"Wishful Thangs" - Big Sam's Funky Nation

"Whishful Thangs" (PDF) from the Big Sam's Funky Nation album, Peace, Love & Understanding.
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In the world of professional wrestling there is this concept of "The Pop."  It refers to the reaction from the crowd when a grappler is introduced, accompanied by instantly recognizable theme music, similarly to a fanfare for gladiators entering the Roman Colosseum.  Even more so, the wrestling business has further narrowed the science of the entrance down to the initial sound that the crowd hears.  Whether it is a bell toll, shattered glass, or a catchphrase, a wrestler's trademark entrance needs to electrify a crowd onto its feet.

Sadly I admit, this once actually happened to me, thanks to The Bushwackers.

The same "Pop" effect can be applied to a trombone solo.  The instant sound of brass excites the human ear, and an exciting solo begins with the very first note.  Your tone, your style, your presentation as you begin to play must be overflowing with confidence, attitude, and swagger.  The audience does not want to wait for you to find the groove, it wants you to bring it.

Big Sam makes an entrance with his powerful tone and creates tension that eventually resolves "on the 1."  In order to develop that tone, work on long tones in the upper register of the horn and focus on a crisp, clean attack.  All I can say is: lots of air support.  But it also depends on what note you play.  If you enter "on the 1," a strong tonic note or a 5th works effectively like the power chord in rock music.  But if you enter before "the 1," you must create some sort of rub that lands on the down beat.  Big Sam tends to play a syncopated rhythm pattern, starting on the b7th and falling down to the tonic.  Trombone Shorty is a fan of the simple slow, growly glissando up to the tonic.  By developing an exciting entrance, you only set yourself up to for success in the wrestling ring… er… up on the stage.  Ring the damn bell!

Here is YouTube video (Part 1 & Part 2) of Big Sam jamming with DJ Logic.  Notice how Big Sam makes his entrances with each new beat provided by DJ Logic, setting him up for funky phrases.  Also notice the use of Clyde Stubblefield's "Funky Drummer" beat in the mix.

Recommended Reading: Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now, edited by Robert Gottlieb.  Published by Pantheon Books.