Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Remembering Jack Sheldon

Often, I have admired world-class musicians from afar. Sometimes, we’ve rubbed elbows a bit, and more rarely, I’ve gotten to know them well. For me, Jack Sheldon fell in the second category.

My first experience with Jack Sheldon was hearing him on TV on the Merv Griffin show. My last experience was hearing him perform at the 2016 conference of the International Trumpet Guild in Anaheim, CA. To do so, he overcame remarkable physical challenges, and I think a large roomful of excellent trumpeters knew they were hearing a great and historic performance.

Along the way, I got to hear him in a few jazz clubs in L.A., and for a time, I got to play a few rehearsals with his band down in Hollywood. Unfortunately, I never got to perform with him, since when those calls came, I was busy. Certainly, just to be in a rehearsal with him was a dear experience. If you’re not familiar with his music and career, I recommend taking some time to devote to that. The Web has a lot of his work to enjoy.

But I do have a couple Jack Sheldon remembrances you probably won’t find elsewhere.

First, my undergrad school, Occidental College, had a '20s-themed (1920s, for you young pups) party every year called “Da Getaway.” Oxy is in Eagle Rock, a district of Los Angeles, CA, where at the time the Eagle Rock High School had a truly dynamite jazz band program under the leadership of John Rinaldo. Not only did they play great on their own, but some of Los Angeles’ best jazz musicians – players whose names you would know – would sit in with them. The Eagle Rock High School Jazz Band was engaged to play for live dancing at this campus-wide party, but in my freshman year, the Oxy concert band had an on-campus concert on the night of the party, so before I could hear the band, I decided to dash to my dorm room first to ditch my brown suit. (Brown suit? Why is it when they told me I needed a dark suit to perform in, they neglected to mention that brown would be the worst possible choice?) As I walked by the dorm where the big band was playing, I heard the most exquisite jazz trumpeting! Who could it possibly be? What high school kid could play like that!? Thinking they’d be playing until midnight, like my high school band did a lot, I first ditched the stupid brown suit, then returned to the dance to listen. But instead, I found the band packing up and learned that the trumpet soloist had been Jack Sheldon. Missed him (mostly) by THAT much….

Then, a few years later, my teacher – Bill Bing – invited me to a special event. About twenty local trumpet players would gather each year to play Happy Birthday for studio trumpet legend, Mannie Klein, at his home near Toluca Lake. I went three years, as I recall. We’d convene around 10 a.m. to “surprise” Mannie by playing for him and his wife in his front yard. I recall going inside and getting some cake afterward. I don’t recall now who all was there, but I do recall meeting John Audino, Malcolm McNab, and Walt Johnson for the first time. And Jack Sheldon led it all. He’d call the key, say “anna one, anna two,” and we’d all soon learn who forgot to transpose or which note it starts on.

I always thought that doing this said good things about the comradery and respect among fellow trumpet players, not only for Mannie – a hero to us all, – but for Jack Sheldon, who truly deserved to be the leader. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

For Sale: Rare Baroque Natural French Horn with nodal vents by Lowell Greer

SoCal people, this is only for sale for the next several days, so if you're interested, make an appoint to come try it right away!

I'm selling my baroque horn. Crooks and couplers by Lowell Greer. Purchased in 2008, various fire evacuations and other life surprises conspired to keep me from even beginning to learn it.

Baroque horn corpus (an "ectomy" corpus of uncertain origin; I suspect by Lowell Greer and associates), with 6 nodal vents for G to D. High and low pitch G master crooks with tuning devices, three couplers, giving F, E, and Eb when used singly, and D and C when used in pairs.

I know the picture shows it assembled incorrectly. I just thought it made a nice pic with most of the hoops joined. :)

Bell painted a lovely blue.


Local buyers presumably won't need it shipped. I'll ship to a non-local buyer in the "lower 48" for an additional $50.

Friday, October 4, 2019

For Sale: Bachalone Trumpet in D / D flat

I'm offering for sale my "Bachalone" trumpet in D and D-flat. Plays great. Sounds great. Great shape.

I had it made around 1986. Bob Malone was gaining worldwide fame with his adaptations of C trumpets, by cutting them down to E-flat trumpets (with his famous S-shaped custom leadpipes), that could also be played in D by using an alternate tuning slide. Such an instrument (in Eb/D) was played by HÃ¥kan Hardenberger on his well-known first CD (1986).

My trumpet started as a Bach large-bore C trumpet. My teacher, Rob Roy McGregor (then of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra), recommended I have Bob make mine in the keys of D and D-flat. I had a nice Schilke D/E-flat, so I didn't need another E-flat trumpet, and there are a few orchestra parts that work nicely on a D-flat trumpet, if only you have one, which almost no one does.

You can see it here in D, with the slightly longer D-flat slide alongside. It also has a "tone-ring" on the third valve. I liked it that way, so the tone ring comes with. The trumpet is not lacquered. Raw brass.

Bell is 229. Lead pipe is MC2S (Malone C2, S-shape). Serial number in the 221xxx series. It has a Bob Reeves valve alignment.

Since it was cut down from a C trumpet, it plays much more like a C trumpet than regular D trumpets. Great for playing D trumpet in an orchestra. Switch out the D tuning slide with the D-flat tuning slide, and you have a D-flat trumpet for special occasions.

I have five D trumpets with valves, and six more without valves. Some people have said this might be more than I need, so I'm selling this one. Actually, I'm also selling a long-bell Bach D trumpet. The three that will remain will suit me fine.

$2,900.00, shipped to CONUS.

Contact: ray@raymondburkhart.com

Interested SoCal locals can come test it.

For Sale: Piccolo Trumpet in C "Meister Andreas Bergmann"


This piccolo trumpet in C is one of two that I own, and believe it or not, I don't need two piccs in C. Hard to believe, I know. I'm keeping my Yamaha C picc and selling this. It has a gorgeous sound, and interestingly -- unlike other rotary valve piccolo trumpets I've played -- I can easily hold this trumpet steady and still.

It's marked "Meister Andreas Bergmann" on the bell, which I assume is the maker, but I've never found information on such a maker online. If you find anything, please share.

It all works beautifully. I don't see any dings or dents. Lacquer finish. There is one odd thing, though. The mouthpiece receiver will receive a US-style mouthpiece, but not much of it. Set up that way, I find the trumpet plays flat. But I have other European-made trumpets that are not designed to use a US-style trumpet mouthpiece shank shape, so this isn't a surprise for me. (And no, cornet mouthpieces don't work, either.) My Yamaha C picc also receives, just barely, a US-shaped trumpet mouthpiece shank, but it also cannot be brought up to pitch. So, I had John Mason -- a local brass specialist -- cut down and reshape the shanks on a couple of trumpet mouthpieces to fit the receiver on the mouthpipe on this instrument (and the Yamaha C pic). I'll include one of those mouthpieces in the sale of this trumpet, if the buyer wants it. It's a Yamaha 14B4, which is what I normally play on piccolo, but with the shank shortened and the taper altered to fit.

For me and other players, a piccolo trumpet in C is an ideal instrument on which to play JS Bach's 2nd Brandenburg Concerto. For one thing, the top A (on a Bb piccolo trumpet), -- the highest note in Brandenburg 2 -- is a G on the C piccolo, thus an open note on the harmonic series of the instrument, and it just speaks more easily and reliably.

$1,400.00, shipped to CONUS.

Contact: ray@raymondburkhart.com

Interested SoCal locals can come test it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Looking Back at the Humboldt State University Brass Chamber Music Workshop

One of my first posts in this highly occasional blog was a description of and introduction to the Humboldt State University Brass Chamber Workshop. It's a program I love and with which I've been associated for many years -- since 1985 as a coach and in 1981 and 1982 as a participant. Chamber music involves an intimacy of both music and friendship -- at least, it should, -- and of all the possible meanings the Workshop has for me, the friendships are chief among my treasured memories.

I just sent a few photos to a "brass camp" friend of mine, causing me to rummage through all my saved HSUBCMW pix, and it occurred to me that I should share them with the world in some manner. So, here you are.

There are shortcomings, of course. I've lost a lot of the photos I once had. Some shots are just bad shots. Some years, I took no photos. Some people appear more often than others. And so on.

But there are positives, too. Some of these pix will be of area attractions that not all participants have visited. Some will include people who didn't know I was taking their picture. Many, I hope, will bring back fun memories to those who've been there, and for those who haven't, perhaps you'll be enticed to go some year.

Comments and questions are welcome, and I have but one request. If anyone took a photo of the 2018 coaches' performance, I'd sure like to have a copy. Pretty sure I don't have one. Thanks.

My purpose in posting is not to display my activities at Humboldt, but obviously I'll appear in a bunch of the shots. My purpose, since it's so easy to upload digital memories, is just to share with the BCMW family a bunch of pix you might enjoy. So, Enjoy!