Guess the Embouchure Type: Roy Williams

I wasn’t familiar with British trombonist Roy Williams until I came across this YouTube video of him playing the ballad Old Folks.  There’s not much about him online, but I did find a discography here.  He’s definitely a player I need to check out more.  Watch his playing here and see if you can guess his embouchure type.

While you’re watching, pay close attention to how stable his embouchure is at all times.  When he breathes he almost always keeps his lips inside the mouthpiece touching and takes are in through the mouth corners.  Speaking of his mouth corners, they are firmly locked in place throughout his entire range. His jaw remains pretty stable as well, not moving up or down when he changes registers and his chin remains firm (don’t confuse his dimple for a bunched chin).  These are good characteristics for players of all embouchure types, so it’s a good model to watch and emulate.

Unfortunately this upload is very low resolution, so it’s has poor video quality.  That, along with Williams’ very minimal embouchure motion make it difficult for me to guess with much confidence. 

William’s placement is pretty close to half and half, but it seems to me that there is more upper lip inside.  If so, his embouchure would be one of the two downstream types.  Williams’ placement doesn’t look as close to his nose as most “very high placement” embouchure types, although his horn angle is more typical of this type.  Many “medium high placement” type players have a horn angle that is a bit lower than Williams, but there are enough exceptions that it’s really necessary to get a good look at Williams’ embouchure motion.  “Very high placement” players will push up to ascend, while “medium high placement” players pull down.

At around 1:13 in the video Williams plays a descending D to F slur, but he makes very little noticeable embouchure motion there.  While a major 6th interval is large enough to sometimes spot a player’s embouchure motion, it’s not so large that it should require a lot.  It could go either way, but my best guess is going to be “medium high placement” embouchure type.

Anyone think otherwise?  Find a better video of Williams to share?

Barry Watson

I know Roy very well.
He is one of the greatest Jazz trombonists on the planet.
Sorry, I don’t know much about embouchure’s.
My old mate Pete Strange worked with Roy for years.
Pete was Humph’s trombonist and arranger.
All the best,

Roy Stewart

So was Roy for a time, trombonist with Humph that is. Roy and I were good friends during our engineering apprentice years..

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