Roy “Little Jazz” Eldridge: A Above Double-C

Big thanks to trumpeter Roger Ingram (recordings) for posting this picture of Roy Eldridge (recordings) on FB. Fascinating insight into the embouchure of one of the giants of jazz, mentor and idol of Dizzy Gillespie. As Ingram points out, Eldridge could play an A above double-C (evidence in the Basie Band recording below these pics).

Here’s the album cover as it is. Notice that the picture is backwards, then check out the mouthpiece! Also note the pistol grip Eldridge uses.

I’ll correct the reverse image, then give you a closeup of his aperture.

RoyEldridge_visualizer mouthpiece

Here it is the right way round:

RoyEldridge_visualizer mouthpiece_reverse

And here’s as close as I could get without too much pixellation:

RoyEldridge_visualizer mouthpiece_closeup

Notice the top-to-bottom lip ratio and everything else about it. Pretty cool glimpse into the technique of this grand master on the horn. Don’t know about Little Jazz? Listen to him scream the A above Double-C on the recording below. He starts screaming around 2:20.

Another big thanks to Roger Ingram for sharing this.

Bobby Hackett, Charlie Shavers, Doc Severinsen, and… Steve Allen?


The great Bobby Hackett, Charlie Shavers, and Doc Severinsen are joined by a surprising fourth member–talk show host Steve Allen–for a burning trumpet quartet rendition of Charlie Shavers’s tune Undecided. Everybody takes a solo.

Freddie Hubbard’s Trumpet Solo on Billy Joel’s “Zanzibar”

Freddie Hubbard blows a mean solo at 3:00. Get a free transcription of it here.



High Note Secrets from Allen Vizzutti

Great advice from the amazing Allen Vizzutti [vids, music, books]. Airstream, aperture, and mouthpiece advice. Just cleaned up my Marcinkiewicz Vizzutti model E12*A in preparation for selling it.:-)

Timely Tune. Still True. And Benny Bailey Killing It on Trumpet

The words of this tune resonate today. And Benny Bailey is still killing it. Great plunger mute use.

Les McCann (p), Eddie Harris (ts), Benny Bailey (trumpet) [vids, music], Leroy Vinegar (b), Donald Dean (d) in 1969 at Montreux jazz fest: Compared to What?

Great album. Get it.

Trigger-happy: Solve (some) Intonation Woes

Playing with a tuner will not get your horn in tune. A tuner will help to get your horn in the ballpark, but just about every note on the horn is naturally either sharp or flat.

One of the most notorious out-of-tune notes (because it’s the worst) is this low C#,low C-sharp which is almost 1/4-step sharp! You’re halfway to D if you don’t use your triggers and your ears. Watch  any trumpeter on video (the good ones, anyway), and you’ll see them using triggers all the time. That’s because it’s less tiring to use a trigger to get in tune than it is to lip a note in tune.

Neverland Meme_LOWD-C-sharp

There are lots of reasons for the intonation problems on the horn, from poor playing and air support to the physics of sound, to the construction of the trumpet itself. Aside from poor playing habits, the reason isn’t all that important. What is important is that you hear and fix these naturally occurring intonation problems.

First challenge: hearing intonation problems. Using a tunscreenshot-itablapro-ipad_8488ed9er employs your eyeballs. This doesn’t help you at all, and in fact, seduces you into believing you’re in tune.

Playing with drones makes you use your earholes. Run, don’t walk, and get iTabla Pro to have a blast playing with drones, or play drones with a piano and the sustain pedal. I’ve posted about this before. This will help you learn to hear when you’re in (or out) of tune, and you’ll learn to immediately adjust so you’re in tune.

Enough words. This isn’t something you need to understand intellectually, it’s something you should feel. Play with drones, stare with your ears, and use your triggers.

Here’s a chart from the upcoming 4th edition of Sound the Trumpet (due some time this summer). It shows how in- or out-of-tune notes on the horn tend to be. Again, better to feel/hear this for yourself, but this is a good starting reference.



This Is Your Brain On Trumpet



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