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Practice, Do You? Part 2-3

Dom Minasi By

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After I retired I started playing Jazz clarinet-E.G. Bop-Hard and post Bop-and my last album was a total free form solo date (where I over dubbed on my self) some call it playing with them selves. I recorded with some of the heavies, Joey DeFrancesco (He did two dates with me and club dates in and around L.A. and Hollywood. Sam Mostand Bill Cunliffe and some small concerts in L.A. with Terry Gibbs and some of the (usual suspects) Hollywood hero's. I'm the guy that quit playing for 40 years and came back on the scene in 2001. To this date have put out eleven albums for those of you in Odessa (albums are the same as CD's)

I'll be 80 years old next year, (I've stopped looking into the mirror) who is that old wheezed dude that's hiding in there-Dam and that's no reflection on any thing including this article-where are my meds? So, what does one have to do to keep their chops in (the phone might ring), shape? First it helps if you are a bit obsessive and compulsive in the way you do things. One must practice (without fail) at least six days a week-for at least 1 & a 1-2 hours each day. I mean All of the scales in all of the keys and then the chromatic ones. All of the most used and then some chords with any and all inversions. All that I've just mentioned must be done at all tempos from largo to presto vivace-and esp. For horn players tonged and slurred long tones for all horn players, starting at the lowest working note of your ax, starting at triple P to triple F and back down again to P (that's one note) and proceed upward chromatically to the note and repeat the same drill once more going to the highest working note on your horn and then start down to the beginning note. One does this for the rest of ones life. "If you wanna be a bad mo-fo ain't no other way if your playing real music!"

Chris Kelsey

The question "Do you still practice?" took me by surprise. My first impulse was to respond, "You might as well ask whether I still breathe," but I suppose, as I get older I can better understand why some musicians cut down. It's true that the longer you play, the more the law of diminishing returns kicks in; progress can come more slowly and require more effort.

I know for a fact that the cumulative effect of my practice still bears fruit, because I'm a much better changes player now than I've ever been, and I only really began concentrating on that aspect of my playing in recent years. Beginning in my 40s, months pass when I practice tunes almost exclusively, sometimes with a computer rhythm section, sometimes along with records, sometimes unaccompanied. I'll never be a great bebop player, per se, because I don't really "feel" it—when it comes down to it, I feel a closer connection to blues, funk, and rock than to older styles of jazz. But I work on it, and it enriches my own music.

My horns are never in their cases except on the way to a gig. I leave them on their stands at the foot of my bed, the easier to grab one and blow when the mood strikes, which is often. I practice daily, almost always for upwards of an hour, minimum. I will take a day or two off after a particularly intense gig, I'm a very physical player, and there are times when I'm so spent, I'll need some time off to recover. I can get a little rusty after these short layoffs, but within an afternoon I usually have everything back up and running. When I practice just to maintain my chops, as sometimes happens, I'm either tired or being lazy. There are so many things I don't know about making music. Discovering them is no chore; on the contrary, it's why I play.

Trumpet

Herb Robertson

Yes, I still practice the trumpet (have to with this instrument. It would eat me up if I didn't). I do what I call a "general maintenance" type of routine when I have no gigs for the immediate future. I do long tones (very necessary for brass instruments) in a spider web fashion. What I mean by that is that I start with a hub center note in the upper middle register and then gradually spread the intervals up and down always returning to that hub center. Dynamics always. Then some flexibility routines (spider-web) and some range extension exercises. When my chops feel just right I usually finish for the day unless I have a tour coming up with written compositions. That's when I hit that stuff. I never practice if I have a gig that day.

Dennis Gonzalez

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