[JPL] About Mario Bauzá learning the trumpet

Arturo Gomez arturo at kuvo.org
Mon Sep 22 12:55:02 EDT 2008

Bobby Jax <<< Speaking of totally different embouchures...
I spoke with the maestro Mario Bauza many years ago and he told me a
story where he learned to play trumpet in two weeks for a show that
Chick Webb was putting on.  One of Webb's trumpet players was not
going to make the date for some reason and Bauza offered to take his
place.  Webb asked Bauza how was he going to do that knowing that
Bauza was a clarinetist by trade.  Bauza answered, "You buy me the
trumpet and I will learn the part."  Bauza told me he spent two weeks
in his apartment with that trumpet,  learned and played the part
perfectly. >>>>>

Mario who became Chick Webb's music director and arranger began as a
trumpeter with the Webb band after brief stints with Jimmy Lunceford and Don
Redman. What Chick did for mario was to teach him to play the trumpet
without a "Cuban accent", the quote by Chick was, "Mario, you are a fabulous
musician but you play the trumpet just like you talk, with a Cuban accent"

Here's how the classically trained clarinetist and saxist-who along with
Cachao were the first 2 Afro-Cubans to play in the Havana Symphonic-breaking
the color line, became a trumpeter. Shortly after Mario moved to NYC in
1929, the "rumba craze" was in full swing because of the Broadway debut of
El Manisero-The Peanut Vendor by singer Antonio Machín with the Don Azpiazu
Orchestra. Victor Records wanting to record a copy of El Manisero but most
the band had gone back to Cuba so Antonio-Mario's friend lamented the fact
to Bauzá that there wasn't a trumpet player in NYC that could play the lead
correctly, Mario told Machín, buy me a trumpet and I'll play it, Antonio
told him they only had 2 weeks before recording and mario told hiom that
would be enough time, sure enough it was and for the 1930 recording of El
Manisero for Victor by Don Azpiazu with Antonio Machín, it's Mario Bauzá on
trumpet 2 weeks after playing it for the very first time. From that point on
Mario played both trumpet and reeds like his former band mate in the Webb
band, Benny Carter


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