NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 13

“Yeah… for sure.” “Yeah, I guess maybe I was turned on by melody and harmony… plus I thought, what if I got stuck with a big bass drum? So I chose the bugle even though I later found out it was limited to a few notes in the key of B-flat, as you know. Besides, if I’d chosen drums, I wouldn’t be here with you today considering your nephew, Vince, plays drums.” “Oh yeah,” I said. “But I had prior experience on a brass instrument, because in sixth and seventh grades they recruited me into the concert band at the DuSable Upper-Grade Center. This was the feeder program for DuSable, the high school, where Captain Walter Dyett taught folks like Dinah Washington, Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole, Eddie Harris and the West Coast, uhh, trumpet player, Oscar Brashear and so on.” “Well, that just wasn’t your destiny Bobby, now was it?” “Yeah… I guess not… So that summer I played and marched in the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade.” “I played in marching bands too Bobby,” Miles said, smiling. “You know those John Phillip Sousa licks like be-ba-bodop, ba-bo-dop, be-bo-dop (singing in descending triad patterns). “I remember some of those licks, still quote that shit in some of my solos even now.” “Wow… all this stuff is so interrelated!” “That’s right Bobby, you can get ideas from anything in life… sounds in the street… rhythms from construction sites… some of my favorites.” “Oh my god… I never would have thought of that,” I said, “that’s amazing.” “Oh yeah?” Miles said? Laughing and smiling. “I know Johnny Griffin and Jug (referring to saxophonist Gene Ammons) came outta there too.” “Oh Yeah, that’s right,” I said. “So they started me off on French horn; well actually it was the mellophone, the one that’s spherical shaped like a French horn with trumpet valves.” “Mellophone is in the key of F, too?” Miles inquired. “Yep,” I confirmed. Miles knew what I was talking about. “Small bore mouthpiece, tight embouchure … high pressure.” “Oh yeah… so you know about that, huh?” “Yeah it’s a bitch,” he said, shaking his head,”the trumpet is bad enough. French-horn embouchure is so tight you can’t take a day off or your lip is fucking shot.” “OK Bobby, I see what they did… starting you with the hardest instrument… smaller mouthpiece first and going down to the large. The embouchure for each new horn is more and more relaxed. It would’ve been hard to go the other direction. You had a smart teacher Bobby.” “Hmm, I didn’t realize th ???????5????)??????e????????????1?????(???????????????????????????) ???????????????????????????)??????? ???????????????e???????)????????Y??????]??????????)I????!??????????5?????????)????????????????????9??)????$??????!?????!????M??????)?????????????????????????)??????????M???????????????)????????????????????????????)????????????????????????????t+?q!?????t?5?????????????q???$?????e?)??????????? ????????????????????t+?qe???????????????????????????????)??????????????t?$??????????????+?q ????????????????????????????)???????????A?????????????????)??????????????????????????)???????????????5???????????)5???????!???????????????)?????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????) ????????????????????????????)???????????!???????????????)??????????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????)????????????????????t((??(+?q]?????????????????????????????)??????????????????????e?)????????????????????????%??????)???????????? ?????????e?????????)????????t(+?qM??????????????????????????????)????????t(+?q]?????$??????e????????????????)???????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????)?????????t() 1 ,?I9%MM9 ?9=%I(+?qe?????? ????t?5??????????q???e?)???????????????????????????????)??????????????? ????e????????)?????????????????????????????t() I8?10????????????((???????????4((