[Dixielandjazz] Does Brookmeyer play a valve trombone like a slide? :-) VBG

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 24 08:30:50 PDT 2006

Got to love this snip from 2004 article about valve trombonist Bob
Brookmeyer after a performance in NYC. Apparently some folks may even think
Brookmeyer sounds more like a slider than JJ Johnson. :-) VBG

Steve Barbone

Mind Over Matter

At 74, maverick valve trombonist demonstrates that there's still life after
J.J. Johnson . . . Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra

2004 Village Voice Article

Certain great writers‹Hemingway, obviously, Whitney Balliett and Lester
Bangs in my own backyard‹were meant to be admired, not emulated; they're
lousy influences because their idiosyncrasies resist imitation while
inviting it. Something similar is true in jazz, where the stumbling block
will more likely be insufficient technique . . .

A more earthbound example would be J.J. Johnson, an untouchable virtuoso who
adapted Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie to trombone in the late 1940s and
sent a generation-plus of post-bop trombonists on a wild-goose chase.

A maverick among Johnson's immediate contemporaries for not even trying to
catch up with him was Bob Brookmeyer. . . Brookmeyer is still going his own
way at 74. His independence started with his valve trombone, practically a
different instrument from J.J.'s slide and one rarely employed in jazz
before or since (one of its few earlier proponents was the Ellingtonian Juan
Tizol). Along with yielding a brighter, more piquant sound, valves are
supposed to allow a trombonist greater ease of articulation, turning the
horn into an oversized trumpet.

But jazz musicians have always exercised mind over matter in mastering their
instruments, and a classical listener hearing recordings might be fooled
into thinking that it was Brookmeyer and not Johnson who was extending a
slide. Brookmeyer's tone is muffled and more rumpled than Johnson's, and he
retains more of the traditional trombone vocabulary, most notably the broad
smears that bebop's lickety-split tempos pretty much ruled out. 

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