Tips from the Top

Tip From The Top - Chris Dean

Chris Dean started his musical career in the Life Guards playing his trombone on a horse! Today he is one of the country's foremost session men, often to be found on lead trombone with the Ted Heath Band and the RPO Pops Orchestra, among others. He has also appeared with such artists as Henry Mancini and Johnny Mathis.

His sound track credits include, The Living Daylights, Never Say Never Again, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Out of Africa and Superman 4.

As well as playing jazz dates at such venues as Ronnie Scott's and the 100 Club, he fronts his own band, One Night Stand, and also runs his own company, Express Entertainments, catering for all tastes in music, and all budgets, from a solo pianist to a 22 piece big band, from Rock and Roll to Country and Western.

Chris gives the first in our series of A Tip From The Top, which we hope will reveal some of the secrets of success of our top players in all branches of music.

In this day and age, one of the hardest facets of trombone playing is 'match fit', as it were. Sometimes freelancers go for long periods between dates, and even when working find precious little to play, often just a lot of long notes, which seems to be the current way of writing for the instrument.

Long notes of course are good practice in themselves, but suddenly you may have a long, fairly high part to play and find yourself lacking in stamina. You can't really tell the Musical Director that you've got no chops due to lack of work or the way he writes.

To combat this problem, I make my practice as much like a gig as possible. Apart from the obvious flexibilities, I play tunes, any tune, sometimes with a recorded rhythm section, and play until it hurts and then keep on playing, so that at the end I feel as though I've been in a real punch up.

You can only play how you want to play if you practise how you want to play.


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