Jazz Trumpet Improvisation Etude #1 by Howie Shear: There Will Never Be Another You

Howie Shear Jazz Solo EtudeWe are pleased to announce an exciting new project! Twice a month we will be posting a new Jazz Improvisation Etude composed by Howie Shear. Each etude will be based on the chord changes of a different jazz standard and will comprise two complete solo choruses.

These etudes will focus on different aspects of trumpet playing and jazz improvisation techniques. They can be played as stand alone exercises but, for best results, we suggest playing along with an Aebersold or another play-along track, allowing you can hear how the melodic ideas work with the chord changes.

The concepts utilized in these solos are presented in Howie Shear’s books Jazz Improvisation – Simplified and Bebop Vocabulary, which are tools that help you develop your own jazz vocabulary that you can use during improvisation. The goal of these etudes is to show how the simple ideas Howie outlines in his books can be applied and developed in a jazz solo format.

Jazz Improvisation Etude #1: “There Will Never Be Another You”

The first etude features two choruses over “There Will Never Be Another You.” This solo focuses on the following:

  • Diatonic & non-diatonic melodic ideas
  • Chordal & scalar melodic ideas
  • Chromaticism
  • Upper register melodic ideas
  • Compositional ideas
  • Technical dexterity

Click Here to Download Now!

If you would like to learn more about jazz improvisation we suggest you purchase Howie Shear’s books, Jazz Improvisation – Simplified and Bebop Vocabulary, which detail the concepts he is applying in these solos.

About Howie Shear

Howie Shear received a Bachelors in Education from Fredonia State University in 1975 and a Masters in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music in 1977. He received his Doctorate in Music from the University of Southern California in 2002. He studied with James F. Burke and Raymond Crisara. Howie toured with the Woody Herman Band as lead trumpet player & featured soloist in 1980. After the tour he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician and soloist. Among the extensive list of artists he has worked with are: The Chuck Mangione Orchestra, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Mel Torme, The Temptations, and The Spinners. He was the musical arranger and lead trumpet player on the Joan Rivers Late Night Show. Howie has also played various shows at the Ahmanson Theater and many jazz festivals around the world where he has held trumpet clinics. Arranger and producer of various jazz albums, Howie currently has his own jazz quartet. His classical work includes playing with brass quintets and choirs, solo church work, and solo work in the studios.

Howie Shear is professor of Jazz Trumpet at California State University: Northridge.

Shop Visitors: Bill Ortiz, trumpet artist and Santana trumpet player

Bill Ortiz hanging with the guys from Bob Reeves Brass. From left to right: John Snell, Bill Ortiz, Bob Reeves, and Brett Kendall.
Bill Ortiz hanging with the guys from Bob Reeves Brass. From left to right: John Snell, Bill Ortiz, Bob Reeves, and Brett Kendall.

We had the pleasure to work with the fabulous trumpet artist, Bill Ortiz. Bill has a number of albums out of his own that we highly recommend. Check out his website www.billortiz.com for more information. We are listening to his latest CD, “Highest Wish,” right now. You can also catch Bill on tour much of the year with guitar-legend Santana.

He sounds great on his valve-aligned Martin and now has some Reeves pieces to make his job even easier!

‘Tis the Season for Piccolo Trumpets!

With the holidays right around the corner, baroque music gigs are starting to show up on musician’s calendars, and what that means for the trumpet player is that it’s time to dust off their piccolo and get ready to perform. The holiday season repertoire of Christmas Oratorio, Messiah, and Magnificat is no easy blow and having to play it on piccolo doesn’t help. But, Bob Reeves Brass has some options that will make tackling these pieces a little easier so you can focus more on the music — and have more fun playing!

Bob Reeves Piccolo Trumpet Mouthpieces
A selection of the hundreds of piccolo trumpet mouthpieces available from Bob Reeves Brass.

Modern Developments for the Piccolo Trumpet

In 2012 trumpet equipment has come a long way from what existed when the piccolo trumpet was developed. As piccolo trumpets are half the size of a regular Bb trumpet and have unique issues that need to be addressed, Bob spent many years coming up with the designs of his standard piccolo mouthpieces. The main difference between a standard trumpet mouthpiece and one of our piccolo trumpet mouthpieces is the length. Our piccolo trumpet mouthpieces are shorter than a regular mouthpiece. The same is true for the piccolo mouthpieces we make with a cornet shank. One of our piccolo trumpet mouthpiece with a cornet shank is shorter than a standard cornet mouthpiece.

There Are More Piccolo Mouthpiece Options Than Just a Bach 7EW

Any of the standard Bob Reeves rim and cup combinations can be ordered with a piccolo-trumpet shank or a piccolo-cornet shank. These pieces come with a backbore that Bob developed to play more evenly, better in tune, and with a better balance than the 117 backbore and other common piccolo backbores. The most popular cups players use with their piccolos are the S, M, and C. As with all Bob Reeves pieces, these pieces for piccolo come in a screw-rim configuration and, because of that, if you know you love a certain rim, we can thread it and make a piccolo underpart to it.

Reeves A-Adapter for Cornet-Shank Piccolo Trumpets

Another tool that we offer for cornet-shank piccolo players is our A-Adapter. This adapter, when used on the Bb side of your piccolo, brings the tuning down to the key of A and keeps you from having to pull a Bb tuning bit out very far to play in tune. This prevents a large gap from existing in your horn at the end of the tuning bit before the leadpipe. When this gap is eliminated, the piccolo with play much more in tune, with better response, and much more evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions #1: How Long Do Your Valve Alignment Pads Last?

This will be the first in a series of blog posts answering questions that we receive time and time again.

One of the most common questions we get about Bob Reeves’ patented Valve Alignment process is, “How long do your pads last?”

Bach Trumpet Valve Parts for Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Trumpet valve parts from a Bach Stradivarius Bb trumpet with Bob Reeves Brass valve alignment pads.

Bob Reeves Brass Pad Material vs. Others

While normal felt pads, Neoprene pads, and rubber pads can change daily because of moisture, temperature, and other factors, the proprietary material that we put into an instrument during an alignment is much more stable. Under normal situations, we have seen our pads last anywhere from five to ten years! This means that the valve alignment will stay true just as long. Some customers wear through the pads faster, but this is usually caused by a reaction with their body chemistry (some people naturally wear through materials faster). Even then, our pads will remain stable longer then the pads that came with the instrument.

The Beauty of a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment

Here’s the thing — even when the pads do eventually wear out, you don’t need to send your instrument to us again, ever! All you need to do is give us a call and order a replacement set of pads. Pop these into your trumpet and it’ll put the alignment right back to where it was the day it left our shop. We have a database of almost 20,000 instruments that have been aligned by Bob Reeves Brass.

Trumpets, a Piccolo Trumpet, and a Flugelhorn Ready for a Bob Reeves Alignment
Bb and C trumpets, a piccolo trumpet, and a flugelhorn ready for a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment.

Have Your Valves Been Aligned By Bob Reeves Brass?

You can check whether your instrument has been aligned by us using our online serial number look-up form or giving us a call.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured it in a future blog post!

The Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece

Trumpet Playing in Cold Weather

Winter’s just around the corner and we’re getting flooded with emails from musicians who have to play outside in the bitter cold. Whether it’s for marching band at finals or caroling at an outdoor Christmas tree lighting, trumpet players are called on to play in all sorts of weather conditions. Here at Bob Reeves Brass, we have the answer to playing in the frigid cold: the Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece.

The Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece by Bob Reeves Brass
The Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece by Bob Reeves Brass

The Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece

The Better Plastic Trumpet Mouthpiece uses a Delrin plastic rim on a traditional brass underpart. The plastic rim is easier to play in cold weather because it does not get as cold as brass and provides more grip. The traditional brass underpart keeps the integrity of the sound and playing characteristics of the trumpet mouthpiece.

Any of our trumpet mouthpieces can be made with a white or black Delrin plastic rim. Just specify that when you order. If you already have a Reeves mouthpiece you can order the rim by itself to screw onto your existing underpart.

3C and 1.5C Plastic Mouthpieces

If you want to convert your 3C or 1.5C trumpet mouthpiece to have a plastic rim, just send us your mouthpiece and we can thread the bottom underpart and build a plastic rim to it. Contact us for more details.

From The Archives: Irving Bush Photo

Irving Bush was a fantastic trumpet player for many decades in L.A. He played commercially with the Nelson Riddle and Harry James big bands before joining the L.A. Philharmonic where his tenure lasted 20 years. Irving also designed his own line of popular mouthpieces. His relationship with our shop dates back to the time of Carroll Purviance.

This is a photo of a very young Irving Bush playing the trumpet in what looks to be a big band setting. The photo is signed to Carroll Purviance: “Thanks to a wonderful friend and teacher, Irving R. Bush, 5-11-52.”

Irving Bush Playing Trumpet
Irving Bush playing trumpet circa 1952 prior to his tenure with the L.A. Philharmonic.

Bob Reeves with Maurice Andre and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Trumpet Section

Maurice Andre with Bob Reeves and the SFSO Trumpet Section
Bob Reeves with Maurice Andre and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Trumpet Section. From Left to Right: Bob Reeves, Don Reinberg, Tom Heimberg, Laurie McGaw, Maurice Andre, Edward Haug, Phil Shoptaugh, and Chris Bogios.

Here is another photo from our archives. It was taken on April 18, 1975 at a party after Maurice Andre’s performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Many of the musicians pictured are good friends and customers of mine that I’ve worked with through the years.

3C and 1-1/2C Classical Series Trumpet Mouthpiece Feedback

Bob Reeves Classical Series Mouthpiece
A Bob Reeves Classical Series Mouthpiece

Since its release at the beginning of the month, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from musicians who have tried our new Classical Series Mouthpieces. The response has been overwhelming. Our first production run sold out in under a week (and it was supposed to last us at least a month!). We’ve shared some comments that we’ve gotten on our website. Come check it out! Be sure to check back later as we will update the page as we hear from more players.

Click here to read the feedback!

Bob Reeves Classical Series Trumpet Mouthpieces Now Available for Pre-order

Bob Reeves 1-1/2C Trumpet Mouthpiece
Bob Reeves 1-1/2C Trumpet Mouthpiece

Up at the shop, Bob’s long-running classical mouthpiece project is nearing its conclusion. Over the last few months we have provided a few prototypes of our new Classical Series Trumpet Mouthpieces to players and the pieces created quite a buzz at our ITG booth last month.

Now, we are proud to announce the official release of these mouthpieces.  Starting today we will begin taking pre-orders for the 1-1/2C and 3C models of the Classical Series Trumpet mouthpieces that will ship on July 1st.

Click here to learn more about the Classical Series mouthpieces and pre-order one for yourself!

Bob Reeves Sleeves: Now Available in Custom and 1/4 Sizes!

Ming the Gap with Reeves SleevesFirst patented in 1974, the Bob Reeves Sleeve System is now more precise than ever with the introduction of 1/4 Size and Custom Sleeves

1/4 Size Sleeves

Improvements in our machining processes have allowed us to release Reeves Sleeves in 1/4 sizes. You can now adjust the gap in 1/64″ (.0156″/.396 mm) increments. Previously, sleeves were limited to 1/2 sizes only, which changed the gap by 1/32″ (.031″/.794mm). Quarter-size sleeves will be available for sale starting on June 1st. We will have a selection of quarter sizes at our booth at the upcoming ITG Conference.

Custom Sleeves

When Bob Reeves first studied the trumpet mouthpiece gap, he discovered that some players can feel an .008″ difference in the gap. Previously, this minute gap adjustment was only possible with an expensive and inconvenient adjustable-gap receiver fitted to your trumpet. Starting June 1st, Bob Reeves Brass can adjust the gap for the discerning trumpet player by as little as .008″ with a Custom Reeves Sleeve. Contact us for more details.

Bob Reeves Sleeves SystemFor more information on Reeves Sleeves and gap adjustment, you can read more on our blog and web site:

Bob Reeves Sleeve System on bobreeves.com

History of the Mouthpiece Gap Part I

History of the Mouthpiece Gap Part II

The Paper Trick