Big Bands

Big Bands

In the 1940s,50s and 60s, big bands flourished – Basie, Ellington, Kenton, Rich, Herman, to name just a few – and they created lots of exciting jobs for fiery young trumpet players. And those talented young sidemen went off to start their own big bands – Maynard, Goodwin, Quincy, Thad, Wilson. I, for one, miss those days. As a friend quipped when I demonstrated for him my ‘double high G’ , “You’ll be all set if those bands ever come back! Lucky for us, the Internet provides a nostalgic link. A simple click brings back the awesome excitement. Take a peak at some of my favorites on this page, and let me know of others you’d like to see here.

Below – a CBS documentary from 1957 featuring the Basie and Ellington bands and smaller groups legends both then and now. Sit back and enjoy!

Working the Hollywood Studios – Every Modern Trumpet Player’s Dream
Probably the best link for this is http://www.lastudiomusicians.org/. In the old days, the 1940s and 50s, so much was happening music-wise in Los Angeles, top trumpet players could pick and choose gigs. Shuttle buses carried musicians from studio to studio so they could meet their crushing schedules. It is said that lead player Manny Klein sometimes tried to arrive at a studio early so he could steal 4th chair and save his chops for other gigs that day. Lead guys weren’t allowed to put in subs but 3rd and 4th guys could. Today the digital revolution is devouring those jobs. The men working today may be the last of a breed.
Below is video of 65th Birthday tribute to Don Thomas, featuring the trumpet playing of Don Thomas and son, John Thomas. Filmed in 1988. This video features some of the finest studio musicians in Los Angeles during that period. Musicians included are: Don and John Thomas, Uan Rasey, Gary Grant, Snooky Young, John Audino, Charlie Loper, Dick Nash, Bob Payne, Harold Garrett, Bill Byrne, Terry Harrington, Kim Richmond, Jon Kip, Roger Newman, Jim Cox, Dave Stone, Gregg Field, Grant Geissman.

Rick Baptist – the biggest of them –
(in more ways than one!!)
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Rick Baptist
Rick is Principal trumpet on “The Bourne Supremacy”, “Bubble Boy”, “The Chronicles Of Riddick”, “Daredevil”, “Eight Legged Freaks”, “Evolution”, “Fantastic Four”, “The Italian Job”, “National Treasure”, “Paycheck”, “Rocky Balboa”, “Rush Hour 2”, “Superman Returns” “XXX”. He was also lead trumpet on “Dancing With The Stars”. http://www.lastudiomusicians.org/
Yesterday the most famous Big Band trumpet brothers were Conte and Pete Candoli – charter members of Stan Kenton Orchestra.
Then it was the turn of brothers Chuck & Bob Findley. Monster horn players (especially Chuck), they made their names working the big bands and the recording studios. Here they talk about a bully band leader named Buddy Rich and about Carmine Caruso, the New York brass teacher renowned for producing trumpet chops like no one before him.