Last night after everyone had gone to bed, I was laying on the couch listening to jazz. After checking out the normal stuff I dig these days, I got a little bored and asked myself, “what do I really want to listen to?”
Two tunes instantly popped into my head, and the second of which I was able to find online using my phone, so I went with that.
It was Rob McConnell’s recording of “The Waltz I Blew for You,” from the 1980 album “Present Perfect.” Now, if you don’t know about this record, check it out. It’s awesome. This particular chart is fantastic with great solos by Eugene Amaro on flute, Sam Noto on trumpet, and of course, our man Arnie Chykoski is playing his *ss off on lead trumpet. I had this side on LP in college, and listened to it until it melted.
So anyways, when I woke up this morning, rather than practicing piccolo trumpet for my Easter gig, I decided to transcribe the lead trumpet part from one of the band solis. This is something Jay Saunders used to have his studio regularly do back at UNT, and it’s really good for you (thanks, Jay).
The idea is to cop the style off the recording as close as possible (do it by ear/memory/don’t write it down), record yourself, and see how you did. It’s also good to be able to tell other people what you are hearing to help you really internalize the nuances.
So seven years later, I’m doing my homework, and here’s what most recently struck me about Arnie’s playing:
- His time feel is right on top of the beat the whole time. He’s not trying to be hip and lay back. He’s just trucking right along with the rhythm section (listening back to my own attempt, I might have gotten a bit ahead on a few sections. You can be the judge of that).
- He articulates most every note. I find it’s easy to get a bit lazy sometimes, and start slurring around above the staff. In this recording he is not doing that. Each note is clearly defined. Be like Arnie.
- The notes are short and crisp. No “shooooooooooort” notes here.
- His sound is ballsy as hell the whole time. In fact, I always assumed this tune was in a higher key because of the edge he gets even in the mid-range. He plays a top space E with sizzle for crying out loud.
Here’s my take. I’m not totally nailing Arnie’s signature sound, but it’s a start. I also recorded this on my iPhone, so please bear with the recording quality – I will do better!
You can buy the original recording here – IT’S WORTH IT!!!
Try this for yourself. The lead parts you transcribe don’t have to be high. Just get into the player’s head a little bit. You won’t regret it.
PS: I wrote an eBook on making trumpet playing easier.
Till next time!