One of today's most highly regarded lead and commercial trumpet players, Paul Baron's sound is distinctly bright and powerful and carries with it decades of experience in a wide range of musical styles. Freelance and Broadway Trumpet Player Paul Baron of Seattle, Washington grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada. Paul Baron began playing the trumpet at an early age after his parents rented him a trumpet and said if he practiced for six months on his own they'd get him a private trumpet teacher. Paul's first trumpet teachers were at a local music store and the first one only played piano. Paul and his teacher worked out of "A Tune A Day." When Paul was six years old he started "playing" in a community band. Paul relates, "Actually what I was mostly doing was watching the fingerings of the guys next to me and grabbing an open note here and there. Then later a few more notes and so on. That was my beginning years, trying to play catch-up with the more experienced players. They were so helpful and encouraging.
In middle school I started playing in college bands and by 9th grade playing some lead. The next year I was playing lead in a couple of the bands and my junior year in high school I was busy 4 nights of the week playing in different college and community bands. It was almost like being on the road, especially with the 6:00 a.m. wake-up call for concert band or stage band at school the next morning. Good training for the road work.
Paul's second trumpet teacher, Bob Hilton, was a retired NORAD Lead Trumpet player (he played lead trumpet in the band with Bobby Shew on the jazz chair.) Bob really got Paul going on Arbans Complete Conservatory Trumpet Method and the fundamentals of playing the trumpet. He also sold Paul a Conrad Gozzo trumpet. Paul relates, "I was so thrilled to be able to play with Bob professionally many years later." Paul's parents had scraped together $200 to buy this used trumpet from a former trumpet teacher. When Paul showed up to lessons with this horn the new trumpet teacher said, "kid, do you know what that is?" Paul had no idea but it was an autographed Conrad Gozzo LeBlanc Trumpet. Paul didn't have a clue as to who Conrad Gozzo was so the teacher took him upstairs and for the next hour played all these recordings with Gozzo. Conrad Gozzo's sound was the first that Paul really wanted to emulate. Paul loved Conrad's phrasing and sense of time, and of course that big sound. Next, was Maynard. Paul was introduced to Maynard's music sort of through the back door. Paul remembers waiting around for his marching band's turn to start a parade route in Seattle and a band very close by was warming up playing "Gospel John" and Paul was totally blown away. About two years later Paul's mom got permission from a night club owner to allow Paul and several other under-age kids to go see Maynard and the band live. Paul was hooked from then on. Paul and his friends sat in the front row almost close enough to feel the force of the air hitting them. For the next 4 or 5 years Paul was able to see Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, and Count Basie's Big Band.
Trumpet Player Paul Baron learned much from really great friends who shared what they learned from their time away in New York City and Los Angeles. One of Paul's friends spent 6 months studying the Bill Adam Trumpet Routine with studio great Charley Davis, another in New York City with Carmine Caruso, and yet another with Claude Gordon. They were all very willing to share and much of what Paul learned was sitting with this material and getting what he could out of it. Paul's teachers taught him the fundamentals with Arbans, Charles Colin Lip Flexibilities, Irons, Clarke's Technical Studies, so Paul really had a good foundation. Paul was able to take what worked best for him, and that seemed to evolve over time. The "Six Notes" from Carmine Caruso, the tuning slide buzzing from Bill Adam's Trumpet Routine, tongue placement from Claude Gordon, were all good lessons.
Paul relates, "I don't think there's anything that can compare to playing next to really great trumpet players and picking their brains. One of the things I like to do is ask the players that I admire if there is one or two things that have the biggest positive impact on their playing. I was fortunate enough to be touring with a show and we played Los Angeles where Wayne Bergeron was hired. First of all, I was scared to death and didn't sleep for about 2 nights before the rehearsal. What was I doing coming in to play lead next to Wayne Bergeron? Wayne immediately made me feel at ease and we had a wonderful time. I asked him this question and he graciously shared the James Stamp warm-up and practice routine that he got from Boyd Hood. That was such a huge help for me."
Paul continues, "I like to push myself to the point just slightly past where I feel fatigue and then rest. I have seen Bobby Shew in a clinic setting a couple times and although I'm not sure if I really have the "wedge" breathing thing down I try to keep my chest up and think about the compression coming from just below my ribs. For endurance, I think Bill Adam's Trumpet Routine is fantastic. Make sure you rest as long as you play and keep the sound live and vibrant throughout all registers. To get the feel of where the upper notes slot doing octave and two octave glissandos up and back down are fantastic. I try to use as little lip movement as possible and let the tongue placement and breath compression do the work. Think of moving the sound further forward in your mouth as you ascend. That seems to get the tongue arch further forward creating more compression.
Respect the music you play or don't take the gig. I have been in situations where legitimate players disrespect a Broadway show but take the gig, or a pops show where they complain about the music. There is something to be learned from playing most kinds of music and if you keep an open mind there's no telling where that lesson will come in handy."
Professional Trumpet Player Paul Baron is a very busy studio / freelance trumpet player who has performed and recorded with numerous musicians. See his website for an exhaustive listing. Paul performs using a Jupiter 1600S-SRB3 Lightweight Bb Trumpet for commercial/lead that he helped design with Jupiter and the JTR-1600S-SRB3 Red Brass Bb Trumpet for classical work. Paul uses a Burbank long bell piccolo trumpet and a JFH-846RL flugelhorn. Paul uses his signature line of trumpet mouthpieces made by Picket Brass.