Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Band plays to seniors

We play for the joy of music, friendship and sharing with the community. Our video and audio recording equipment is very basic Harvey Homeowner stuff that does not quite capture the best of our performance, but perhaps you can understand from it what we are doing here. This was from our much appreciated performance at an old-folks rest home December 23rd. We read through an entire Christmas Carols song book, though I only share three of the tunes here. While our movie camera does have the ability to take stills while recording video, that feature was not used. Below I share a selection of screen shots from the movies. Missy shot nearly every tune, but that was too much for […]

my new trombone bathtub

I began playing trombone at ten years old. I have taken significant breaks between then and now, but cumulatively I have probably a couple dozen years of playing – and cleaning – trombones. Now, proving that old dogs CAN indeed learn new tricks, I have come up with a way to clean my trombone slides without kneeling, hunched over my bathtub. I suppose this is as much a “necessity being the mother of invention” as proof my creative mind is still functioning… knees and backs being things old guys do not love to overwork. I recently found myself playing less and realized that having slides not all that slippery may have been a contributing factor. Yet I was not […]

1958 Conn 6H trombone cleanup

Looking around my websites and disk storage archives I realized that I did not document my restoration of a very desirable old trombone that I ‘got for a song’ because it was screamingly ugly, non-functional, and in need of quite a lot of work. I am rectifying my lack of documentation today. Nine years ago I got to hankering for a particular vintage jazz horn from the Conn instrument company’s heyday, the apex of their evolution in Elkhart, Indiana when the craftsmen, culture, design and materials came together to make some of the finest brass instruments EVER. In 1970 Conn company was sold and in 1971 brass instrument production moved to Abilene, Texas, walking away from the craftsmen and their […]

my career as a bugler

I once was a bugler for the United States Air Force. The government paid me $98 a month plus cheesy room and board, officially making me a professional musician. It is a bit of a convoluted story, but here we go: When I turned 19 years old, all healthy males my age who were not politically connected or fully engaged in college were whisked off into the army or marines to tramp around in a far away jungle and shoot at or be shot by complete strangers. None of that appealed to me so I enlisted in the air force. In basic training we took a written test intended to gauge our trainability for various job assignments. I tested […]

upright bass / bass guitar / electric bass

I responded to a friend’s e-mail inquiry about my thoughts comparing the features of my upright bass, my acoustic bass guitar and electric basses. I am sharing an enhanced version of my reply here. I have played trombone since I was 10 years old, mostly because of my appreciation for swing, blues, jazz, big band, and concert band music. That is, creating the music more than simply listening to it, though I do plenty of both. Since it is so rare to find trombone opportunities in these woods, I decided to take up the bass. My first attempt was an electric bass with practice amp. Nope. The sound, the feel, the gaggle of gear, cables, electrical requirements all conspired […]

on a brighter note – make that lots of notes

A trombone great I never heard of does amazing imitations of many I have heard of in a light-hearted stand-up routine. She is enough of a student to understand and appreciate their various styles and a great enough musician to reproduce them one after another.

Ted on trombone

Since moving to The Bitterroot, groups with room for my trombone playing are hard to come by. My fall-back option is my computer and studio speakers running Music Minus One recordings while I pretend to have a real band or small combo to play along with. I use my Canon camera to record two representative samples of my main Bitterroot trombone gigs. The miniature internal microphone certainly does precious little to capture any sound quality that might exist were we listening live. Most summers find me playing a bit part in our community band… that is when terrorists aren’t running false flag community shut-down programs that some people call COVID. I share here two sample recordings of The Bitterroot Community […]

cello video

As I post this it has over 3 million views. The link takes you to a Twitter video clip of a young cellist over-dubbing multiple parts with videos of each simultaneously. Oh, just watch this. Cute. Clever. https://twitter.com/i/status/1264211335425990657

musical interlude

Mozart Piano Concerto No 3 in D major is a lovely piece, but to watch a 5-year-old smoke it out on a grand piano is an amazing treat. While 20 adult musicians read and play their parts off sheet music, the diminutive Russian holds it all in his head. More amazing is the power this little guy puts into the keyboard. His tone, articulation, rhythm, timing and feel are as good as any adult I can imagine playing this piece. And DO STAY for the encore. He is clearly enjoying this short piece. Observe the audience reaction. Were this in the USofA a handful of simpleton boys in man bodies would be dog whistling for minutes after this lovely, sensitive […]

Tuba Christmas Friday in Missoula

and many, many other cities throughout the USofA. This Friday, Dec 13th, 2019 at 7:00 pm in Southgate Mall Lucky’s Court Brooks St Missoula a platoon of musicians gather to make joyous noise with their tubas. They are open-minded enough to embrace players of euphoniums, baritones and Sousaphones as well, which makes for a marvelous combination of voices. Speaking of voices, they highly encourage the audience to join them by singing the Christmas Carols that are so familiar to those of us who grew up in this country. They typically play the first time through to the appreciative audience, then a second verse joined by hundreds of happy voices. As proof of this event’s popularity, it has been going on […]

*NEW* 1958 Conn 6H trombone

Based on wonderful reviews, I connected up with the Slide Doctor in Dawsonville Georgia, received their custom slide shipping packaging, sent it back with my old slide, and a couple days ago received back a trombone slide that is as close to perfect as I have ever touched… and they advise it will get better after a brief break-in period. WOW! I had worked it over with brass cleaning chemicals, abrasives, tools, and hand-straightening … I was hot stuff and got it about as good as it gets … so I thought. Recently I started wondering if the comparative smoothness of my 13-year-old Conn 88 slide might be a significant reason I play it almost all the time and the […]

Gary Owen by Bitterroot Community Band

This chart in my music folder caught my eye. I’m playing the euphonium book on my slide trombone. The parts that are intended for a 3 or 4 valve instrument are more challenging on a slide, but they have some very interesting licks. Gary Owen is A CONSTANT RUSH of notes, but a heckuva lotta fun … even if I only come close to getting them all right. Mid season we had a euphonium player join in the fun. I did not let that move me away from this particular part. Besides, between the two of us each missing some of the licks, together we got ’em all. Or so. Gary Owen March from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo. […]