Maurice Spears Visits Elkhorn
Recently we were graced with a day full of amazing trombone players. I was fortunate to end up working with bass trombonist Maurice Spears, a man with a very diverse recording history on the West Coast. Maurice stopped in while on tour with the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra during their Milwaukee stop. Maurice is still quite active both on stage and behind the mic.
For most of his playing, Maurice uses his beautiful satin-finished Edwards B454, but he came in with the goal of finding a straight bass setup that would allow him to play a few tenor parts when needed.
While I was working with Maurice, Christan was working with the Trombones De Costa Rica. TCR played for Maurice, and it was an utter treat. They are capable of performing classical music in the same relaxed nature as jazz musicians play in a jam session.
Once we got back on task, we were able to find a great blend of a sound for Maurice. Using his existing slide, we came up with a 927CF bell (9″, 23 gauge yellow brass bell). Coupled with a rose brass tuning slide and our straight bass neckpipe (BN400), his B454 became quite flexible and interesting in texture. I then went ahead and tweaked a B1 brass leadpipe along with the addition of a Griego 3.5NY mouthpiece. Overall it was a very clean bass/tenor sound that Maurice found very comfortable. As a finishing touch, Maurice requested that his name be etched in the bell for posterity. It turned out very well, if we do say so ourselves!