[Dixielandjazz] Fw: [TPIN] A sound to die for

Bob Romans cellblk7 at attbi.com
Sun Mar 16 18:13:51 PST 2003

Hello all...
Do any of our listees in Florida know Leon Merian? Read below...not OKOM,
but I have his books and CD's, and he can PLAY!!! Yeah...about 80 ą a

Lessons with Leon (Merian)

  I, too, had the privilege of some coaching from our mentor Leon
  Merian.  His help has made a tremendous positive difference in my
  playing.  My recent session concerned sound; initially, he played some
  notes and I said, "I want to sound more like that".  I would describe
  his sound as full and resonant with a live center.  Think of Bobby
  Hackett on the Jackie Gleason albums in the middle register and think
  of Harry James in the upper register.  Of course, in detail we're all
  unique.  Leon has his gorgeous sound live, not the result of
  processing to get the sound we often hear on recordings.

  What should be done to achieve a decent sound? All this has been said
  before: my embouchure notes from the session stress (1) firm corners
  to keep the chin out, (2) a "sneer" before the set to flatten the
  upper lip against the teeth  (3) tongue positioned between the teeth
  to make the notes "pop".  Breathing notes are simple: "keep the air
  on!"  Easier said than done...  I commented on lots of bad habits in
  my playing and Leon responded "You and 500,000 other trumpet

  Later, a stop at Bongo's to hear the big band.  Thursdays are
  apparently sold out at least 2 weeks in advance, but last-minute folks
  can hang out in the bar.  Leon leads a great band with much talent on
  every part, including lead alto from Harry James, bass from Ellington,
  a Ukrainian drummer who is "all over" that drum set.   Leon leads the
  ballads with a wonderful soaring sound, his up-tempo tunes
  swing...hard.  He shares the spotlight with many soloists (he doesn't
  need to prove anything at this point). He knows how to work the crowd
  to set a warm give-and-take relationship that certainly spells
  s-u-c-c-e-s-s at keeping this gig alive.  How many other groups can
  pack them in once a week for 9 straight months, and no end in sight?

  There's a lot to learn from Leon, from individual approach to the
  trumpet to the business of bringing jazz to a public venue.  Consider
  this strong encouragement to find a way to Bradenton (FL) and see how
  this pro does it.

  Don Scott



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