We like low notes. We like Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, those voluptuous baritones that rattled our hi-fi sets, those vibrations of somewhere between 40 to 200 per second, not too low and not too high, the ones you can feel in your chest and in your toes, that's the sweet spot. Curious, then, that in jazz we've got so many crooners sitting in this section of the frequency spectrum but, save our illustrious baritone saxophonists and bassists, so few instrumentalists willing to step out into the spotlight.
Although the bass trombone is largely unknown to the general public, it can be found in nearly every symphony orchestra, every movie soundtrack, and every big band. It's been around for centuries in different shapes and sizes but achieved its modern form after World War II: the same basic length as the tenor trombone, with a larger bore and two added valves which allow it to descend chromatically all the way down to the bottom of the piano. In the 50s and 60s, 1st call studio ace George Roberts made some of the only jazz LPs to feature the instrument in a starring role.
Which brings us to Max Seigel, handling the 6lbs and 16 feet of brass tubing with ease, 4 octaves of buzz, boldly presenting the bass trombone as a seriously bad ass bebop machine. Not... more