadly at their previous relationship sitting on an instrument stand as it has, so faithfully, in the past. The two try not to look at each other knowing it’s for the best, that this new relationship, that started with this innocent first date, has turned into something more. More that was never possible in their previous relationship.

Introducing the B502

Friday, August 28th, 2015

B502-I

Our customers have been asking for a Rotax bass trombone for quite some time. After years of development, we’re happy to announce that the B502 is now ready for purchase. We’ve been testing it in the marketplace for over a year. In that time, refinements have been made to our original designs. As we continually strive for perfection, we reserve the right to make changes to the B502 (and all of our horns).

Our goal when building the B502 was simple — to maintain a consistent sound throughout every register. More to the point, we wanted that sound to be “trombone-like”, especially in the mid and upper registers. Gone are the WOOFTONES of the 90’s. This horn has plenty of clarity and sparkle, allowing you to express your musical ideas no matter the setting.

The B502-I has independent Rotax valves, either an unsoldered yellow or rose brass bell, and your choice of a single or dual bore slide. The slide has rose brass outer tubes, a yellow end crook, and nickel oversleeves. The leadpipe is removable to allow you to find the best mouthpiece and leadpipe combination to fit your needs.

B502’s with yellow bells have rose brass valve wrap tubing which provides some brilliance when played at louder volumes. You’ll also be amazed at how resonant this instrument is at softer dynamics. Many times, an instrument can become “small” when played softly. This results in a distant sound for the listener. We overcame this tendency through numerous sessions with the incredible talent we’re fortunate to work with in their home venues. The independent B502’s was designed with James Markey of the Boston Symphony. We started this project while he was still a member of the New York Philharmonic, so we heard the B502-I-Y performed in New York City, Boston, and Tanglewood during development.

Like the B502-I, the B502-D is available with with a yellow or rose brass bell and a single or dual bore slide. Mark Hoelsher (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Gerry Pagano (St. Louis Symphony) were instrumental in the development of the dependent version. Mark came to Elkhorn every month to work with us until we were completely satisfied that this horn met all of his musical needs. After that, we put the first prototype in Gerry Pagano’s hands. He immediately enjoyed the resonance and character of the sound and helped us to refine the horn even more over the next two years.

Trombones of the Kennedy Center Recital

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Kennedy Center

UPDATE: The concert video is now available in the Millennium Stage archives.

The Trombones of the Kennedy Center will present a recital on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center on April 4 at 6pm. The event is free (no tickets required) and will be streamed live and archived at www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium.

The group features the trombone sections of the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera Orchestra, with special guest Peter Ellefson and guest conductor Chris Branagan. This promises to be a fantastic recital, so be sure to watch it online if you can’t be there in person.

Repertoire

  • Handel, Overture to Royal Fireworks Music
  • Brahms, Fest und Gedenkspruche, Op. 18
  • Bourgeois, Scherzo Funebre
  • Crespo, Etude in the Style of Bruckner
  • Jacob, Trombone Octet

Personnel

  • Craig Mulcahy, Principal Trombone, NSO
  • Barry Hearn, Associate Principal Trombone, NSO
  • David Murray, Second Trombone, NSO
  • Matt Guilford, Bass Trombone, NSO
  • Lee Rogers, Principal Trombone, WNO
  • Doug Rosenthal, Second Trombone, WNO
  • Stephen Dunkel, Bass Trombone, WNO
  • Peter Ellefson, special guest trombonist, Indiana University
  • Chris Branagan, Guest Conductor, Washington Trombone Ensemble

We’re thrilled that so many of the above performers choose to play our instruments.

Trombone Shorty Featured in 60 Minutes Story on Dave Grohl

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are traveling the country to discover the origins of American music. The rock band is collaborating with local musicians in eight US cities for a project that will result in a new album as well as a documentary series. The latter, titled Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, can be seen Friday evenings on HBO.

While in New Orleans, the band worked with Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty. In the 60 Minutes clip below, you’ll catch a glimpse of Troy with his T302. Later in the story, you’ll hear him perform with the band on a borrowed horn.

Dave Taylor Presents Bargemusic Concerts

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Bass trombonists don’t usually enjoy the limelight, but Dave Taylor isn’t your typical bass trombonist. After performing Vamps Dance for Violin and Bass Trombone and The Banned Bamboozler (accompanied by the New York Trombone Consort) at Bargemusic, he scored a half page photo and article in the New York Times. The article is available online.

As usual, Dave has been maintaining a busy performing and recording schedule. Next summer, he’s going to be a featured artist at the International Trombone Festival in Valencia, Spain. More details to follow.

Dave Taylor in the New York Times

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