[Trombone-l] your choice

dslide13 at aol.com dslide13 at aol.com
Tue Nov 15 13:41:14 CST 2005

I think that my initial point was to illuminate the difference between 
being a "craftsman" and being an "innovator". One is not necessarily 
better than the other, but there could certainly be a difference in 
profitability. I used JJ, Curtis, Slide and Frank as my templates...but 
I have gotten to a point in my life where I want to be me.

  One evening at the NYC Blue Note, Slide and I were warming up 
together. We started playing some standards as a trombone duet. When we 
finished Slide says to me, "David, you have your own language!" I was 
shocked. I thought about it during the next set and approached him 
after the gig. I said, "Slide, I don't understand how you can say that, 
since my whole approach is based on one solo you played in 1969." But 
now, I realize that I can never really sound just like Slide. I embrace 
the fact that even while I was using concepts and ideas that were 
introduced to me through his playing, I can only tell my story. Around 
that time, I was approached by a long time associate of Slide's who 
asked me if I studied with Slide since I sounded "just like him". Soon 
after, I began to embrace the idea of being "me". Now when people in 
the know, like Scott Yanow, talk about my playing, they refer to me as 
"a slightly more modern Curtis Fuller." Is that progress??? :-\

 David Gibson

 -----Original Message-----
 From: George Carr <georgecarr at gmail.com>
 To: dslide13 at aol.com <dslide13 at aol.com>
 Cc: Trombone-l at server5.samford.edu
 Sent: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 11:41:50 -0500
 Subject: Re: [Trombone-l] your choice

 > All of the people
 > you mentioned have influenced me directly, or through
 > recordings,etc...but I respectfully choose to be me and find what I
 > have that makes me unique.

 Two things on this point:

 1 - lots of famous guys have made their mark by trying to copy other
 guys. E.g. Shorty Rogers repeatedly insisted in interviews that when
 he put together the Giants, he was just trying to copy Buck Clayton,
 and that he still believed he'd be a better player if he sounded more
 like Buck. E.g. Thelonious Monk insisted (during one of his lucid
 moments) that he created his style by trying to play James P. Johnson
 'stride' and screwing it up. So, even though we can all aspire to
 copy super players' attributes (e.g. Dick Nash's breath control,
 Frank's flexibility, JJ's and Conrad's harmonic ideas, etc.) we'll
 never really succeed: only Dick Nash sounds just like Dick Nash. So
 there's no harm in trying to copy great players, but no real end point
 to it, either.

 2 - an exception that proves the rule: a friend of mine got tired of
 playing bass in a Jaco Pastorius tribute band and started a solo
 project "to express his real inner voice." I cought up with him after
 a gig with that band, and his big complaint was: "I keep trying to
 search for my own voice, but when I search, all I find is Jaco." He
 folded the band shortly thereafter.



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