Most trumpet players want to be or become a Lead trumpet player. There even are situations where two players arrive to a gig and both want to grab the Lead book. You can see them almost arguing over that. That’s nonsense! Funny that in this case, the guy who doesn’t get to play the Lead book can make life absolutely miserable to the guy who “won” the Lead book this time.
Hence, the 2nd trumpet player’s importance. The attitude and aptitude of the 2nd trumpet player can make or break the Lead trumpet player’s work and that’s why that chair is one of the least understood and probably, the most underestimated of the section.
My favorite chair to play is the 2nd trumpet chair, really. But for that, I absolutely need a consistent and accurate Lead trumpet player. Otherwise, I’ll never know where to release my notes or where to step on the gas to help him or where to let go to let him “sing”.
If I’m playing Lead, I expect my 2nd trumpet player to be on the lookout for my life (my chops) and help me when I need him to be there for me. I need him to follow my releases, my breaths, my vibratos (sometimes), the length of my drops and MOST importantly, I expect him to NEVER overpower me. I can play pretty loud, but many times I choose to play with a quality, projecting tone, strong enough to be heard by the whole band, assuming they are really listening (which is a different topic).
There are many aspects to this and I only wanted to open the door for a discussion on the topic. We all need and want to play in a great, balanced trumpet section. That’s not always attainable because of the lack of knowledge and the abundance of some Super Egos out there. That said, it is possible to sound awesome as a section no matter who is playing with whom.
The second trumpet player is a very valuable asset. Treat him well. He can kill you, he he.