Music and Languages

So many times I’ve wondered how a musician can interpret various kinds of music styles and sound genuine in all of them.

Being that one of my goals when I play music, my guess is a musician that has achieved it, really respects all music styles, even if he/she doesn’t like them.

Hard to do, but if we can’t get ourselves to respect a music style, how could we possibly get to play it and sound correctly?

Interpretation is on our hands.  We are the messengers of Art.  From us, is that the public hears it and hopefully will listen.

And that is another reason.  A musician that achieves the goal of sounding genuine in many styles, is capable if listening, not just hearing.

Listening to the little but huge nuances that particular style includes.  Understanding what it is that separates the great interpretations from the average.


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Ahh, Technology…

Here are two somewhat complicated matters that I’m very interested in knowing your opinions about.

1)  With all the improvements in technology, where almost anyone with little or no talent can sound like a million bucks after a lot of editing, I still think that recordings should sound like recordings and live should sound live.  Is it responsible to keep blurring the frontier between recordings and live?


2) How much editing is enough?  It’s almost a rhetoric question, but, should we see music at the same level as photography, where many people use Photo Shop to death?  Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate all that’s happening with technology and love copy and paste, but Shouldn’t we practice more and make sure we are able to play a lot easier the hard shit that we sometimes have to record?

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Things I sometimes think about:

Would this be a better world without politicians or without lobbyists that seduce politicians?
Would this be a better world without drugs or without the cowardly need to NOT see things the way they are and escape from them?
Would this be a better world without tuners or without the lazy attitude of not adjusting our notes?
Would this be a better world without record labels or without incompetent people that don’t know shit about music, but say they know what people want to hear, but don’t know that either?
Would this be a better world without gossip shows or without the need to make fun of our fellow humans and see their misfortune and bad behavior?
Would this be a better world without money or without the need to show every one that we have more than they do?
Would this be a better world without dumb people or without the «certainty» that we already know all we need to know?
Would this be a better world with only one language?
Would this be a better world without the attitude of seeing sports as a religion or without the attitude of seeing religion as a sport?
Would this be a better world if a burglar would have to think twice about breaking into a home, because there is 100% chance there will be firearms, people that know how to use them and if the burglar gets killed, that’s the end of it?
Would this be a better world if parents would unite again with teachers and allow the teacher to smack the trouble student and the parent would smack the son/daughter harder when he/she gets back home?

There’s more, but I don’t want to bore you, he he.

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Why I don’t record in Demos

Maybe this will sound weird to some of you, because after all, Demos are an essential part of the Music Industry.
My viewpoint regarding this matter is that, when you get called to record in a Demo, you don’t play less well because it is a Demo.  You play as usual.  Also, you invest (or loose) the same amount of time recording a Demo than recording the official version of the song.  Then, many times, when that Demo makes it in an album, the person who called almost crying and in a hurry to ask you to record the Demo, forgets about you. It’s happened to me.

So I decided many years ago that I don’t record in Demos for other people, at least not for a lower fee and definitely NOT for free.  When I get called to do a Demo I charge the same amount as if it were the official album version.

Additionally, there’s not much need to use the full band live in a Demo, because the concept “Demo” includes the acceptance of bad instrument sounds and almost zero live instruments (al least from my perspective).  The purpose of a Demo is to show the potential client a musical idea, a song or a production concept.

I know some of you have lived a few horror stories regarding this.

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Suggestion for arrangers and copyists

In every chart there are sections that repeat a few times, being the Intro, verse, chorus, etc.  Recently I’ve observed that many arrangers and copyists are not clearly specifying how many times those sections are supposed to repeat.

It is true that if the section is to be played a total of 4 times, the first ending would have a «1. 2. 3.» and the last ending would have a «4.»

For example:

That’s all good, but when one is sight reading the chart, one needs as much help as possible.

It would be of great help to specify the total of times right at the beginning of the section.  For example:

That simple «4X» could mean the difference between having everyone at the same place and the Band sounding like ass, because chances are that at least one guy won’t realize how many times the section should be played.


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The importance of the 2nd trumpet player

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.

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