FB: Yeah. Some sweet time there. And uhhh, lets broaden in our little bit to the greater Boston community. You mentioned pullling together that first Sackbut week and that others schools were involved, MIT, BU, Berklee. What was some of your other broadening interest or connections with the Boston and Berklee community.
TE: Well after that first year, Phil and I went into Larry Berk who was then head of the school. And went in and told him of our idea of ya know, we just had this Sackbut week and we had a hundred-fifty trombonist to come in and its a good way of reaching out to public school students and ummm, ya know the largest dropout rate in grade school instruments was the trombone because its such a difficult instrument. And the range is ya know, most young kids, grade school kids, they're voices are soprano or maybe alto but to hear things in the tenor or bass register was very difficult for them and just the fact that you had...
FB: Wait a minute they made, they make Suzuki violins in one eight and one quarter, do they make miniature trombones for eight-year-olds?
TE: They make an alto or soprano trombone. But, they're more difficult to play in some ways I mean the range might be easier for a kid to hear because its in they're voice range, but just because the positions are so close together...
FB: Nailing the notes is hard.
TE: Absolutely. And its also in the upper register so its very challenging. So we also made the case that we could help keep more tombone players invloved if they felt part of something and also if they got some more experience from attending clinics and all and he agreed with it and came up with giving us Berklee facilities for our day of clinics which was socerity of Sackbut week, came up with a beautiful fold out brochure which we used for ten, twelve years which was provided by Berklee College of Music that listed all the events for the week. And Berklee would bring artist sometime that week as well as Harvard would, and there'd be other activities in town. So Berklee was very much involved.
FB: Larry Berk always like to have a community presence, is from what I remember. Bob Share was always looking out for that and that ummm, I don't know if they had already started school programs where they would have a ya know, a van going over and playing in the neighborhoods yet.
TE: I don't think so but...
FB: Not yet, but this might have been one of the spirating, one of the seminole influences to hit the cummunities as Berklee now does in spades. I mean they have all kinds of things going on at all levels of schools. So...
FB: The other thing that Berklee has, that may have stemmed back from that period, was exeptional promotion and news department. Back in those days it was Alma Berk.
FB: Alma, she did it.
TE: And she ya know, people outside the trombone field were saying, "what the hell is a sackbut, I just read that there's something going on this week." And so, I think a big thing Berklee did was help it ya know, promote trombone activities and get the word out there and their particularly effective in reaching the public schools. So that was a big plus.
FB: They were really good at hitting the journalist and the press too, cause I used to get letters signed Alma or out of her department every couple of weeks.
FB: When I was just starting up taking over from Phil Wilson's wife Pat, as the Downbeat correspondant in 66'...more like 70'.
TE: Uh huh.
FB: Ummm, yeah so you got a green light from Larry Berk. What were some of the other things that you were doing, some of the other gigs that involved Berklee or...
TE: Well one of the things that we did, we decided each week, we wanted to do one public event that again brought huge numbers, or the largest numbers we can get of trombonist together. That trombonist from beginners to the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Berklee faculty could all play together in a large group and bring more public attention to the trombone. And ya know, its kind of a publicity event but something to be fun for the trombonist. We did that every year. The first year, trombone week hit on Easter week and we went to the week's bridge which goes from out in Cambridge over the Charles river from the Harvard square area across to the business school and where stadium is. And we got I think thirty-eight or so trombone players together and we'd played some Bach and Easter carals on a bridge. For some of the little kids, to be playing with all these adults and the sound hearing them part of this big sound. You take two trombone players, its souds ok. You take four trombone players, man thats a nice sound. you take thirty trombone players, even of mixed levels, and its like the more the merrier. Its its ummm, the younger are kind of absorbed up into that whole thing, so they really feel like they're participating and the sound is just great.
FB: Its that all embracing awm you get get in a tibetan temple, mmmmmmmmm!
TE: Absolutely, Absolutely. And so another year ummm, we put fifty-six trombone players in the swan boats and we were touring around the gardens, Boston gardens, by the common and playing songs from the swan.
FB: I'm sure it made the evening news.
TE: It did. Next year even more so, we played with Boston Pops playing the Seventy-Six Trombones conducted by Harry L.S. Dixon. And we have a photo of marching from Symphony Hall down to Berklee College led by Mitch Miller.
TE: Who was conducting, it must have been about fifty trombone players.
FB: Oh man.
TE: Weplayed opening day once for Fenway park and put seventy-six trombone players walking around the bases playing the Star Spangled Banner and When the Saints Come Marching In.
FB: That should happen again.
TE: Well I think so. That was led by Phil Wilson playing a 15th century Booseen. And Tony Chinamo who was a major voice in jazz radio in Boston at that time.
FB: Actually ya know it has happend in one way, shape, or form. Tiger Okoshi got the nod because Daisuke Matsuzaka and he played a playoff game with a whole bunch of trumpeters and I'm sure other brass players as well. That happend just last fall I believe.
TE: Well ya know thats...
FB: Did he make the playoffs this last year?
TE: I think it was just last year. Ya know whats so important about that is that to the average person, they don't see a trumpet or a trombone as often ya know rhythm instruments they see all the time, its really important that they can see that thats a viable instrument of expression that ya know it sounds good in numbers, it sounds good by itself. The average person doesn't get to hear ,I mean Wynton's out there and he's pretty prominent but still there's an awful lot of people who don't get to hear Wynton. And its important ya know, besides playing our horns at a very high level, we've promote them also.
FB: Yeah Wynton's good at that too. An educator and a hypster.
FB: And role of prominence, For sure.
FB: What was the gigging like when you were on the scene when you still around playing? Tell, talk about uhh, the Harvey Rodidy band and some of the other groups that you were involved in as a player.
TE: Well I should make it clear, I'm not a jazzer in the sense that my improvisation, I know enough about improvisation to lead a kid to explore their own improvisation. I know enough about the great trombone players and great improvisers to know not to pick up my horn and try and join that. My early playing was mostly freelancing and orchestras and I freelanced with the Boston pops. But I did play with some big bands and I think the first band I worked wiith regularly was Ardvark and the first year Ardvark was created, I played with Mark for several years.
FB: Great, yeah.
TE: And uhhh, I can't remember who the other trombonist was. After a year or so it was Tom Playcheck who I've had a close relationship with Tom over the years. But there was an early seventies or mid-seventies, the Boston Jazz Orchestra called the Claudio Rodidi, Mark Harvey, all star jazz band. All stars, and we used to play Monday nights at the club called Debbies in I guess its in the north end or close to it.
FB: The edge of the financial district.
TE: And uhhh, that had some wonderful players as I think there was a rotating in the trombone section. There were five of us that rotated the four chairs and Hiroshi Fukimora who was a major player from Japan that was, I guess he was studying in Boston at that time Raul...
FB: He probably followed on Tiger Okoshi's heels.
TE: I'm sure.
FB: Ya know.
TE: And did you know Raul DeSuza?
TE: Oh, absolutely. A terrific player from Brazil.
FB: Great player.
TE: A colleage Claudio Rodidi. There was John Lacata, who really was, ya know you talk about the humor and the personality coming from the horn, John would take the horn somewhere else and...
FB: It'd take you somewhere else as we were telling the stories.
TE: Absolutely. Ummm, and, uh I...
FB: Bruce Itum.
TE: Bruce wasn't around yet.
FB: Oh ok. ok.
TE: Bruce played in Phil's big band but this is uh, there's someone else in there plus myself...oh Gene Distatio played, occasionally played in the band who was actually, was eary on the trombone scene with Herb's band and he played with Jacki Byard, Horen Tonian and all those wonderful players.
FB: At the stables
TE: At the stables. And uh storyville and he was a dentist. I mean thats his day gig and uh had a wonderful band at the time called the Brass Minasury I believe.
FB: Ok, yeah.
TE: Was Tony Lada on the scene yet?
TE: No. Tony might have been a student at Berklee at that time. I know, I don't think he was in town or playing much yet. But Tony did play a lot in the Phil Wilson big band which is often Tony on lead, who is a fantastic lead player and solist and uh I dislike Tony's playing because he makes it look so easy. Everything it does its just like...and you think about what he's doing you go holy cow man ya know, he's all over the horn. And, very Methodical, organized solos and it was Bruce Itum who's a younger fella in town who was fun to play with. JD Smith usually played second trombone and I was on bass trombone and carried three trombones. And that was fun with Phil out in front playing trombone or piano. He used to play piano with the band.
FB: Thats right. Some of those guys probably playing int Jack Byard's Apllo Stompers that used to play over at Michael's.
TE: Oh I'm sure. Right. I remember those days. Yup. I mean there's been so many instances of that in Boston where Jack Byard had the apllo stompers playing at, it was Gainsboro Pub for a while, and then Michael's. One block from NEC, and they played for years there. And I think on Fridays the Fringe played there for years. And uhh, ya know, I don't know how people in town realized you had this top class group going on right in your backyard. And Jackie had a Boston version and a New York version of the Apollo Stompers.
FB: True, yeah. They recorded on Soul Note, they made some good records