trumpet player, is one of those rare talents who is equally talented on jazz trumpet and lead trumpet. "Gizzy" is highly revered in the trumpet community. Greg Gisbert grew up in a musical family in Denver, Colorado. Greg played the drums and then flugelhorn in high school. Greg auditioned for the 1983 - 1984 McDonald's All-American High School Jazz Band and he toured/recorded with the group. After high school, Greg attended the Berklee College of Music in 1984 - 1985, where he recorded alongside Cyrus Chestnut as part of Phil Wilson's Rainbow Band.
While at Berklee College of Music, Greg was offered an opportunity to go on the road with the Buddy Rich Big Band through a connection made through Wilson. Greg's has performed with Buddy Rich (1985 - 1986), Woody Herman's Big band under Frank Tiberi's direction (1987 - 1989), John Fedchock and Maria Schneider, Gary Burton (1989), Lew Anderson (1989) and Toshiko Akiyoshi (1989 and subsequently). In the 1990's, he played with Mingus Epitaph (1990 - 1992), Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Mickey Tucker and Buck Clayton (1991), Danny D'Imperio (1991) Norman Simmons (1992), John Hicks (1992), Fedchock and Schneider again, and with the Convergence Quintet in Denver, Colorado. From 1994 to 1997 Greg worked with Joe Roccisano, and recorded with Chuck Bergeron, Loren Schoenberg and Ken Peplowski. He accompanied Carol Sloane and Susannah McCorkle in large ensembles in 1996. He has recorded several albums under his own name for Criss Cross Jazz.
In recent years, Gisbert has become an active and highly respected jazz educator, teaching at festivals and conducting clinics across the United States. He also had two stints on the Jazz Faculty at the University of Miami in the 2000's.
Greg has also branched out in producing; bringing the up-and-coming conductor and composer, Chie Imiazumi, to the public's attention, acting as producer of her debut album, "Unfailing Kindness." Additionally, Gisbert is a founding member of Convergence, whose members include Paul Romaine on drums and Jon Gunther on saxophone. He is also presently performing with The Greg Gisbert Quartet and the Greg Gisbert Syndicate.
Greg Gisbert performs on the Yamaha YTR 8310Z Bobby Shew Custom Series Professional Model Bb Trumpet along with a Roger Ingram Marcinkiewicz Signature Trumpet Mouthpiece and two Al Cass trumpet mouthpieces for jazz playing.
I use two mouthpieces for upper register playing, first is the Bobby Shew Lead made by Yamaha and I use that because it more versatile and I can still get a warm sound in the low register while still being able to execute the upper register. If I have a lot of lead on an extended tour, I play the Roger Ingram Signature Model Marcinkiewicz trumpet mouthpiece because it allows me to play more consistently for longer periods of time and is easier to play in the upper register.
The proper equipment allows me to play as relaxed and comfortable as possible while at the same time giving a very bright and clear sound. It is important to find the proper balance between trumpet and mouthpiece to stay relaxed while playing. Play the smallest mouthpiece you can still get a big sound on.
When looking for a mouthpiece design for upper register playing, I feel the player must first check the mouthpiece and check the registers of low C and high C for at least 10 to 15 minutes and then if you found a small mouthpiece that has a clear sound and you can play between low C and high C, at a medium soft volume, chromatically go upwards from high C. The reasoning of that is to see if there are any strange breaks between the notes. Eager or impatient players just blast high notes and of course they come out. With brute force you can make any note come out but later on the inconsistencies of the mouthpiece will start to show up. Joe Shepley taught me to check your E above high C, sometimes Eb, if it speaks clearly and doesn't go flat, the back-bore and throat is almost always a good combination with the lead-pipe.
For me, it is about 80% mental and 20% physical. I have a naturally set up embouchure so I didn't have to practice for hours and hours to find those notes. If I am mentally prepared, physically relaxed, and I am not worried about the mechanics and play what I hear in my head. My understanding of the physics behind those sounds is limited. The famous Yogi Berra said, baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.
I think it varies from person to person. For me it was a learned trait initially. I like that sound and wanted to make that sound. I took lessons with Bobby Shew and Roger Ingram. After I learned how to do it, it became more of a natural instinct.
I feel like there needs to be enough air in the chest cavity for compression to occur but not force. I look for a feeling where the note is resonating in my chest cavity and my chops and I let out a little bit at a time. The air is trying to get out of my chest so I don't want to force it out, I want to let it out.
A player should be able to be able to play those notes with and without compression. The difference is without compressed air the sound will be much softer but with compressed air the sound will be loud.
I practice softly and slowly in the upper register. If I try to muscle it, my average will not be very good. The slot for those notes is so small the smallest amount of unnecessary motion can make the notes squirrely. I practice the high notes relaxed, softly and still listening for the right quality of sound.