There’s a reason jazz musicians (and other musicians, and actors, chefs, etc.) move to NY City, Chicago, or other large metropolitan areas. They are places, as Russell Malone says in this short vid, where there are more opportunities to get your behind kicked. And when you’re learning and striving to get better, that’s exactly what you need.
Ever since I picked up the trumpet, practice has been a never-ending search for privacy. Mostly a failed search, too. When I was a kid learning to play, my parents banished me to the garage, and this was a great thing, even though the garage was unheated and we lived in Alaska. It gave me a space to explore without fear of annoying the hell out of anyone within earshot. It also let me escape fear of judgment and gave me the freedom to really explore the instrument and my relationship with it. Now I live in Chicago. No garage. Not even a house. I’m in an apartment and have neighbors on five sides.
It might go without saying that Ethan Bensdorf is a fantastic classical trumpet player, but I’ll say it anyway: Ethan is a fantastic trumpet player. We talked over the phone and he told me the story of how he landed the gig with the New York Philharmonic, playing with principal trumpet legend Mr. Phillip Smith, including a week spent getting his chops together on the rotary valve trumpet before heading back to New York for another round of final auditions. Ethan also shared his thoughts about practice and had a lot of great things to say. Hope you enjoy.