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Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Vocal
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Bobby Shew

I give special thanks to the one person/player whose intuitive instruction, friendly advice, and "wedge" (breath) training has continued to inspire me for the past 18 years. I've shared the stage with some great players that excelled at certain aspects of their profession, but Bobby does it all. Lead, jazz, interpretation, cool licks, he makes it all seem so easy. And his flugelhorn playing has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. Thanks for everything Bobby, especially the habañero peppers... Fellow trumpeters - If you haven't checked out Bobby's "Soloist" harmon mute - DO IT NOW!!!

  • Hot Club Pacific LTD - The Hot Club Pacific is a Tokyo based Japanese music/entertainment booking office, and I was on staff as International Producer/Macintosh computer specialist/English translator from '98-'00. Muneharu Urakami - General Producer or simply Mune (moon), has been a good friend for years and he's one of the most creative people I've ever known. At the core of the operation is the Tokyo Hot Club Band (THCB), consisting of 3 acoustic guitars, violin, and upright bass. They play mainly jazz standards in the gypsy swing style, fashioned after the late French guitar virtuoso "Django Reinhart". I've been a featured guest soloist with the THCB for the past 12 years, and it's a great playing experience. Prior to joining this group, I'd never had the chance to play jazz with this instrumentation. The Hot Club frequently produces events, festivals, etc, where I'm the only trumpeter in a multitude of guitars, violins, accordions, basses, ukuleles... Talk about a musically broadening experience!


  • USAF Band - I still remember the day I waltzed into the recruiter's office holding my trumpet. I had basically aced the military entrance exam and the recruiter was doing his best to persuade me to enlist as a nuclear weapons specialist. I said it would be a guaranteed contract to be in the band or nothing. I passed an audition at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, and the rest is history. From the day I enlisted to the day I retired, my time in the USAF Band was a "uniquely" rewarding experience. I performed with big bands, symphonic/concert bands, rock/pop bands, brass quintets, solo trumpet, and of course marching bands. Talk about variety! On more than one occasion, I was a featured soloist with a concert band, performing the Herbert Clarke arrangement of the "Carnival of Venice" on cornet, followed by Raphael Mendez's "La Virgen de la Macarena" on trumpet - back to back. Second half of the gig was big band, including tunes from Count Basie to Maynard Ferguson (glad someone else was on lead!) I feel truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve my country while pursuing musical endeavors, and my hat is off to all prior, present, and future members of the Armed Forces. Personally, my goal was to be the best trumpet player I could be the day I walked out. Retired on 1 Nov 1998. Mission Accomplished!
    1977-1980 Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, Louisiana
    1981-1985 Clark AB, Angeles City, Philippines
    1985-1986 Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
    1986-1988 Clark AB, Angeles City, Philippines
    1988-1998 Yokota AB, Tokyo, Japan


  • Life in Asia - I lived in the Philippines from 1981-1985, and 1986-1988. The things I miss the most are the friendly people, tropical weather, and the FANTASTIC scuba diving. I have also enjoyed traveling to other Asian countries including Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Australia. My apartment is packed full of "treasures" I've collected along the way, together with TOO many fond memories. I've been living in Tokyo, Japan since August 1988, and have toured extensively throughout the entire country. It's a beautiful place, filled with cherry blossoms, castles, music & art, festivals, fireworks, great food, and much, much more. The language barrier was difficult to overcome at first, but life here is much easier after that obstacle is overcome. I can read all the Hiragana and Katagana characters, along with a few hundred of the Kanji characters. Maps, menus, daily correspondence pose no threat, but the kanji used in newspapers still resemble some form of ancient hieroglyphics!

    The expression "music is an international language" is an understatement in Tokyo. The East meets the West meets the North meets the South. Living here gives me opportunities to perform with a widely diversified crowd of talented musicians. I can play with jazz, big band, funk, soul, pop, latin, dixie, and other bands. I've even been lucky enough to join the traditional Japanese "Enka" music world. It's completely authentic Japanese style- phrasing, lyrics, sheet music cues, etc, and it's a real challenge. I have never seen any other Gaijins (non-Japanese person) at any of these venues, including the audience. For a memorable musical experience, come check out an Enka performance sometime!

    I am asked the same thing almost daily - "Don't you miss living in America?" The answer is simply...YES & NO. America is a fantastic country and I would probably enjoy a much more comfortable life there, but I have always had the urge to live, travel, and perform abroad. I am proud to be an American and get deep satisfaction from representing my country as a kind of "musical ambassador" in the Orient. There are many people from other lands here pursuing the same thought, and I believe we are all making an important contribution to furthering international peace and unity. To be able to do this by playing music is a true blessing.


  • Perfect/Absolute Pitch - I used to wonder why I could memorize music so easily and recognize pitches from almost every imaginable source (still have problems with thunder). I would scratch my head at concerts wondering why other people didn't instantly know that Maynard had just hit a triple G, or Doc was playing in F#. As an audio engineer, I know the pitch and octave of "feedback/ringing" and make precise adjustments on the graphic equalizer. My father, who played the violin in his youth, used to whistle a short melody in exactly the same key (Bb) everyday. I took all of this for granted until I was 19 and sitting in my first "ear-training" class. The teacher was seated at an upright piano, which was positioned so we couldn't see the keys. He played a chord (Eb major triad) on the piano, looked around the room and said, "What did I just play?" No one answered, so I said "Eb major". He suddenly stood up and with a very annoyed look on his face, was just staring at me, as was everyone in the class. I didn't know what else to say except "but the Eb is a little flat". His look grew more intense and then he said, "What are you doing in my class? Get out of here!" I departed without a clue. He later informed me that the correct answer was typically "major triad", and after I convinced him that I had no idea that my "ears" were any different than anyone else, he kindly explained things. Major turning point! --- For those of you with the same or better ability, you can hopefully relate to my words. If you're using this gift as a crutch instead of properly learning to read the changes, etc. (thanks to Bobby Shew for breaking me of this habit), do yourself a favor and learn the basics. For any non-believers, please deal with it, bear with us, and don't ask me why I can't always play the trumpet "perfectly" in tune. For me, PP is a fact of life that brings both joy and aggravation. I didn't ask for it, I'm not trying to fool anyone, and there's no on/off switch. Actually, I hesitate to even mention this subject. If you wish to share your thoughts or experiences on this topic, please contact me - Rick Vogel


  • Hobbies - Eating hot & spicy ramen, kimchie, yakitori, yakiniku.

    Singing and playing my trumpet in Karaoke bars.

    Studying languages.

    Watching movies late at night while eating pizza.

    Swimming & Bicycle riding.

    Using my Macintosh G5/2GHz/1GBRAM minitower running MacOS 10.4.11 and MacBookPro Intel Core i7 2.9GHz/1600/OSX10.7.5 & Windows 7 (via Bootcamp) computers for music, graphics, accounting, and practically everything else. I also use a Windows PC as required.

    Driving around Japan using my Japanese car satellite navigation system.
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