Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 12:46:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Rich Willey
Subject: [TPIN] The Answer!!!
Those of you who play small group jazz gigs might understand the
dilemma of developing and maintaining the necessary endurance to make
it through demanding small group jazz gigs after a string of days with
I've wrestled with this for a long time, trust me, and after much
experimentation, trial and error (mostly error, I'm afraid), I may have
finally come up with *the answer* to this recurring endurance challenge.
(The irony is that I've done this in the past and had forgotten about
What I've been doing lately is starting my day on bass trumpet (I
remember reading that Nick Drozdoff does this) and "just blowing" many
times, stopping each time before my chops start to feel tired (which
can be a long time . . . on bass trumpet my arms will get tired of
holding the instrument to my face long before my chops start feeling
Later in the day, I'll pick up my trumpet and do one of my Reinhardt
(or Reinhardt related) warm-up drills and spend maybe a half-hour to 45
minutes playing. Then later, I'll do a long session of technical
studies, repeating each one 4 to 8 (or more) times on trumpet, putting
it down and doing the same one 4 to 8 (or more) times on bass trumpet,
and then working through all the keys that way. I'm using my Variations
on Clarke's Second Study complete with the 12 standard articulations
which helps greatly in disciplining myself to stay on task.
After 45-60 minutes or so of this, I take another good rest. Then later
I'll pick up my trumpet and "just blow" over some changes that I've
been working on or that I need to be working on. I usually end my day
playing some ballads in a sustained, cantabile fashion to serenade my
wife who's usually asleep by then, anyway.
Five or six days of this when I have no gigs or rehearsals has gotten
me through two jazz quartet gigs in the past two weeks (me and a rhythm
section) and those gigs usually leave me ready to be hauled out of the
place on a stretcher. The past two times, though, at the end of the gig
I was feeling pretty much fresh as a daisy, ready to play another gig.
My mantra in the past has been, "If I played a gig like this every
night, I could play a gig like this every night."
I doubt that many orchestral players ever have to deal with the extreme
endurance challenges of the improvising jazz player who must keep the
mouthpiece on the face playing chorus after chorus, tune after tune,
set after set . . . complicated by several days before that without a
gig or rehearsal.
Anyway, this has been working for me . . . I'll let you know how it
goes next week.
Anybody else found "the answer" to this kind of extreme endurance