About a week ago John shot me an email after coming across this photo of trombonist Tyree Glenn for sale (not sure how long that link will work). I poked around and found a video that has a couple pretty good looks at Glenn’s chops. Take a look and see if you can tell what his embouchure type was. Embedding was disabled, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch it. My guess after the break.
The first good look happens about 1:46 into the video. You can pretty easily see that his mouthpiece placement has more lower lip inside, which would have made him a Low Placement upstream embouchure player. Around 3:50 we get another very close look and I think I can see some of the embouchure motion typical for upstream players (down to ascend, up to descend), but it’s hard to say.
Glenn had a cheek puff that looks like it’s pulling his mouth corners out of position, something that I believe tends to cause troubles if not corrected eventually. As far as I know he never went through a decline in playing similar to Dizzy Gillespie (who seemed to mostly keep the cheek puff back away from his corners), but I honestly don’t really know. It’s interesting to note that when Glenn starts to growl (about 4:26) that his cheek puff seems to go away for the most part. I’m not sure if that means anything.
While I always find it interesting to look closely at an unusual looking embouchure that’s obviously working, I kept finding myself studying how Glenn is using the plunger throughout. I really love hearing great plunger players, but I find I have trouble holding the instrument comfortably when I use a plunger mute. The way Glenn manipulates the plunger (with a pixie mute too) to get such a diversity of sounds is amazing.
Be sure you watch the video all the way until 4:58 for a laugh.