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Circular breathing . . .

You do not have to post this on your website if you do not wish, but I would like to know…

First of all, I am so impressed with the trumpeterers who are not limited in their ability, such as Bobby Shew, Chuck Findlay, and yourself who are both marvelous lead and jazz players. There are few and far between like yourselves.

I have owned your Live at Charlie O’s for a while and I am so impressed with your “Another You” solo. I know you have incredible breath control, and I truly believe you could play such a solo without the need of circular breathing and I’m sure you have been asked a million times, not only about this solo but others as well. Masters such as Rafael Mendez and Arturo Sandoval talk about developing breath control, and I’ve seen you play solos with Supersax, do you circular breathe in order to play such beautiful amazing solos with seemingly unstoppable lines and runs?


Elijah Kavila
Olathe, Kansas

Elijah.. You’re right I have been asked that question for years. The answer is No, I don’t circular breathe. I breathe like a Republican and play like a Democrat. By that I mean I conserve my air and play a liberal amount of notes. My trumpet axiom is “use the least amount of air to get the job done to the fullest”.

This approach pays off in many ways. It provides a reserve of power to draw on if needed, it improves your flexibility and most importantly, it leads you down the road to what I call effortlessness. In my view there should not be any force in your playing. What you should strive for is getting the most out of your playing with the least amount of effort and getting to a point where your attention is not on the mechanics of playing the instrument but of playing beautiful music.

And of course swinging should be a top priority in jazz. The mental concept to achieve swinging is “Stay on top of the beat but don’t rush” CS

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