Dick Shearer

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Mv2541
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Dick Shearer

Post by Mv2541 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:45 am

Anyone know what kind of gear Dick Shearer was playing in the Kenton band? I've been in a Kenton kind of mood the past few days, and just listening to Dick is a lesson in playing lead.
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tim
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by tim » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:17 am

We pretty much all played Conns. Dickus had a special one, thinned bell shortened slide. very open lead pipe. A 6h on steroids.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by biggestbrain » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:16 pm

Image

In this picture at least he has his 2B. I can't comment on how often he used it or if it was his main horn. I'm guessing he played a 6H at some point but would later adopt the 2B as his main horn. This photo is from 1975, so he probably was using the 2B as his main from that point onwards and likely starting even earlier. His Kenton career was from 1965 to 1977, so this would've been from his later Kenton years.

This fun one is also from 1975 I believe, also with the 2B:

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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by baileyman » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:33 am

Saw him in 76 with a 2b.

I rather think modelling him for lead would be a huge mistake, and the section style he enforced, too. Urbie would be a much better lead model, in any situation.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by biggestbrain » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:45 am

Why not? His brilliant, fiery style was essential to the Kenton sound. Kenton had some of the best trombone sections and big bands ever. Sure, people will have preferences, but to say modelling an essential player of a renowned big band is a "huge mistake" is a big statement. By saying Urbie would be a better model in any situation, you're saying that one professional's sound, such a subjective thing, is objectively better or worse than another. Dick doesn't sound like Urbie, and that's not a bad thing. Dick had his own sound, and that's not a bad thing. Urbie had his own sound, and that's not a bad thing either. If Mv wants to channel Dick's sound that's their decision and not a bad one at all.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Burgerbob » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:52 am

Just another sound for the toolbox... doesn't have to be the only one. Listen to everybody!
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by BurckhardtS » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:21 pm

Dick was an excellent player and musician, and had a very unique way of playing lead that was EXACTLY the style for the Kenton band. Lead style for that band is as different as it would be for TJ/ML or for Basie. I especially love his ballad lead playing the most, and Kenton basically perfected the big band 'power ballad' writing.

I have heard rumors over the years that he played mouthpieces with the throats bored out, and the bell on his 2B was shaved down so that you could bend it with your fingers, and that the braces were reversed.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Oslide » Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:11 pm

Isn't that a Bach he's playing here in 1972 - or am I looking at the wrong man?

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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by BGuttman » Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:05 pm

Shearer is in the middle of that section. It's 5 players (one doubles tuba).

I can't tell from the picture what the brand is, but I couldn't see the curved brace of a King. Then again, someone said he reversed the brace and the curve could have been hidden by his hand.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Oslide » Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:39 pm

There's no King or Conn counterweight, and the crook of the handslide seems very Bachish to me. There are other videos on Youtube, obviously from the same session, which give me the same impression.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Mv2541 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:20 am

baileyman wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:33 am
Saw him in 76 with a 2b.

I rather think modelling him for lead would be a huge mistake, and the section style he enforced, too. Urbie would be a much better lead model, in any situation.
That style of lead playing might not be for every ensemble or chart, but I strongly disagree with that idea. I don't want to screw in nails or nail in screws, but like someone else said I would rather have both tools available.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:39 am

Tools available or not, lead players make their own stylistic choices. He chose to hammer in screws.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Massimo69 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:10 am

I know him played a Bach... I don't know the model... Mostly on bach but I know sometime on king 2b...he played extensively with Kenton in last band for all 70's around I have also his solo cd with his trombone band (5 bones and rhythm section) dedicated to Kenton music... Great Lead bone really strong
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Slidehamilton » Sat May 01, 2021 2:26 am

I can tell you for certain that for a length of time he played a Bach 12 with a thinned out bell. He also played a bored out Bach 11C. This info. Was told to me from my good friend Mike Egan who stood (or sat) next to him on the Kenton band for two years.
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by Samdance » Tue May 11, 2021 1:24 pm

I studied with Dick Shearer, he was a great teacher and a true gentleman.

He played a bored-out Bach 7C with a New York Bach 12 trombone for the vast majority of the Kenton stuff. He did have a 2B he was fond of but stuck mostly to the Bach. Later in life, he played a Boosey and Hawkes and the Bach 12 hung on the back of a closet door in his studio.

Most people don't know that Dick was offered the lead chair repeatedly in the Basie band and turned it down to stay with Stan. He sounded great on Basie charts, nothing like the Kenton sound. He was a monstrous player in every way, too many people judge him by the extroverted type playing he did with Stan. Stan loved Dick Shearer's playing and in fact, had him lead the band when he was too sick to go on the road.

While he was not everyone's cup of tea, there is no arguing that he is one of the most influential lead trombonists of our time. What he did was exactly what Stan wanted.

Dick was an amazing teacher, I never left a lesson not sounding better, and the things he taught me about trombone playing stick with me to this day.

Respectfully,

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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by PaulTdot » Thu May 13, 2021 10:09 am

That's really interesting to hear. What was his teaching like, and what did he tend to love to teach?

Did he mention who his own influences and teachers were?
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Re: Dick Shearer

Post by bigbandbone » Fri May 14, 2021 7:06 am

As a section player I loved it when the lead player had an edgy aggressive sound and style. Easy to hear, easy to follow, easy to blend. It made for a tighter and better sounding section.
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