FLEXUS - Trumpet calisthenics
for the modern improvisor
with Laurie Frink (and John McNeil Note)
have called the book "FLEXUS" - why that name?
who designed the interior of the book came up with the name. Many of the
exercises are aimed at improving flexibility and Flexus seemed like an appropriate
other part of the title is "Trumpet calisthenics for the modern
improvisor". What is trumpet calisthenics?
refers to exercises that help to prepare the body to play music. They are
muscular demands, not musical. Your brain, heart and soul play music. The
muscles of your body make the instrument function. Calisthenics address this muscular
did this book project start?
idea for this book began about 20 years ago. John and I have often discussed
the lack of exercises that address the physical demands that are faced by an
the introduction you say: "FLEXUS
synthesizes the teaching techniques of Laurie Frink, John McNeil and
Carmine Caruso ". Could
you say something more about that?
John and I have
both been teachers/performers for 30+ years and we both studied with
Carmine Caruso. Caruso asked us to help his ideas continue to evolve and we have
both tried to do that in our teaching.
was your teacher. What was it about him, a saxophone player teaching
Caruso was a
Master Teacher -- it didn't matter WHAT instrument he played!
while ago I saw a person asking this: "Has
anybody tried those real fancy lip bends in Frink/O'Neil FLEXUS? I can
not get anywhere near the range she has on the bends, I can do the
major seconds but the minor thirds are out of my reach." What
can you say to this person?
It is not
uncommon to practice an exercise for several months before being able to execute
it freely and easily. He should continue gaining comfort on major seconds - and
slow down - the thirds will come when they are ready. The exercises in Flexus
are skill builders, not music. the benefits from exposing the body to the
physical demand of the calisthenic will creep into your playing. How well you
play an exercise is irrelevant
is a demo CD, where you, Laurie, play some of the exercises, and you
and John McNeil talk on tracks called "discussion". Any tips on how to
take good advantage of the CD?
The cd is meant
to clarify concepts by example and discussion. If someone is unclear
how an exercise should be practiced, the answer is probably on the cd
can people get this book/CD?
Laurie Frink: I answered all the
questions and John agreed with my
answers so had nothing to add.
Laurie Frink has been a
freelance trumpet player in New York City since the 1970's. In addition
to extensive recording work, she has played trumpet with Benny
Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Lewis, Maria Schneider, Andrew Hill, Dave
Liebman and Kenny Wheeler. She is a member of the faculties of New York
University The New School and the Manhattan School of Music.
John McNeil is a jazz
trumpet player living in Brooklyn, New York. He has played with Horace
Silver, Gerry Mulligan, The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and many
others. John has led his own groups since the late 1970's and has
recorded many critically acclaimed CD's. He is also an active
writer/producer on the New York jazz scene.