Frink / McNeil: Flexus Trumpet Calisthentics for the Modern Improviser
The first book to deal with the unique demands of improvising on the trumpet! As every trumpet player knows, playing an extended solo often results in playing the trumpet less correctly as the solo goes on. FLEXUS addresses this problem with new and progressively challenging routines and ten specially written etudes. In no time you will develop the freedom to play the solos you want! Includes a demonstration CD.
Sendmemusic Summer School Trumpet Tutor Henry Lowther has written this review:
"I acquired this excellent book, along with the accompanying demonstration CD of Laurie Frink performing studies from it, two or three months ago.
One of the less palatable facts of trumpet playing, in comparison to many other musical instruments, is that it is so physically demanding that in order to play it even reasonably well one has to devote considerable time and effort merely attempting to master the physical problems that it presents. Boring but true! And this is quite separate from musical considerations.
As long as I've been playing I've encountered, and sometimes even tried, many different methods and systems, from No Pressure methods, the Pivot System, Double High 'C' in 37 Weeks and God knows what else, all claiming to solve all your problems and turn you into a genius. One or two even promise fame and fortune too! Some of these methods do indeed have their devotees but in general I think it's true to say that there's no simple solution. We all know, however, that practising something or other has something to do with it!
This book has been developed from the method as taught by the late teacher Carmine Caruso who, despite having never played a trumpet in his life, was revered by trumpet players everywhere in the USA. I myself went to him for a lesson once, along with two great British trumpet players, Stuart Brooks and Steve Sidwell. Both Laurie Frink and John McNeil are disciples of Carmine Caruso and are wonderful players.
Flexus is aimed primarily at the jazz player and is certainly not as tedious as Caruso's original book. The exercises are grouped in sections. First of all there is what are called long setting exercises which have been developed from Caruso's method. These are then followed by various flexibility exercises along with exercises in articulation, quick register changes, pedal tones and so on. Where this book differs from others is by being aimed at the modern improviser and many of the exercises are intensely chromatic, sometimes atonal and some concentrate on fourths and other intervals. Some exercises are also scalic and modal, all in one key, and the student is recommended to transpose them themselves, all-important for modern jazz playing.
Flexus comes with a recommended routine for practice but it would be up to the student to use it as they see fit. One small problem I have with it is that it's not always made clear whether some of the exercises are intended to be played as long setting exercises or not and whether or not they should be played with or without a break. Also some exercises are too long to be played without a breath and the student is encouraged to pause at random in order to do so. These are small gripes and it's probably a positive thing for the student to treat them and possibly alter them as they like. After all Flexus is intended to be primarily for the improviser (English Spelling - spot the difference!)!
Bk/CD, 135 pages