This book is made up of the lead trumpet parts from our CD, Doin' The Do. Each chart presents
different challenges, both physical and musical. Rather than have me, the arranger and bandleader (and sometimes trumpet player) explain how to play these parts, I thought it would be most beneficial to go to the horse's mouth.
In our band we are extremely fortunate to have Bob Millikan, one of the swingingest lead trumpet players on the scene today. Although Bob is deeply ensconced in the recording world and the Broadway pits, where he is in great demand, his first love is playing lead trumpet in a swinging big band. He has been in every incarnation of our band for over 30 years. All the musicians and I love him for his musicality, consistency, quick wit, generosity, amiability and most of all, his incredible time feel. When you get to the gig and see Bob, you know it's going to be swinging. Bob is not the flashiest lead player. He seldom draws attention to himself, nor does he ever overdo something or exhibit bad taste.
I encourage you to listen to the accompanying CD and listen to Bob play while you read his part in this book. Then read the interview for that chart to find out what he is thinking. He doesn't hold anything back. He tells you how he does it. Sometimes he and I get a bit off the track and talk about peripheral issues. This too is important. All the information given here is applicable to many situations. The smart musician will come away with a practical approach to addressing the role of lead trumpet.
With all this said, both Bob and I firmly believe that everyone needs to find his or her own way of doing things, and that goes for playing lead trumpet as well. Although Bob's way works well for Bob, there are many other ways to approach playing lead. It is our hope that some of this material will work for you, and that this book will lead you to a deeper understanding of the task and to your own personal solutions.