Scream Trumpet Player Lynn Nicholson of Las Vegas, Nevada
Scream Trumpet Player Lynn Nicholson of Las Vegas grew up in Chicago, Illinois and attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago shortly after graduating from high school. Scream Trumpet Player Lynn Nicholson studied trumpet with Charles Geyer (at the school) and George Bean (commercially). Lynn relates that both were great trumpet players and trumpet teachers. Lynn also studied with Cat Anderson, Bud Brisbois and Bill Adam. Lynn had initially been accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston; however, decided that he did not want to be in Boston at the time. Lynn returned to Chicago entering the American Conservatory.
Lynn Nicholson cut his teeth playing in a lot of rehearsal bands in the Chicago area from 1970 - 1973 including Bobby Christians band. Bill Chase hired Lynn in 1973 after hearing him play with Bobby Christian. While still playing with Chase, Lynn relates that he was actually screened for a job on Maynard's band while dining with Maynard (though he did not realize this at the time). A Holton executive had heard Lynn's trumpet playing while Lynn was trying out some Holton trumpets at the factory and had arranged the dinner with Maynard. Bill Chase actually fired Lynn. However, contrary to rumors, Lynn and Chase had a great relationship and much mutual respect. Chase was actually sorry to see Lynn leave the band. Lynn was hired to play on Maynard Ferguson's band in 1974.
Lynn states, Yes, I did put the #19 throat in Maynard's mouthpiece, and I did fit the mouthpiece shank right up against the lead-pipe. Contrary to popular belief though, I did not play part of the cadenza in La Fiesta on the Chameleon album. I could have, but Maynard overdubbed all of it. Playing the second part, Lynn Nicholson assisted Stan Mark (when Stan needed it) and he also played some passages for Maynard. Maynard approach Lynn while they were out on the road and asked Lynn if he knew the bridge to "MacArthur Park." Lynn stated that he did and Maynard stated, "it's yours." Lynn was quite nervous at being featured with the bridge and asked maynard for a couple nights to get prepared. Maynard told Lynn, "you will be fine, just watch your breathing." Lynn was on Maynard's band for most of 1974. Lynn quickly grew tired of the road life and wanted to charge forward to some other goal. Maynard advised Lynn, "Goals are fine, but you need to enjoy the process of getting there." Lynn admittedly was always in a hurry and missed out on a lot of the enjoyment of playing during this time in his life. The advice from Maynard didn't register and Lynn left the band at Christmas.
Scream Trumpet Player Lynn Nicholson moved to Los Angeles, California in 1975 and began playing with Toshiko Akiyoshi and a lot of rehearsal bands. Lynn remembers playing with over twenty different rehearsal bands in one week during this time. Lynn learned a lot that year playing with many great trumpet players and frequently felt that he was the worst player in the section. Lynn joined the Buddy Rich Big Band for a few months toward the end of 1975. Lynn began playing Lead Trumpet with the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Big Band in 1976 subbing for Al Porcino while Al was out with a health problem. Lynn moved to second trumpet upon Al's return to the band. Lynn recorded "Live in Munich" on a four month European tour with the band. This is a great album, hopefully someone will reproduce it in CD format. I recall distinctly hearing Lynn's playing on this album in spots. Lynn left Thad Jones / Mel Lewis to go to Las Vegas to pursue "more money." Lynn relates that as he left the band, "Thad warned me that more money was not the answer." Lynn states, "No truer words were ever spoken to me, except perhaps those spoken by Maynard."
Lynn Nicholson began playing Lead Trumpet at The Dunes in Las Vegas in 1977 and damaged the vibrating service of his chops early. Lynn played through the damage for the next decade, after which his lip finally healed. Lynn relates that he never "lost his chops" just lots of tiny pieces of the vibrating surface. Lynn states that there is still some visible scarring as a result. Efficient use of air is a double edged sword.
Lynn joined Haig's relief band in 1978 where they played the 7th night for the various house bands (to get a break). Lynn says this was a great gig but he only got one night off every three weeks. Lynn says, "You haven't lived until you've played Maynard's "Gonna Fly Now" at 7:45a.m. while the audience is being seated for the Chrysler Show, after having played two Dunes Shows the night before. Lynn played nearly every act and show in Las Vegas during the period from 1977 through 1992. Lynn says that "playing Vegas can best be described as a factory job in a war zone, but we all made the most of it." In 1992, work became sporadic so Lynn decided not to pursue playing gigs any longer and began another profession involving photography and video cams.
Scream Trumpet Player Lynn Nicholson received a package from Dave Monette several years ago that rekindled his interest in playing the trumpet. Dave sent Lynn an MF II Monette mouthpiece and Lynn enjoyed playing the mouthpiece. Lynn relates, "Since I hadn't played for years, I did some playing and really loved the Monette mouthpiece. Lynn relates, "Mysteriously, I actually started feeling good about playing again. It was fun and so I continued, but just for fun. I realized that for me, there is something special about mastering high notes, and that my life is enriched by them. Not sure how exactly, but they somehow uplift my spirit. So, my trumpet is always set up, ready for high notes, and I always feel better after playing some." Lynn has also started teaching some private trumpet again. Lynn credits his work on the Alien Camera Stabilizer patent with helping him show others precisely how to increase their trumpet range.
Lynn Nicholson relates the following regarding his horns, mouthpieces etc. Lynn has played an ST-302 Holton MF Horn in past years. More recently, Lynn has been playing a Yamaha 8310Z Shew Professional Trumpet. On Maynard's band, Lynn played a highly modified Jet Tone T1A mouthpiece with a #23 throat fit right up to the lead pipe. Lynn has recently worked with K.O. Skinsnes in developing a new LynnFLEX Mouthpiece that will be available for purchase soon. Says Lynn, "Briefly, the Lynn Flex is the same short length as my original Maynard v-cup from the 50s. KO has come up with an explosive C4 back bore that is absolutely amazing! In my opinion, this is the fast spreading back bore that Maynard always wanted. Wish he was here to try it. It is very open and perfect for high notes. The Lynn Flex gets a brilliant sound, while having substantial under tones. If you are a relaxed player, it soars easily with very little effort, taking your air efficiently, while providing unlimited range/endurance potential. What more can I say? The Lynn Flex is an extraordinary trumpet mouthpiece for commercial players interested in achieving the highest levels of performance, and KO has done a wonderful job of making it a reality!"
To contact Lynn Nicholson for Trumpet Lessons ... or, to view all of the beautiful photography ... you can visit Lynn's website at www.Isasitis.com