Home arrow Interviews arrow Interview with Trumpeter Carlo Isabelli August 22, 2019  
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Interview with Trumpeter Carlo Isabelli
Carlo Isabelli Carlo, you and I have known each other for a long time. I have been a long time admirer of your abilities on the trumpet! I'd like for our members and friends at Raw Brass to get to know you as well. After reading this, they will also want to visit your web site at www.carloisabelli.com.

You play for some pretty well known bands. Can you tell us a little about that?

First of all Don thanks for the kind words. I also am a great fan of your work around the world. One of these days we will get to tour together. Is the world ready for the both of us???

I have been fortunate to be involved in some pretty good projects over the years. I've been lucky to be int the right place at the right time. I've performed PBS specials with Chicago's legendary 60's group, The Buckinghams www.thebuckinghams.com, Tommy James and the Shondels, The Grass Roots, Peter Noone of the Hermans Hermits, Gary Lewis and The Playboys and Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers. Currently I'm still playing with The Buckinghams. We have just completed a new cd with The Buckinghams, entilted "Live and Well". There is alot of alot of horn playing on this cd. The cd is available on the Buckinghams wesite.

I also preform with a well known Chicago group, The High Society Orchestra. www.highsocietyorch.com. This band plays for private parties in the Chicagoland area. It's a very fun band to play in. I'm also involved in a reading band called Brass Tracks Jazz Orchestra. This is a 18 piece big band that meets weekly at a local restaurant called Hackneys in Palos Park, IL. We have been there every Wednesday night for the past 14 or so years. We play charts by Sammy Nestico, Carl Strommen, Jim Martin, the late Frank Mantooth and several other composers. This group really keeps my chops in shape. Brass Tracks Jazz Orchestra "First Track" this is our first CD we made. www.seabreeze.com. Brass Tracks has made three CD's since we been together.

For the past several years Brass Tracks showcases several of the local area High School and Junior High Jazz Bands each week. It's a great evening to sit and listen to so much talent in our local schools. Parents, grandparents, friends, our local customers come out to hear and support live music. The schools are spotlighted a half hour before our show starts, and from what we've heard so far these kids are very talented.

What are some of your performance highlights?

I think the one highlight is the 2004 Presidential Inauguration that I played at with The Buckingham's. That was a very memorable event. And of course, your daughters wedding. What did you have there, 10 trumpeters playing that day? That was something.

But I'll have to say whether I'm playing a Wedding Ceremony or the National Anthem, or with any of the above mentioned groups, I play it like it's my last performance. I cherish every time I perform no matter whom or where it is. You only go through life once.

Who has been most influential in your life as far as being an encouragement to your passion for playing the trumpet?

I would have to say my family has been the most influential in my playing career. I was told by my parents when I was in grade school, if I wanted to play in a band I would play my older brother's cornet up in the closet. I wanted to play drums of course.

My brother started to play in grade school until he had Romatic Fever, he could no longer play, and the horn sat in the closet. Once I started playing, my trumpet teacher for several years Peter Labella Sr, encouraged me to continue. He said I had a natural Italian vibrato, and a beautiful sound. I'm still not sure what he meant by the Italian vibrato, but it worked.

My mom would make me play Italian songs when I was young, that would be my punishment when I would get into trouble. I guess I would serenade her in a way. Mom would sing along while I played. It beats getting hollered at. There were others who influenced me also but I would be remised if I didn't mention the great Doc Severensin. I heard him play live when I was just starting out, and I knew then I wanted to play just like Doc. Well, I'm still working on it, but I'm still playing.

I think a lot of our readers would love to be doing what you are doing with your talent. How would you suggest our readers approach their trumpet careers? How can they make the right contacts?

Play, play, play every day, make your instrument a part of you. Be like a sponge learn as much as you can. Play every kind of music you can get your hands on, and listen to other trumpet players. But most important is to be honest with yourself. There will be days when you'll want to pack it up and say forget it. Those are the days you need to tell yourself "How bad do I want it." No one said it would be easy, if it was easy, Don and I would have known about it.

Getting the call's to do show's is still a thrill for me. It can take few good gig's to get your name out in the circut for more gig's, but it takes one bad gig not to get calls. Prepare yourself for any kind of playing. The more styles you learn to play the more calls you'll get.

Most importantly, be dependable, don't be late to gig's. Dress the part and be courteous. Play your part and your contractor will call you back, If you make waves don't expect to get a call back. A contractor wants a dependable person that he can rely on and play the parts.

Carlo, you have great chops! When it comes to practice and staying in shape, what is your routine? What horn are you playing these days and what is your mouthpiece preference?

Well, Don, as we all know the older you get the more you have to practice to stay in shape. I still play everyday. I carry my short-cut in the car with me all the time. My day job requires a lot of road time, so I play while I'm on the road. I do practice at least 90 minutes on the horn each day (Love my Silent Brass), so does my family. I remember Doc saying if you miss one day of practice, you'll notice it. If you miss two days, your family notices it. If you miss three days everyone will notice it. You don't want to miss one day, you'll never make it up.

I have a few horns I use for different projects. I play the Bobby Shew Yamaha 6310 for my lead and commercial playing. I also use the Yamaha Flugel that I have had since 1972. I play the Schilke S22 large bore-463 for Classical, weddings,and concert venues. I have a Schiklke P54 that I use for weddings and also when I play with The Buckingham's.

I'm using Scott Laskey's MP's 65MC www.laskey.com for the most part,except on the Picc I use the Schilke 11AX. When I'm doing lead playing I use the Yamaha, Bobby Shew lead mp. My Flugel MP is one that Reynold Schilke made my in 1973. I'm not sure what size it is, all he said was don't worry about the size as long as it feels and fits good. I've been using it ever since.

How do you handle high pressure situations? I know it is my biggest gigs where I get the most nervous. The nerves usually play a negative reflection on my performance. What do you do to stay calm and confident?

You get nervous, no way Don. You could have fooled me. I guess we all get the butterflies when we're in pressure situations, but I find no matter how many hundreds, or thousands of people I play for, I know I'm prepared and I'm there to do a job. I've worked too hard for to long to get where I am today. I know I can do my job well and it gets me through the gig.

I hear there has been a new addition to your trumpet family! Tell us about it...any pictures?

Oh so you've heard about our new addition. Well the pictures aren't up on my website yet, but if you go to www.schilkemusic.com and click the link to the limited edition engraved 50th Anniversary B1 Bb trumpet, you'll see my new addition. I was fortunate to get the horn as a birthday present from my beautiful wife Karen. I have serial 007. The Schilke M11 was the first trumpet my dad bought for me in 1971. Every since I've been a Schilke fan and player. The B1 plays beautiful. I used it playing at my church for Easter, and again for a TV appearance I did recently. I used it playing a concert in the area and it played so pristine.

When I heard Schilke was making a limited edition trumpet, I mentioned it once to Karen, knowing that I would never buy it. Karen and my daughter Gina did some investigating and to make a long story short, ended up finding a local music store in Naperville Il and bought the horn. I was given the horn at a gig I was playing at on my birthday. This gift is so significant to me because Schilke started his company the same year I was born. I've been married 28 years and this is the first musical gift my wife bought me. I usually buy my own horns, but this gift beats them all. I'm so proud to show it off. As they say, 1 Schilke Limited Anniversary B1 Bb trumpet $5,000.00, the story how you received it, PRICELESS.

Don, Thank you for asking me to do the interview. I hope my sharing inspires all the young trumpet players out there. Any questions drop me a line www.carloisabelli.com

Thank you, my friend! I know your input here is going to be a great encouragement to those visiting RawBrass.com

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