A Big Band of Upstream Players

Embedding was disabled on this YouTube video, so you’ll have to follow this link to watch the Don Lusher Big Band from 1987 perform Two O’Clock Jump.  It’s a good performance, with lots of good soloing in the brass section.

What’s so interesting is that the “low placement” upstream embouchure players in Lusher’s brass section outnumber the more common downstream types players.  Lusher himself is a “low placement” player as well and at least 3 of the 4 trumpet players are upstream players.

As I alluded to, it’s a little unusual to have more upstream players in a group than downstream players, as most people have the physical characteristics that make them better suited for one of the downstream embouchure types.  Still, it does happen occasionally.  A few years ago I was directing an all-county honor jazz band made up of high school students.  Out of the 8 brass students, 4 were upstream and if you counted myself and the band director at the hosting school, the upstream players outnumbered the downstream.  It’s uncommon, but it happens once in a while.  This video can make a good demonstration to show people who deny that “low placement” players can have good range and endurance or who want to claim that it’s so rare that they teach all their students to avoid it.

Tip of the horn to Paul T. for sending this one in to me.

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