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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceTrombonists(Moderators: zemry, Thomas Matta) Frank Rosolino Tongue Technique?
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Bret Steed

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« on: Mar 31, 2011, 01:33PM »

What tongue technique did Frank Rosolino use?  Doodle? Legato double?  To me it sounds too articulate for doodle..  Whatever it is, I wanna be able to do it :)
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griffinben

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 31, 2011, 02:14PM »

Nobody but Frank's tongue knows for sure.  I have done extensive listening to Frank and have heard almost everything but double tonguing.  Mostly, I hear an incredible lip break articulation combined with a rapid single tongue.  The effect Frank gets seems to be on where he uses the single tongue interspersed with the lip break articulations.  Its not in "usual" or "trombonistic" places.  added to that, he is able to use lip breaks in varying levels of percussiveness, from soft breaks to very firm ones that slam into the partial he's looking for.  I have a heard a couple of things that I might be willing to accept as doodle tonguing, but to my ears, that is the rare exception, rather than the rule.

I highly recommend listening to "Rock Bottom" from Bobby Knight and his Great American Trombone Company.  Frank is using a Buzz-Wow mute and it makes it a bit easier to hear the articulations (or lack thereof, in the form of slurs).  (P.S. this tip was given to me by Jeff Bush, and he was right!).

One thing is for sure, Frank's technique was amazingly individual and completely from HIM.  Even with a LOT of diligent practice, I don't think anyone will be able to readily (if at all) replicate his articulations in the same manner with the same effectiveness.

Ben
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lowerlip
« Reply #2 on: Mar 31, 2011, 02:33PM »

what is a "lip break" articulation? Confused
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TromboneMonkey

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« Reply #3 on: Mar 31, 2011, 03:01PM »

Direct quote from Bill Watrous to me:

"We have no idea what the **** he was doing."



I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Griffin in that he was using a combination of things with rapid and extreme precision; something that he could've only perfected over years and years of having practiced and performed that way at the highest and most dedicated levels.
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 31, 2011, 03:23PM »


... "We have no idea what the **** he was doing." ...

short and honest, can't get much better than that.   Good! Good!
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 31, 2011, 04:09PM »

Lip break: going through a partial to create a delineation between notes.  For example, moving from a 3rd postion  to a 4th postion 
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Chris Fidler

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« Reply #6 on: Mar 31, 2011, 04:27PM »

Listen to him sing....... There's the answer!!!!

Clark Terry is another fine example.
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lowerlip
« Reply #7 on: Mar 31, 2011, 04:41PM »

Lip break: going through a partial to create a delineation between notes.  For example, moving from a 3rd postion  to a 4th postion 
ok, I've not hear it called that. I've come to know that as playing against the grain.
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TromboneMonkey

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« Reply #8 on: Mar 31, 2011, 05:13PM »

Lip break, natural break, across the grain, fretting, all the same thing!
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 31, 2011, 05:26PM »

It's worth listening to The Vancouver recording with Carl Fontana.  In there there's a bass solo, during All Blues at about 9:15, and you can hear Frank on an open mic scatting some ideas.  What was he scatting?  Well, duga-duga-duga-duga-dug.  Sounds to me like he was rehearsing trombone with trombone articulation. 
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griffinben

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« Reply #10 on: Mar 31, 2011, 06:25PM »

While many of the angular ideas he sings come from the same sensibility as his playing, the way he articulates his singing/scatting and the way he plays isn't the same.
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 31, 2011, 07:14PM »

Can't say with any certainty what was going on inside his head or inside his mouthpiece.  But one thing is absolutely certain.  It is possible to combine "fretting" and tonguing to improve speed AND accuracy.  In other words, there is a certain amount of "resistance" to slurring across a partial.  You can brute-force your way through that, but one can also use the tongue to just slightly disturb the airflow/buzz at the instant you want to cross the grain.  That little bit of tongue makes the crossing happen much more precisely.  I suspect he had integrated that technique into his subconscious.

But he also did a lot of hard tonguing.
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« Reply #12 on: Apr 01, 2011, 03:45PM »

Now listening to Rock Bottom.  Thanks for the reference. 

I note for example at about 2:08 Frank is cycling rapidly through a series of notes on different partials (Bb, Db (starts flat, later natural), F, I think) and his tongue hits the notes on the beat (but at different points in the cycle).  So thats like Bb, D, F, D, Bb, D, F, etc.  Four notes around. 

But his rhythm is something like two sixteenths and a sixteenth triplet, then a sixteenth triplet and two sixteenths.  Five notes in a unit. 

The basic cycle is four notes.  The basic rhythm is five notes.  The accent is happening on the beat with the tongue, a different pitch each time as the notes rotate around.  It gets pretty complicated sounding, and then he alters it into what sounds like an acceleration of the cycle, tongues on the three-quarter beat for a three feel. 

This acceleration into a three feel is something that also shows up in Practice With the Experts.  Frank's contribution to the collection of pro exercises compiled by Paul Tanner deals with turns.  To start, the turns happen on the beat, then on repeat they happen every three-quarter beat then next every half beat.  The tongue happens at the beginning of each turn.  First on the beat, then on every three-quarter, then every half beat. 

Next, try 2:30.

Here Frank is cycling through Bb, Db, F (in groups of three), then Bb, Db, E, then Bb, Dd, Eb following the changes.  He's clearly tonguing each note (well, let me say, clear to me).  And these fast (16ths at 110mm) notes are noticeably swung (like In the Mood).  Shortening the second note in each pair is like playing straight at a faster tempo, maybe 150mm.  Could be a multiple tongue. 

Anyway, that's the way I hear it, with considerable help from Transcribe!.
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« Reply #13 on: Apr 01, 2011, 06:53PM »

There is no harm done by analyzing his playing, and developing etudes to try to develop some of his legendary dexterity.  But I'm guessing if he were here, he'd respond with,

"Say what? I just play."
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« Reply #14 on: Apr 01, 2011, 07:45PM »

where's Greg Waits?  I'd bet he'd have something to contribute to this...
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lowerlip
« Reply #15 on: Apr 02, 2011, 04:41AM »

great resource.

http://www.ejazzlines.com/FOND-MEMORIES-OF-FRANK-ROSOLINO-p20597.html
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griffinben

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« Reply #16 on: Apr 02, 2011, 07:33AM »

Quote

The Herwig book above has some nice transcriptions, but not many notes on articulation hints.

The Mark Nightingale book "20 Jazz Etudes" has two Rosolino like exercises (one in the key studies, one in the artist section): http://www.warwickmusic.com/sheet+music/trombone/tenor+trombone/tenor+trombone+studies/methods/nightingale+20+jazz+etudes+bass+clef/cd

In it, Nigthingale recommends tonguing the first two notes of the turns, slurring the two descending notes.  That does sound like it happen sometimes, mostly on the triplet/eight styled turns; they have a particularly "popping" sound.  Sometimes he only tongues the first notes.  Sometimes it's like the last notes of the turn.

The swinging sixteenths you mention on "Rock Bottom" do sound single tongued to me.  I think Frank had an amazingly fast single tongue, and 16ths at 110bpm is not incredibly out of the ordinary.  I have heard others with incredibly fast single tongues, and I that's what it sounds like to me.

lastly, yeah, Frank might say "I don't know how I do it!" and laugh, but then again, I am not so sure.  His contribution to Practice with the Experts (which he uses in performance) is certainly studied, and he relates on playing his brother's violin exercises.  No one get's that level of mastery without practice, no matter their natural talent (which is indeed prodigious).  I think Frank spent a lot of time practicing and thinking about what he was doing.  He might say "I don't know!", and it might be true in the context of performance, but the technique is almost certainly studied and practiced, methinks.

Love talking Frank.  The more I study him myself, the more I respect I have for his commitment to the craft.

Ben
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TromboneMonkey

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« Reply #17 on: Apr 02, 2011, 06:44PM »

The Herwig book above has some nice transcriptions, but not many notes on articulation hints.

The Mark Nightingale book "20 Jazz Etudes" has two Rosolino like exercises (one in the key studies, one in the artist section): http://www.warwickmusic.com/sheet+music/trombone/tenor+trombone/tenor+trombone+studies/methods/nightingale+20+jazz+etudes+bass+clef/cd


Good! Good!

Great resource, that Nightingale book!


Hard enough to take cocky guys like me down a couple of pegs too!
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« Reply #18 on: Apr 03, 2011, 09:37AM »

Ive really pondered his sound since I was in the 8th grade. After listening to him so extensively to me it sounds like he is combining all forms of tonging.

Some of his articulations are something like "doodle-da-tuck-ka-ta-ah" or something or other.

Also keep in mind his setup, he plays on a small horn and on a even smaller mouthpiece (17c and sometimes a 21c). I know Warburton  sells a Rosolino specific mouthpiece but something that small seems so..."unhealthy".   
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griffinben

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« Reply #19 on: Apr 03, 2011, 11:07AM »

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Also keep in mind his setup, he plays on a small horn and on a even smaller mouthpiece (17c and sometimes a 21c). I know Warburton  sells a Rosolino specific mouthpiece but something that small seems so..."unhealthy".   

Certainly his equipment facilitated his technique and vice versa.  It was a Bel Air Rite Cup 41 (if memory serves) which was roughly 15C-sh.  I had one of these, and its very shallow, wide rim with a soft bite and a narrow throat.  The Warburton pieces have very shallow cups and tight throats (I didn't measure the backbore) and comes in three rim sizes that are roughly 15C, 12C, and 11c in inner diameters (which are the 1, 2 and 3, respectively).

I have to disagree that such a small piece is unhealthy.  I think that it betrays the opposite, that his chops were INCREDIBLY healthy, which an amazingly efficient embouchure to make it work over the wide range he had.  I know different facial types favor different mouthpiece inner rim diameters, but certainly with that extremely shallow cup depth, he had to have been in phenomenal shape to play anything other than those high F's.  I think you have to be in SUPER healthy shape to play something that small with any success.

I also agree with you that he seems to vary LOTS of different articulations to accomplish his goals (I hear what sounds like the occasional "Ka/ga" sound).  But I also think the lip break - single tongue variation is most prominent.

-Ben
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