FB: Good morning, Christine! CF: Hey, Fred. FB: Nice to have you aboard! CF: Thank you! Thank you for having me. FB: You're one of the youngest people we've had in this series, over since 2005, and ah, that kind of gives you a different kind of perspective on ah, your career at Berklee and out in the musical world. Um it should be kind of an exciting point of view that you bring to the Oral History project. Um there aren't too many women trumpet players out there. How did you get a horn in your hands for the first time? CF: Good question! and you're right about that, there aren't too many -- still -- there aren't too many women trumpet players. Um, when I was a kid I was a tomboy; I played with all the boys. I played sports. I think I wanted to be a boy. You know, I was the youngest of five: I had one brother, I was surrounded by sisters, very girly sisters, so I think I was rebelling against that, and I played with my brother a lot in the dirt, you know. So you know I was attracted to what the boys were attracted to, came from a musical family, we sang a lot growing up, we played instruments -- guitar, piano, these things -- and then it comes time to join the band, sixth grade, so in my family you go pick an instrument. So I just, for some reason, picked the trumpet. I don't remember ever having a specific influence why I chose the trumpet -- but it stuck as soon as I picked it. FB: You picked it. That means there was a trumpet around the house or you went to the music store. CF: No, went to the pawn shop, and we must have decided before. I've never talked to my parents about this; we must have decided before. My brother played the trombone, maybe that was some sort of influence. Hey, brass! I wanna play the trumpet! And of course trumpet was smaller, so we bought a cornet, a Yamaha cornet at the pawn shop. FB: Wow. CF: Yeah. FB: And... so you fit into the band? The family band -- the trombone, the trumpet, everybody else was playing rhythm? CF: Yeah, my sister played clarinet, and our band was more like a vocal group, really. FB: Okay. CF: My mom played piano, and guitar,and we were a vocal group -- we were singing. I remember being in the living room, or sitting around the campfire outside, and telling everyone what parts to sing, you know: “Sing this part! Sing this part! Oh no no, you're singin’ the wrong note! Sing this part!” FB: Like thirds and sixths kind of stuff. CF: Easy stuff, you know, we grew up singing hymns in church and that kind of harmony, you know. FB: Right. So you took this brass instrument up at an early age. When'd you pick it up? eight or nine? CF: Yeah, I was ten in the sixth grade. FB: You took it to school with you. CF: Yeah man, and I loved it. I didn't have any lessons, I didn't have anyone tellin’ me what to do. I just couldn't stop playing it, that kind of thing, you know? And then finally when I got to high school, I realized “hey, this is serious,” and some teachers said, “You know, you should get a teacher, you know, private teacher, to help steer you.” FB: You mean you learned it on your own? CF: Well in the band. You know, yeah, but I remember I just wouldn't put the thing down. I'd be up in my bedroom playing tunes just by ear. My parents would say "Okay, Chris! put it away, it's time to go to bed!" FB: Bedtime! CF: You know -- haha! So I didn't really need to be prodded. FB: What did you -- I mean, were you listening to any records? CF: Yeah, you know my mom loved The Beatles, but you know as a kid I was listening to Michael Jackson. I mean, you know I loved pop music as a kid. I would write stupid songs in my bedroom with my little tape recorder, and I would sing, and I was singin’ all the time, so mostly, vocal records. But I'll never forget the time when I discovered Frank Sinatra. My mom had these great records and nobody ever listened to ‘em. FB: Who -- Nelson Riddle? The guy who played Brass Tracks, the trombones and ...ooh. CF: Yes, exactly. Exactly, and I mean the string arrangements, I mean I was sitting there, my mom was in the kitchen and I was a kid, putting those records in, figuring out how the record player worked, and I was sitting on the floor listening to Frank. I think my mom was pretty taken aback but hey, I was into that. FB: Yeah, those blue label Capitols. CF: Exactly, the Capitols. Yup. FB: And Bobby Hackett takin’ a couple of sweet solos in the background. CF: Yes absolutely, and at the time I didn't know anything. you know I just liked Frank's voice, and I didn't know that those were standard Cole Porter tunes, all those tunes he's singing. FB: You're still using “I Love You" in ensemble, right? CF: Totally, always, yeah. FB: Awesome. Ha ha. CF: Yeah, man! FB: Ha ha. So how did it go down in high school? Were you in marching band or concert band or what? CF: Yeah, thank goodness I had a great high school band director, he brought in a jazz band when I was a sophomore in high school, and before that I played in the jazz band in middle school. But I was just -- I didn't really know anything, you know? I was just readin’ the music and I was a good reader, and you know so, just read or whatever, but I didn't really know the concept of jazz, right? So, high school, great band director came in, actually he went to New England Conservatory, just ran, you know happened to, but this is in California, so, great sax player, you know? And he hipped me to a lot of stuff, man. He hipped me to you know, I didn't know who John Coltrane was before him. All these cats he told me who to listen to, you know? So, thanks to him, he basically started my jazz, my love for jazz. FB: Were there any swinging charts in the ensemble? CF: Always definitely. FB: Like what big band charts? CF: Big band charts, we did a lot of Sammy Nestico stuff. FB: Oh my gosh, for Basie! CF: Yeah, but also Sammy Nestico writes stuff that, easier stuff that was for younger bands, so [FB: Right] We did a lot of that stuff. Mark Taylor was another arranger that I remember doing, he writes a lot of high school charts. FB: So he got the kids swingin’ on bass and drum. [CF: Oh yeah.] and some hip voicings, you know good harmonies and. CF: The whole big band we got it all, and [FB: wooo…] we had a good music pro, there were actually two jazz bands at my high school. FB: Were you in Ukiah or Utah now? CF: In Ukiah. [FB: Okay.] Oh yeah, my parents moved to Utah after I left. FB: Okay, so, California, there's always something fairly hip going on, even upstate, right? CF: Yeah, yeah I grew up in a small town, Yukaia, and you know now when I go back it's like man, what's goin.. there's nothing going on here. you know ..for what I do .. music. wha.. but it was a great place to grow up. [FB: Um hm.] Lotta country music, which I wasn't really into. But there is a little culture there, you know? FB: Yeah, so how'd you make the transition from high school to Berklee? Well, actually I went to a small liberal arts college first, out in Hawaii, for two years. This was a religious school; I was raised religiously, so It was a religious college, so I went there for two years on scholarship playing trumpet, and that was great, I actually got to travel quite a bit and play with some good musicians. FB: Where is this school? On the big island or -- ? CF: On Oahu, the north shore, Liae. [FB: Okay.] Yeah, it was a great experience and to this day. FB: Good leader too there? CF: Oh, absolutely, I had a great teacher, Michael Sigurd, great trumpet teacher, and um he, excellent, actually when I was there, I was still doing more classical things, and part of the deal was a concerto competition at school, you know for the music majors, and the winners... [FB: Uh huh.] get to play with the Honolulu Symphony. So I got to play the Hummel Concerto with the Honolulu Symphony. FB: Oh yeah. CF: Tika tut tika tut tika tut, you know, the double ... FB: I've heard Wynton or somebody play it. CF: Yeah so, as a student that was a big plus over there, you know? FB: Was it tough keeping up your classical and jazz chops simultaneously? CF: You know, it's funny cause at the time I was so upset at my teacher for givin’ me all this classical stuff. I just wanted to swing, I just wanted to play jazz, and he would laugh and you know you give me all this stuff every week and I just wanna play jazz, now. I do the same thing with my students and they, you know, ‘cause I realized how important that is to keep that up? FB: Keep their chops up. CF: That's all I practiced man, you know, tonguing. FB: Classical exercises. CF: Yeah, etudes. FB: Who, what are some of the classical trumpet books? CF: Oh, there's so many. FB: Which was the best one? CF: Arban's is the big one -- it's the Bible for trumpet -- but the ones that I used with Charley, those are beautiful etudes. [FB: uh huh.] Um, Walter Smith top tones, Brent etudes, Herbert Clark? Anything. FB: Brant? Henry Brant? CF: No, Vasily -- it's a different guy. [FB: OK.] Yeah, so you know a lot of tonguing, just technical stuff. [FB: Yup.] You know I have a routine I do, and just to keep up the chops, you know? FB: One of the things that troubles me about ah, running into students at Berklee, is that they are into their "indy" songwriter thing, and they don't look left, they don't look right? They don't look up, they don't look down. They've just focused on their little laptop and their little tiny genres. So, I throw classical music at them in the Music Journalism class just to try to get them to open up their ears and appreciate a little bit -- some of them have been there, and get it. Some of them it's like a whole new world: they think it's film scoring. CF: Yeah, right, right. FB: You know? so it's not just a matter of appreciation, of a broad spectrum of music but an actual ability to play anything. On your instrument. CF: Mm, hmm. FB: Am I right? I mean you gotta be ready for anything that comes your way. CF: Absolutely, it's amazing. FB: Learn the repertoire. CF: Totally, and the history, it’s a good point, because, you know, I remember growing up even in band class, the music the teacher would play -- classical music, we'd have a learning period, okay. [FB: Great.] Here: this is so and so: write a paper! We’d have to write papers, all this stuff, I don't know if they're doing that so much now. It seems like I know some of the funding into lower schools, and high schools, and things are disappearing, so that could be the reason. Or maybe it's what people are listening to on the radio. I don't know, but I definitely notice it, and I think one of my favorite things to do is to hip these students into this stuff. Whether it's classical stuff or, well we’re, I'm not really in the vein really at Berklee to teach that, but you know but, in the trumpet world, definitely, but in the broad perspective not really, you know but... FB: Yup, and then of course there are other worlds: there's world music, there's the Latin world, there's Chocolate Armenteros, there’s Arturo Sandoval. [CF: mm hmm.] There's another whole area of trumpet playing that, most kids don’t hear, unless they're from Latin countries, have never heard it. CF: Me too! You know I have a student this semester from Colombia, but he studied in Cuba, he got a music degree in Cuba. [FB: Oh.] He's hippin’ me to all this stuff. [FB: Ah.] He's givin’ me all this stuff: “Christine, do you know this guy? Check this out!” This is the guy we just ran into in the hall, he's like, “Christine, did you get that Youtube video I sent you?” It's like ... all these cats playing. Irakere, when they first started .. he studied with these guys you know? FB: Chucho [Valdes] is getting a PhD on Saturday, I gotta go backstage and say hello to him… I interviewed him Cuba in 1996. CF: Yeah? FB: He was the man -- what a player! CF: He's as heavy as it comes. FB: The Cubans: like, they have no walls in their musical experience. CF: Yeah, yeah. FB: They'll play lounge gigs, jazz gigs, classical gigs, it's all pop! It's all one big happy entity, it’s like the cloud, you know, the cloud -- out there. Everything floats in the cloud, most of us are so grounded in our own little, you know, thing, that we don't see the....the sky. CF: You know as a trumpet player, it's -- you have to have that, If you gotta make money, you gotta be open. I mean, I have colleagues here at the school who have told me “Oh, I'm not gonna ever play a GB gig” you know, a general business pop gig, and as for me! I mean, man! I love it because I, you know, it's different! It's not [mimics playing jazz ride/hi-hat] we're going [mimics R&B/pop groove] You know we're groovin, you know. What's wrong with grooving? But I like it all, I do. FB: The other side of that -- and we'll move on from here -- is that being a horn player puts you in a very small minority: there aren't very many of you, but there also aren't many gigs. If you're a bassist or guitarist, you're working night and day, at all kinds of stuff. [CF: Yeah.] But the horn players it's like, you really gotta seek it out and be ready to double and triple if you're a reed player. You know. CF: Read too! I'm makin more money readin' than anything, you know. FB: There you go, out there! Are you listening, guys? CF: True.