International Trumpet Guild Journal – A Commitment To Excellence: Brian Lynch (June 2007)

Trumpeter/composer/arranger Brian Lynch is one of the few jazz musicians in the history of the art of whom both the following statements are true; (1) Every single recording he has made as a leader has been universally hailed as great, (2) Throughout his extensive recorded career, whether as a leader or with others, you would be hard pressed to find a single instance where he repeats an improvised idea.  That’s how great and facile Lynch’s chops and harmonic/melodic imagination extends. In addition, Lynch’s highly esteemed credentials have been trumpeted by the toughest of jazz critics.  Zan Stewart of Downbeat wrote, “Lynch demonstrates that a dedicated, knowledgeable jazzman can play a diversity of styles with telling authenticity, and make the renditions extremely appealing to both musician and neophyte…Lynch is simply first-rate.”  Neil Tesser, writing in Jazziz, seconds and embellishes on Stewart, “You can lose yourself in the pure energy of (Lynch’s) playing, but at any moment you can switch your attention to the logic and craftsmanship of his music and find multiple rewards… You won’t find a better display of jazz trumpetry.”

Born on September 12, 1956 in Urbana, Illinois, Lynch was raised in Milwaukee.  After working with local legends like organist Melvin Rhyne and pianist Buddy Montgomery, Lynch graduated from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with a degree in Jazz Performance.  A move to San Diego led to work with alto saxophonist Charles McPherson’s band.  From there, Lynch was off and flying.

In 1981 he moved to New York and quickly became the “go-to guy” for any NY date and in his spare time earned a MM degree in Composition from NYU. (this happened much later – 1998 through 2001) In 1982 he hooked on for a three-year stint with jazz great Horace Silver, while at the same time becoming principal trumpet soloist in Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Jazz Orchestra, staying with her from 1982-1988.  Other large jazz ensembles that Lynch worked with in this period included the George Russell New York Orchestra and the Mel Lewis Big Band. He began serious employment in the Latin realm by working with Angel Canales’s salsa band from 1982-1983.  From there gigs with legendary cantante Hector LaVoe (1983-87) and Eddie Palmieri (1987 through today) followed.  Offered a chance to be a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers was too great a call to turn down, and Lynch joined the final edition of the legendary group before the famed drummer’s passing.  Lynch’s long-term and well-known relationship with saxophonist Phil Woods started in 1992, at a time when the trumpeter was also working regularly with Benny Golson.

To list all of the great headlining artists Lynch has worked with would extend beyond any logical inventory, but just in the Latin/Afro-Caribbean field the following is a short list of the artists who have worked in his groups: drummers Dafnis Prieto, Horacio Hernandez, Robby Ameen, and Ernesto Simpson; percussionists Giovanni Hidalgo, Richie Flores, Pedro Martinez and Roberto Quintero; pianists Luis Perdomo, Edsel Gomez, and David Kikoski; bassists John Benitez, Ruben Rodriguez, Boris Kozlov, and Hans Glawischnig; and saxophonists Miguel Zenon and Yosvany Terry.

As a soloist/leader, Lynch began his impressive streak of extraordinarily applauded recordings in 1986 with Peer Pressure.  Known for his ability to play well beyond the highest level of musicianship with authority, verve, élan and total dedication to the joy of the music’s moment, Lynch infuses his hard-bop stylings and true insider’s knowledge of Latin concepts into every project he undertakes with unmatched dedication and energy.  From the early straight-ahead recordings, through the larger ensemble and arrangement-oriented groups documented on recordings like Spheres Of Influence, to the electro-fusion Fuchsia/Red, continuing in all-out Latin blow-fests like Con Clave, up to his new ArtistShare project with Eddie Palmieri, Simpatico, Lynch continues to astound and amaze, no matter the context.  Yet with all this hard-earned success, including his appointment to a teaching position at NYU, his mid-western roots of being a good and nice person first have never left him.  Perhaps that’s the best lesson of all.

How did you come to play the trumpet?

I was in fifth grade, and I really wanted to play the saxophone, especially after having watched The Dave Clark Five on the Ed Sullivan Show.  They had a wind instrument just like the ones being passed out in school.  The dentist, however, intervened, and proclaimed that with my overbite the saxophone would not be good, so I went for the trumpet.

Do you come from a musical family?

When I was growing up my mother sang in church choirs and occasionally in community operettas.  In the last 10 to 15 years she’s pursued an avocation as a jazz singer and has actually recorded a couple of self-produced CDs, which is pretty amazing considering she’s a lady in her mid-70s.  Her mother was a talented pianist and singer, almost a child prodigy, but never had the opportunity to pursue it seriously.  My father is also interested in music, but strictly as a hobby.  He plays a little trumpet and is interested in working with computer music programs. After I took up the trumpet my father found a trumpet for himself and played a along with me for a little while as well.

Like thousands of youngsters, you gave up the trumpet at the end of middle school.  Why, but more importantly, what made you come back to the trumpet?

I had a little bit of natural musical ability, but certainly not tons of physical ability on the instrument.  I had two things going for me, I could always read music fairly well and perhaps had good pitch retention.  I wasn’t really that serious about practicing.  I could get along pretty well on the instrument and was always good enough to play in the local Elks Club concert and marching bands, and play with older musicians when I was just 11 or 12.  With all that I hadn’t really discovered jazz yet.  The pursuit of music seemed a little square to me.  I had other interests going on.  It just didn’t seem like it was something that was relevant to me.  When I discovered jazz and became totally enamored with it, then obviously the trumpet came back right away because it was an appropriate vehicle.  It wasn’t so much that I quit the trumpet; I think I just decided I didn’t want to continue with the school music program. This was way before there was any significant jazz education in the high school program where I went to school, even though there was a stage band and a instructor who would teach about Bach chorales. Milwaukee today has a great arts high school that is turning out some really incredible players like Philip Dizack, who has studied a little with me.

Who were the teachers who influenced you strongly?

In terms of trumpet, I never really paid that much attention to knowing what I was doing up until the time I restarted on the trumpet.  At that point I became hip to the fact you could study and learn how to play the instrument, as opposed to just blowing into it (laughing).  I studied with a guy from the Milwaukee Symphony, Doug Myers.  I think he was Second Trumpet there in the early 1970s.  He was a very good teacher, getting me hip to the Schlossberg book and working in the Saint-Jacome.  He also helped me with basic musicianship, like transposition and sight-singing.  He gave me some of the background stuff that was really helpful when it was time to go to music school.  Even though he wasn’t a jazz player he did help me by assigning etudes that worked on jazz interpretation.  We worked through the Jimmy Giuffre etude book.  He did a lot even though he wasn’t a jazz player.  My being a teenager and his being in his 20s was a good bridge.  He set up my basic philosophy of playing which I still adhere to today, that I’m conditioned to having a very long warm-up with lots of long tones and lip flexibilities.  That was the longest stint I had with a trumpet teacher.  Most of the time I didn’t have a teacher when I was in the Conservatory.  I just kept working on the things I had been exposed to by Doug.  I used to play Schlossberg numbers 1 to 35 everyday, starting about seven in the morning on an amazingly huge mouthpiece (Schilke 20) (laughing).  I developed a lot of my technique, such as it is, myself.  In some senses I’m very well developed and in other senses I still feel like I have so much work to do.  I’m always trying to address that, especially when I have time.  Over the years I’ve studied, during periods when I had the time, with many teachers for short periods, including William Vacchiano and Vincent Penzarella.  I got a lot out of studying with Mark Gould in the mid-1980s.  I’ve studied with Peter Bond from the Met and the great Professor William Fielder.  Right now I’m looking around for somebody else to study with.  When I’m looking for solutions to technical problems I look more towards the classical tradition, even though I’m not someone who practiced the classical repertoire or even solo pieces that much.  Conceptually I come more from that direction in terms of how I play the trumpet.  What my ideals are in terms of how I want to play the trumpet come from this background.  I want to play it with a good consistent sound in all registers.  What I’m looking for most of all is the effortless legato in all registers that you can develop from perfecting lip flexibilities, as in the playing of Ray Mase or Mark Gould.

It’s all technique, it’s just how you apply it.

Exactly.  I think studying with a “legit” player gives you the platform to give you the technique to apply it to whatever you want.  Longevity is a real issue for me as I approach 50.  Here in New York We have in the jazz world, unfortunately, a lot of examples of trumpeters who have put their career, in terms of longevity, in real risk. On the other hand, there are the examples of Clark Terry, Joe Wilder, and Doc Cheatham to prove that it’s possible to keep playing the trumpet at a very high level for a long time.  As you get older I think it is even more important to have a real consistency both in practice and in playing.  You get real tired doing that warm-up stuff everyday, but you must.  Not only that, you should try to develop with it and get more out of your warm-up and practicing.

When you were still in high school you had the opportunity to work with artists like Buddy Montgomery and Melvin Rhyne.

It was really at the end of high school and the beginning of my conservatory work when that happened.  There were a number of great players on the Milwaukee scene.  A number of them were from Indianapolis and had relocated to Milwaukee.

What did you learn from that early work with those artists?

First of all, just being around players of that caliber who would tolerate what I was doing was invaluable for my confidence. With the great players you lay back and become very good at listening and imitating.  I would watch and listen to what they played and how they approached their work.  With Buddy, who is a major influence on me, I learned to really reinforce my ear.  Both Buddy and Melvin are extremely talented and sophisticated musicians who played and transmitted their own music completely by ear.  They didn’t write it down, I had to learn their tunes by ear, as well as the changes.  I had to copy it all by ear.  It was really like transcribing solos “live.”  To be exposed to the bedrock tradition of the art of jazz through the form of guys like that was invaluable.  There were two other musicians in Milwaukee who taught at the Conservatory who were also influential, a guitarist named Manty Ellis and a saxophonist by the name of Berkeley Fudge.  These guys are still active in Milwaukee and both playing their buns off.  They’re really great players out of the hard bop tradition.  From them I learned how to pick up jazz from the aural tradition.  When I went to school the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music had a jazz program at a time when most music schools didn’t, in the mid-late ‘70s.  My training was a nice mix of the street in the jazz clubs and hanging with the cats, and the academy through my schooling.  I enjoyed that the jazz part was real street and the academic part was real academic, and not in-between.  I think it’s really important for jazz musicians to have knowledge of the so-called classical side, both in theory and solfege/ear training.  I find as a teacher, whether at an institution or in private instruction, that a lot of students have incomplete skills in both the theory and aural recognition areas. The training I had really helped me, especially in ear training where I was really drilled in traditional solfege and the Kodaly method.  If you’ve got a good ear, then you can just go and memorize the solos and pick up the tunes, but if you don’t then you have to train it.

How did you come to move to San Diego and play with Charles McPherson?

San Diego was a little way-station for me.  My parents had moved out there in the mid-1970s, while I stayed in Milwaukee to finish my schooling and professional training.  It was the place I had put down roots. But at a certain time things got a little lean in Milwaukee.  The thing about a lot of cities in America is that the jazz scene will have these peaks and valleys.  I was able to work my way through school by playing real jazz.  Later on some of the clubs closed and other clubs weren’t viable for regular work.  I was never really involved heavily in the commercial side of gigging. I did play for acts like Al Martino and Helen O’Connell when they came through town, but I never really did weddings and commercial jobbing dates.  When the jazz work declined I moved to San Diego, and back in with my parents for a little while.  It just so happened that I lucked into a jazz scene that was entering an active phase with Charles and others, like guitarist Peter Sprague and pianist Rob Schneiderman.  It was great to leave my home base, move to another scene and learn how to move into it and flourish. I learned that I could break into a new playing environment , which really helped and gave me confidence when I moved to New York.  It’s not just the good playing that you need in order to make it, you also have to have the social skills with other musicians.

Did you move to New York cold, or did you already have some contacts?

I had some contacts.  I first went to New York when I had just turned 18.  I went around and met some people.  I was brave enough to go into Boomer’s and sit in with George Coleman and Woody Shaw.  That’s kind of amazing now as I look back at it.  I remember playing Stella By Starlight at quarter equals 320 and blundering my way through it.  I had my eyes closed and when I opened them I saw Woody Shaw standing about a foot away from me, just staring at me.  Of course his eyesight wasn’t so good, so he was probably trying to figure out, “What the hell is this?”  (Great laughter).  I always loved New York and knew I wanted to move there but knew that I had things I still had to get together. I visited New York a lot in the two years before I moved there.  One of the most significant people I met on those visits was Claudio Roditi. I met him and Hal Oringer, who became another of my close friends, at the same time (Hal, a legendary vintage trumpet collector and friend of many prominent jazz trumpeters, passed away last year). He really helped me out when I moved to town and hooked me up with some of my first gigs.  We played together in a nine-piece Brazilian group, Thiago de Mello and Amazon. Through that group I met some other people who helped me break into the Latin music scene.

There is no way I could cover all of the great artists you’ve worked with, but I wanted to cover a few.  I was hoping you could tell the readers about what the experience was like, but more importantly, what you learned in working with them.  The first is Horace Silver.

With Horace I learned the value of consistency, both in playing and soloing.  Horace was someone who would let you stretch out, but he could give you enough rope to hang yourself.  Of course having oriented myself on all of the great players who played with Horace and Art Blakey, you can imagine how I felt when I actually got the gig with one of these greats.  It was being out in the international jazz scene and people really listening to you, as well as being put into a lineage and tradition.  For me, it was about how I was going to say something as an individual at that point.  It was an incredibly fulfilling and motivating experience.  I feel like I had a lot of growth as a player during that time.  It was one of the most important in a series of very intense musical experiences I’ve had.

Art Blakey, in which you were the last trumpeter in the Jazz Messengers.  I think I’m correct in the fact you guys were on tour 45 weeks a year.

We were incredibly active.  Added to anything I could say about Horace, with Art I had to play not just consistently, but at 110 percent every night.  There was incredible dynamism in the music, so I had to play with a very penetrating and dynamic sound and really had to project my ideas or else I wouldn’t have been heard.  There was also a healthy competition between the people in the band.  Nobody took any prisoners.  There were also all of these other trumpet players who wanted your gig, and they made no bones about wanting your chair (laughter). There’s nothing like that now.  For me it was a dream come true.  I was a little long in the tooth by the time I joined that band, being in my 30s, because it was more of a gig for a younger musician.  I came into that gig as a more experienced and veteran player than the usual candidate, but I always felt my career wouldn’t be complete unless I had had that experience.  It was a very empowering experience because Art had that way of sending that legacy down to you and letting you know that you now had the responsibility of keeping the tradition alive.  For me music has changed a lot since then, but the values of that music, as exemplified by the music of Art and Horace, is something that will always be central to my musical life and is a value that should not be lost in jazz music as a whole.  It needs to endure without imitation.

There are so few bands today’s youth can come up in.

That’s so true. More of the musicians of my generation, myself included, need to step up to the plate and share their unique knowledge in a working situation with the younger musicians. We do that in teaching, but we need to mentor on the bandstand more.

Phil Woods.

After the University of Horace and the University of Buhaina, being a member of The Phil Woods Quintet was, for me, an opportunity to be a real colleague and a real collaborator.  I wasn’t a journeyman or apprentice anymore.  In that band you collaborate in a musical fellowship.  To be considered worthy in that way by a musician like Phil, who is one of the most incredible musicians of all time, and still is, is quite an honor.  In that band complicated music was often brought in and read flawlessly at sight at the gig or in the studio.  You have to be in top shape to match up with Phil and the others in that band.  I’ve been fortunate to have been involved with a few bands in really long relationships.  I’ve been with Phil for 14 years now, and with Eddie Palmieri for 19 years.

That was my next question.  You’ve been in a lot of Latin bands over the years, and you’ve been with Eddie for almost two decades.  I know you met him through Charlie Sepulveda, but could you tell the readers about your work with him and your new Artist Share project?

I guess I originally gravitated towards Latin groups in terms of  steady work and a career, but As I played and progressed in the Salsa bands in NY, and even before in Milwaukee where I played in Salsa bands, I came to realize how deep Afro-Caribbean, or Latin, music is, how much that I loved it and how important it was to me. I was lucky enough to get in some top flight salsa bands in New York, starting with singer Angel Canales.  By the time I was playing with the great cantante Hector LaVoe, I understood how important this music was to my overall musical conception.  Latin music and jazz are really close.  There is so much jazz in Salsa and Afro-Caribbean music.  This influence is also vice-versa, Horace’s music being just one example of many.  I started getting a little more serious about the music instead of just visiting it from the outside as a jazz player.  As I did that I became more fluent at it and more a member of that musical community.  Through Charlie Sepulveda, a great trumpeter and friend who I played in Hector’s band with, I was introduced to Eddie and right away it was a total gas to play with him.  After all this time with him now, it’s just like being with family.  I couldn’t imagine a better professional situation.  We make arrangements based on trust, and very few questions are asked.  We just go on and play music and still after all this time it’s very fresh, beautiful and rewarding.  Playing with Eddie is both the highest level of discipline and total freedom.  The more you apply yourself to the music the more freedom you have.  Playing with him is the ultimate jazz gig.  You can do more on his montunos than you can on Giant Steps.

The ArtistShare product is more than just a CD recording.  People can also take trumpet lessons with you via ArtistShare.

There are  a number of different things people can experience through this project.  At the basic level the idea is that the listener is an actual participant in the project and not just an owner of the CD.  Even at the basic level there is a lot of documentation about the process that went into the recording, and let me tell you there was process a-plenty.  It took me a long time to put together (laughing).

It’s a big project.  You have a lot of great artists all playing at a high level on some really intricate and exciting charts.  The range of the music is astounding.  You just didn’t show up at the studio, play a couple of tunes and go home.

Not at all (laughing).  I tend to be a little bit of an overachiever and thus make things harder for myself.  I’ll write things that put everybody in challenging situations, but most of all me.  I’m always writing things I have to woodshed in order to play.

That was the philosophy behind Coltrane’s compositions: writing things to make him a better musician.

To be honest, I’m pretty proud of not just me, but the work everybody did on this project.  I think it stands as a really good statement of my experience of playing with Eddie all these years, the ideas I had about what his music means to me and my own concepts as a musician.  I’ve tried to express all of that in a lot of other ways over the years, but to be able to collaborate with the maestro and also make my own interpretations of his style via composition, and then to hear my realizations and extensions worked out to the level they were was incredibly exciting.

One of the things I impressed with is your unique compositional and arranging technique.  Not just on this project, but also on a number of other recordings, like Spheres of Influence as just one example, where you wrote for a small big band.  How did you develop your style and technique?

The core of it is probably built out of transcribing Art Blakey and Benny Golson arrangements from the records.  I was always taking charts off the records, even when I was doing it for my high school rock band.  Back then I was ripping Chicago, Buddy Miles and Sly and the Family Stone charts from the vinyl.  Just like inimprovising, you learn a lot about it when you take things off records.  The writing style of the great straight-ahead small group writers, like Golson, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton and Duke Pearson, has been important to me.  Coupled with that are all of the great Latin music arrangers and those who wrote the music for the Salsa records.  People like Marty Sheller or Jose Madera.  The great older arrangers like Rene Hernandez are also important to me.  I also find myself drawn to Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, whose compositions are very dear to me.  Booker Little’s work in that area as well is important.  My own writing has become an outgrowth of that.  It’s just the way I hear it put together.  I have to say the advent of the computer has really helped me be more productive.  Over the last seven or eight years I’ve been able to get a lot more done arranging wise.  I’m working on my large ensemble skills a lot lately.  I have a lot of big band music that is in yet another stage of revision (laughter), which is another thing the computer is good for.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get that material recorded soon.

For the past 12 years you’ve co-led a Grammy nominated band with Conrad Herwig which originally started out as a “Latin-side of John Coltrane” group.  Since then the band has stretched out to include Miles Davis and others.  What’s it like to work with Conrad and how did the ensemble come to be?

Conrad is one of my closest friends if not my best friend ever.  We’ve known each other from the very first week we both came to New York in 1981.  We had a long and close association in Toshiko Akiyoshi’s band, long before we independently found our way into Eddie’s band in 1987.  I’ve always felt there is a great complementary thing between Conrad and myself.  We make a good team, and have skills that complement each other both on and off the bandstand.  It’s made for a strong association and shows in the balance we bring to the band.  As arrangers our material also complements each other – his is direct with no nonsense and I have that fussy and notey manner.  You need both.  We’ve stretched out to the Latin side of Miles and another Coltrane disc for Criss Cross Records, and in March of 2007 we’ll be doing the same thing with Wayne Shorter’s music.  We’ll be bringing in Eddie as a special guest and that just proves how he’s keeping up with his role as the mentor of this musical family.  Eddie’s always in the mix.  Not only has he influenced Conrad and me to a tremendous extent, but also Donald Harrison, among others.

When you go to Eastman and The University of North Texas to do clinics, is there an overriding principle you like to pass along to the students?

Maybe Explaining how to play the trumpet is not my strong point, in a sense.  Just communicating what I do personally on the instrument is perhaps the way I can be most effective.  Something I’m working on right now is trying to solidify pedagogically what I’m doing when I play.  I think that gets back into what I’m trying to do right now, which is trying to do more study.  I’ve tried to keep open to studying with different professional players throughout my career.  I try to pass along the value of a good warm-up and how it has held me in good stead over the years.  Those things we talked about earlier relating to my teachers and how I approach practicing the trumpet each day is what I like to pass along.

As busy as you are, is there still a routine you do everyday?

Yes, absolutely.  In the last year or two I’ve become enamored with the James Thompson buzzing book.  The beginning of my warm-up is exercises is from that book, playing along with the CD.  I am totally conditioned by that banging bell.  Then I do the Stamp, first exercise.  Then I do the Cichowitz Flow Study that goes up to high C with a metronome.  In fact, I do a lot of long tone studies with a metronome.  Then I have a mixed bag of lip flexibilities I do from the Irons book and other sources.  There is a really fine article that was in the ITG Journal about Irons and his whole milieu which was really fascinating and gave me a lot of insight.  I also do some single tonguing exercises.  The whole thing takes about an hour, but I can compress it down if I need to.  Sometimes you have to get it all done faster.  Conrad Herwig is one of those guys who can warm-up in three minutes, and he has everything.  Some people have that ability.  He is a very physically well-put-together person and has a real understanding of how to get the Gestalt of your chops together quickly.  I have to say, however, that my warm-up is a part of my day that has always given me continuity, even at those times when there has been a lot of personal turmoil in my life.  I’ve always had my warm-up to center me, so maybe I like it, for that reason as well, to be long.  For me it’s a form of mediation.  You know the older you get the better and better you can get at it.  It’s important to keep your face.

Your latest recording on Criss Cross Records, ConClave, is great.  Could you tell the readers about the importance of this record label to the New York recording community?  It seems as if everything on that label is incredible.

Gerry Teekens (the owner of the label) has given so many important jazz artists a voice.  I think one day historians will look back at Criss Cross in the same way people look back at Blue Note in the 1950s and 60s.  There is still this tradition of vital, original straight ahead music going on, maybe not as well publicized as some of the other currents in jazz, but I think it is still very important and original.  Criss Cross gives trumpeters like myself, John Swana, Ryan Kisor, Joe Magnarelli, Jim Rotondi, etc., not to mention all of the other great players on other instruments featured on Criss Cross, an opportunity to express our music.  Gerry has given us an invaluable forum.  There is another label I think has also played a similar role in providing these sort of opportunities, Sharp Nine Records.

Their first release was a recording of yours.

Yes, and I’ve done three more for Sharp Nine since that 1995 release, Keep Your Circle Small.  The Con Clave recording on Criss Cross was fun to do and it was great to go back to Gerry after not having recorded for him for a number of years.  Part of it is the challenge of going in and doing an entire recording in one afternoon.  My first six or seven albums were done like that, go in and in one afternoon, boom, you have a recording.  Maybe a little editing, but not much.  Those recordings are pretty much a snapshot.  Now I’ve gotten into a way of working where I’m really meticulous about stuff.  I can assure you, no one would have spent the amount of money on me I spent on myself with the ArtistShare project.  I made sure things were just right.  If we needed to record something again, sure, if we needed another day in the studio, no problem.  Then, after that it’s really refreshing to record a CDs worth of music in 6 hours.  You have to be prepared for that kind of a situation.  I’m really happy with the Con Clave recording.  We were able to do that album very spontaneously.

As far as phrasing goes, are you influenced more by singers or instrumentalists?

Probably more by instrumentalists, though singers are really important to me.  Probably non-jazz singers are more important to me than jazz singers, with the exception of Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday.  The Latin singers, like Benny More and Miguelito Cuni, are very important to me in terms of phrasing.  The way they play with the phrase and shape influences me a lot .  I’m also very influenced and a big fan of the late, great Elis Regina in terms of how to assay a melodic line, especially in terms of a bolero or a ballad.  Dinah is the queen, and I love  Sarah and Ella too.  I love singers a lot, but I’m still very much a disciple of the great phrase masters like Kenny Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, Bird, Sonny Rollins and Coltrane.

What advice do you have for young trumpeters?
I would reinforce what I said about learning the instrument, from the standpoint of the type of training you can get from an orchestral player.  I have had  the privilege of being a teacher and mentor to a number of my students at NYU, the Prince Claus Conservatory and privately including some very accomplished trumpet players over the last few years, and it varies from player to player, but what I see is that some of them can really play their behinds off and have absorbed a lot of vocabulary, but the technical thing lags.  You’ve got to be able to set up the instrument so you can play with ease in all registers.  What I hear the most is that there is a lack of continuity in terms of tone, which can be worked on with lip flexibilities and being really attentive to the role of the tongue arch and being attentive to its position.

Clarke 158 – 169 and continuing above.

Yes, all of that, and Irons and Schlossberg.  That is really important.  Most of the trumpeters I’ll be in contact with will be jazz trumpet players.  At NYU I run small ensemble classes and teach a number of different students, on all instruments, privately, so for the jazz side, in my teaching at NYU there are two things I advise for everyone: learn how to play your scales and memorize solos.  It sounds frighteningly reductive when you put it that way, but that’s it.  What you have to do is expand what that means and then you realize there is a lot involved in learning how to play scales.  It’s about working on motor skills in order to traverse musical space in a consistent manner and learning to concentrate on shapes and not on the sequence of notes.  Learning vocabulary and having identification with the great players by being able to reproduce what they did is a great way to learn.  I found that young players who do this are the superior players.  Those who aren’t naturally inclined in this manner have a longer road to go.  As a teacher my goal is always to steer them on that road and show them how important those things are, as well as giving them help along the way.

Equipment (most often used)

–Yamaha 8310Z trumpet (Lynch is a Yamaha artist) with modifications by Bob Malone and Hidechi Aoyagi, with a Monette B2S3 Prana mouthpiece or a B2 Prana 84/21.

Equipment (others owned and revered)

– Monette 993 trumpet with a Monette B2S3 Prana mouthpiece

– Yamaha 8335G (modified), 8335RG, and Yamaha LA model trumpet

– 1946 Martin Committee trumpet (from Hal Oringer) with a Monette B2 mouthpiece

– pre-war Besson flugelhorn  (from the collection of Hal Oringer) with a custom made mouthpiece by Hal

– Couesnon flugelhorn from the ‘60s (owned since 1977)

– prewar Besson cornet (from the collection of Hal Oringer) with a original Besson mouthpiece

– modern Yamaha 6335H cornet with a Yamaha 16 mouthpiece

Selected Discography
As A Leader

Simpatico (Artist Share, 2006)

Spheres Of Influence Suite (EWE, 2006)

ConClave (Criss Cross, 2004)
Que Viva Coltrane (Criss Cross, 2003)
24/7 (Nagel Heyer, 2002)
Brian Lynch Meets Bill Charlap (Sharp Nine 2003)
Fuchsia/Red (Cellar Live, 2003)
Do That Make You Mad? (Zoo’T, 2001)
Tribute To The Trumpet Masters (Sharp Nine, 2000)
Spheres Of Influence (Sharp Nine, 1997)
Keep Your Circle Small (Sharp Nine Records, 1995)
At The Main Event (Criss Cross, 1992)
In Process (Ken Music, 1990)
Back Room Blues (Criss Cross, 1989)
Peer Pressure (Criss Cross, 1986)

(I’ve tweaked the below, mostly order wise, extensively – BL)
With Others:

With Eddie Palmieri
Listen Here (Concord, 2005)
Ritmo Caliente (Concord Jazz, 2003)
La Perfecta II (Concord Jazz, 2002)
Vortex (RMM, 1996)
Arete (RMM, 1995)
Palmas (Elektra, 1994)
Sueño (Intuition, 1982)

With Phil Woods

American Songbook (Kind Of Blue, 2006)
This Is The Way I Feel About Quincy (Jazzed Media, 2004)
Souvenirs (Evidence, 1997)
Celebration (Concord, 1997)
Mile High Jazz
(Concord, 1996)
Plays the Music of Jim McNeely (TCB, 1996)
An Affair To Remember (Evidence, 1993)

With Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
One For All
(The Final Recording of the Jazz Messengers) (A&M, 1990)
Chippin’ In (Timeless, 1990)
The Art of Jazz: Live in Leverkusen (In & Out, 1989)

With Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra

Tribute To Duke Ellington (BMG Japan, 1999)
Wishing Peace (Ken Music, 1986)
Ten Gallon Shuffle (Ascent, 1984)

With Peter Barshay
Pit Of Fashion (PGI, 2000)

With Yerba Buena
Island Life (Razor & Tie, 2005)
President Alien (Razor & Tie, 2003)

With Angel Canales
Different Shades of Thought (Universal Music Latino, 2006)

With Dena DeRose
Love’s Holiday (Sharp Nine, 2002)

Luis Diaz
On The Edge (Luis Diaz, 1996)

With Nobuchika Eri
Sketch For Summer (Sony, 2005)

With Frankie Felicano
Mix The Vibe (King Street Sounds, 2002)

With Bird
Full Lips (Associated, 1999)
With Onder Focan
Vocalist (Blue Note, 1999)

With Juan Carlos Formell
Los Calles del Paraiso (EMI International, 2002)
Songs Fron A Little Blue House (RCA, 1999)

With Mrs. Fun
Groove (Black Sky, 1999)

With Steve Gilmore
Silhouette (JazzMania, 1994)
I’m All Smiles (JazzMania, 1993)

With Mondo Grosso
MG4 (Sony, 2000)

With Donald Harrison
Free To Be (GRP, 1999)

With Phillip Hernandez
The Beat Of My Heart (Hernandez Music, 2002)

With Horacio El Negro Hernandez and Robby Ameen

Still At The Third World War (EWE, 2005)
At The Third World War (American Clave, 2005)

With Conrad Herwig
Que Viva Coltrane: The Latin Side of John Coltrane (Criss Cross, 2004)
Another Kind Of Blue: The Latin Side Of Miles Davis (Half-Note, 2004)

With Kelley Johnson
Make Someone Happy (Chartmaker, 1998)

With Bill Kirchner
Trance Dance: Live In Concert (Challenge, 1999)

With Marti Lynch
Sings The Blues (Marti Lynch, 2003)
It’s About Time (Marti Lynch, 1996)

With Message
The Art of Blakey (Evidence, 1993)

With Monday Michiru
Optimista (Polydor, 1999)
Double Image (Emarcy, 1999)
Jazz Brat (Kitty, 1995)

With Ralph Moore
Round Trip (Reservoir, 1985)

With Jorge Moreno
Moreno (WEA International, 2001)

With Mark Murphy
Beauty and the Beast (Muse, 1985)

With Mika Nakashima
Love Addict (Sony, 2004)

With Fintan O’Neill Quintet
In the Moment (Amosaya, 1996)

With Dafnis Prieto
About The Monks (Zoho, 2005)

With Prince
Emancipation (NPG/EMI, 1996)

With Tito Puente
The Mambo King: 100th Album (RMM, 1991)

With Melvin Rhyne
The Legend (Criss Cross, 1991)

With Ritmo Junction
Ritmo Junction (Self-Released, 1997)

With Herb Robertson
Shades of Bud Powell (JMT, 1988)

With Ted Rosenthal
Images of Monk (Jazz Alliance, 1992)
Expressions (Jazz ‘N Pulz, 2003)

With Rob Schneiderman
Dancing in the Dark (Reservoir, 2001)
Dark Blue (Reservoir, 1994)
Radio Waves (Reservoir, 1991)

With Marlon Simon & the Nagual Spirits
Rumba A La Patato (Cubop, 2000)
The Music of Marlon Simon (K-Jazz, 1998)

With Jim Snidero
Blue Afternoon
(Criss Cross, 1989)
Mixed Bag (Criss Cross, 1987)

On Time (EMI-Toshiba, 1984)

With Dave Stahl
Live At Knights (Abee Cake, 1990)

With Dave Stryker
Blue to the Bone 3
(Steeplechase, 2002)
Shades Of Miles (Steeplechase, 2000)
Blue to the Bone 2 (Steeplechase, 1999)
Blue to the Bone (Steeplechase, 1996)

With Jerome Sydenham & Kerri Chandler
Saturday (Ibadan, 2001)

With Roland Vasquez
The Tides Of Time (Roland Vazquez, 1988)

Tom Erdmann’s interview of Brian Lynch is reprinted here through the kind permission of the International Trumpet Guild. To learn more about this organization of 6,000 trumpet enthusiasts visit the ITG Website (www.trumpetguild.org)

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