I met Byron by way of Berklee College of Music in Boston. I believe we were attending Berklee about the same time. I may have crossed paths with him via the Sacramento Jazz Music scene. One of my best trumpet player friends was a local Sacramento Jazz trumpeter named Anthony Coleman. I also attended some Sacramento Jazz camps like the Sacramento Trad Jazz Camp a few times, as a youth, and I’m sure we played sessions together coming up as musicians.
I got together questions for Byron, as I noticed he is a musician, paving the way for other Jazz music artists in the Sacramento music scene.
Here are some questions I asked him:
What does your daily life consist of? Do you sleep in late and just go to sessions at night? Six days a week?
Daily life is spent hustling for gigs, pushing my bands, practicing, performing etc. There’s only one weekly session in my city. I go when I can, but not very often: I sleep in when I can, but not very often.
What is it really like being a “Jazz musician”? Is it really a job?
Yes, it’s a full time job. Most of the work is unpaid, but required.
Do you still practice every day or week?
I try and practice whenever possible. Ideally daily.
Whats your favorite style of music to listen to?
How do you think the saxophone related to the trumpet and trumpet playing?
It’s fun to try and play like a trumpet on the saxophone. The timbres go really well together.
What’s your advice to young and up and coming aspiring Jazz musicians and musicians?
Unless you just want it to be a hobby, you should commit your life to music. Commit or quit.
Do you suggest any health related activities for musicians? If so, what is your recommended fitness plan?
Treat your body and mind well. You will go farther. Meditation, and physical activity that you have fun doing.
And also, check out his bands music:
Howard is one of the best Jazz sax players to ever come out of the SF Bay Area, in my opinion.
I sat in with a cover band from Napa called, "Band 707." I got there late, and they were on their last set of practice. But I was able to sit in on about a dozen tunes.
Today was a great day.. I had the opportunity to practice some improvised music with Peter Eisenberg (vibes/synth), and Oliver Knill (drum set), in Napa.
Peter Eisenberg on vibes and synth..
Oliver Knill, on drum set.
I got a request to recommend a professionnal level trumpet, in silver lacquer, for $800 or less.
Being a professional trumpet player.. also playing trumpet consistently for the last twenty plus years, I immediately thought, "avoid certain types of trumpets," which are usually the "unheard of brands," that I have rarely seen in any big bands or played by professional trumpeters. These trumpets are usually cheaply made and the way they are made is not very consistent.. simply put - the valves stick.
After doing some research, with my scope of experience about trumpets, I came across the used Benge trumpets. I found a handful for under $800, in silver.
So that is my latest professional trumpet recommendation.. for a A Professional Trumpet, In Silver, For $800 Or Less.
Check them out here and keep on woodsheddin!
And if you ever need some buying advice for a budget you have or something in particular.. let me know how I can help.
I think its a good idea to train your body, being a trumpeter.
I discovered "body building", weight lifting through my brother, an ex division one baseball player. I used to be a pretty good baseball player from t-ball through 9th grade, and then I stopped my athleticism to focus on "music" and trumpet playing.
But the last year or so, I really have tried to commit to showing up to the gym six days a week. At first I was really out of shape and could barely do anything! Right now, I feel my stamina has increased and I know how to "lift" a little better, without injuring myself.
I prefer to lift light and every now and then, will try to lift heavy. But lifting heavy is just not too enjoyable, unless you really want to show off and there is a lot of people around - could make it a fun social event.
But I have figured out that lifting light weight, with a lot of reps, is probably the way to go for now. I am feeling stronger and muscles seem a little more pumped.
So, I highly suggest, as trumpeters, that we train in some manner, on a daily basis, six days a week.
I do remember hearing that Miles Davis was into boxing at one time and that it helped him in his trumpet playing.
Keep the body strong, and I'm sure it will help the trumpet chops as well.
I rate this book #2, along with the Arban’s book, for trumpeters.
I truly am engulfed in the American Culture of “Jazz,” and was deeply affected by it. America’s culture is truly a melting pot of things.
Charlie Parker’s music, is more than just “B.A.M.” (Black American Music), it is something near spiritual plateau, that is not physical. It is something with spiritual plateau, that I still appreciate to this day.
There are not many music artists who are able to record in some of the world’s top recording studios, for several occasions, and even yet, get a satisfactory production. There’s only a handful of musical “greats,” and Charlie “The Bird” Parker was one of them. He even sounded great in his live performances.
He’s like the Shakespeare of alto sax, in American Music.
I highly recommend adding this book as soon as you can, to your arsenal of woodshedding material.
The benefits? I feel like my level of musicality is enhanced just by woodshedding one day with the book. I have of course woodsheded much more than that with this book. Years, I have spent.
To think outside the characteristics of a trumpet, and think more like a sax player, can definitely help your trumpet chops. But just the musical development of such a great music artist, may indeed rub off on you just a bit, if you decide to woodshed this material. Pure greatness is in this book and was also put here as a great inspiration.
Order the book.. send me an email.. visit the online shop, at www.robertstrumpetshop.com and also some more tips at www.robertstrumpetblog.com.
Keep in touch, and keep on woodsheddin!
"Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art."
Out of all the books I've owned through the past twenty plus years as a trumpeter, I felt like the Arban's book has been "the" book.
To me, it's the "trumpet bible" for trumpeters.
I used to practice eight hours a day (or as much as I could possibly practice), while attending Berklee in Boston; until my lip was so beat up, I had a scar on my top lip.
I learned a lot going through the book and it was definitely a ton of fun using this book in college. The chops I have to this very day are partly owed to going through that book.
Right now, I sort of developed my own exercises, which I have not had time to notate, but I feel like I have developed "my own licks," which I hope to someday notate.
But in the mean time, the best advice I can give to a beginner, intermediate and even practicing professionals, is to make sure you have this book in your practice room. Get one for your students or have them get one.
Also, be sure to visit my trumpet shop, Robert's Trumpet Shop at http://robertstrumpetshop.com, and pick up whatever you need, from beginner equipment professional. There is also a SHOP tab on this site.
Keep on trumpeting trumpeters and please stay in touch.. drop me a line.
The horn section on Tribal Seeds EP, "Rude Girl," is really nicely played and written. I don't know the trumpeter personally or the sax player, but they did a great job of recording on this tune. One online blogger wrote:
"What else do you need for the perfect night? It’s more than nice to have the one special person you love at your side. That, Tribal Seeds assures us in the next, vivid tune Empress which is dedicated to a girl. A girl is also the main topic in the fifth track, Rude Girl, only this girl is not entirely nice. Torn between dedication and desperation, the singer goes nuts about a girl who is making a total mess out of him. Additional musicians on the sax, trumpet, and trombone give this tune the special touch."
The horn section is actually three horns! My fault! Great job horn section. I hope to meet you guys one day, if I can make it to a Tribal Seeds show soon.
I really think trumpets and other horn players really take music to the next level.
Support your fellow horn players. Get a copy of this.
I highly recommend spending time listening to Chet Baker's Big Band album. It was one of the first big influencers on my concept of sound, as far as what I thought the trumpet should sound like.
When I heard the Chet Baker Big Band (given to me on a copied tape cassette from one of my dad's, in the sixth grade), I knew that CB's sound was different.
I didn't hear a blaring, "annoying" trumpet sound, but a lyrical and "cool" trumpet playing. I knew I was going to try and adopt that concept of sound, so I listened to this album for years, to be frank.
I still get satisfaction from hearing it to this day.
I highly recommend getting a legit copy, either off Amazon, iTunes and you can even get copies on Ebay. Links provided below.
DM or email me with any questions and trumpet coaching advice I can provide. Be happy to help. And feel free to leave a comment on your thoughts.