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Trumpet Celebrity Interviews

[ a celebration of the artistry of ALL styles of Trumpet ]

W A Y N E   B E R G E R O N

Wayne is now enjoying a career as one of the busiest players on the LA scene. From studio calls to theater work, performing with major Orchestras, to jazz gigs and clinics, Bergeron keeps a hectic schedule.

A partial list of film credits includes Analyze This, South Park, Three to Tango, Flubber, Deep Blue Sea, Ace Ventura, Meet Joe Black, and Primary Colors. His trumpet solos can be heard on Rounders, Fled, The Mask, The Rat Pack, Norma Jean and Marilyn, Return of Jafar, Foolproof, and Two Days in the Valley. Bergeron has worked on over 100 soundtracks.

In addition to numerous TV credits, Wayne can be heard on the themes from Jeopardy, America's Funniest Home Videos, Promised Land, and The Newlywed Game with frequent trumpet solos on Profilers, Dawson's Creek, and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Bergeron has also played on hundreds of TV & radio jingles.

Wayne's passion for Big Bands finds him seated in some of LA's most well respected bands. He has recorded with Bob Florence, Jack Sheldon, Pat Williams, Gordon Goodwin, Sammy Nestico, Bill Watrous, Ralph Carmichael, Frank Capp, Matt Cattingub, Bill Liston, Kim Richmond, Tom Kubis, Ray Anthony, Roger Neumann, Bill Perkins, Bill Elliott, and Bob Curnow. Wayne has been involved with over 150 record projects that include Chicago, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Diana Krall, Barry Manilow, Green Day, Bobby Caldwell, Rosemary Clooney, Diane Schur, Brian Setzer, Joe Cocker, Eric Marienthal, Dave Koz, David Benoit, Warren Hill, Tito Puente, and The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

Wayne is currently on staff at California State University Northridge, where he teaches privately. His skills have taken him to different parts of the globe as a clinician/soloist. Wayne annually performs in Switzerland and this year added Japan to his soloist/clinician roster.

In 1999, to celebrate Duke Ellington's birthday, Wayne had the honor of performing as the lead trumpeter and soloist ("Cat Anderson") for the Ellington Alumni Orchestra in Zurich.

Parke - Bergeron Trumpet Mouthpiece

"My first mouthpiece was a 10C. In high school, I had a custom mouthpiece made with a wider diameter and a bite that was not as sharp as the 10C. I've had other mouthpiece makers produce variations of this mouthpiece over the years, before coming to Jeff. This is a good overall mouthpiece. It has a medium, bowl shaped cup and I use a medium backbore. Jeff used a heavier blank which improved the sound and made it more concentrated. This is not a high velocity mouthpiece, but rather more of a versatile mouthpiece, where I can play 3rd trumpet on a movie date during the day and play lead on a big band that night."

T  H  E      I  N  T  E  R  V  I  E  W . . .

Would you like to add your web address ?

Was your family background musical?

My brother Richard played French horn bugle for a Drum & bugle corps. in Conn. This was in the mid fifties before I was born. My brother Howard also played drums as a hobby in his early teens. would be more accurate to say he owned some drums. ;)

What made you decide to play trumpet? At what age did you start?

My oldest brother Richard was a marching instructor for a local drum & bugle corps The Lynwood Diplomats. I attended rehearsals on a regular basis. Seeing what a great time these young people where having sparked my interest in joining. I was 11 years old (1969) & started on the French Horn bugle. At that point someone played me Open up Wide from the first Chase CD. After hearing this I was hooked on playing the trumpet. In 1970 I entered Jr. High School and started on trumpet in the band. The switch from French Horn to trumpet was a great move for me. I had natural high chops on the trumpet I didn't have on horn. I would like to say I worked for years & years developing my upper register but it came very quickly for me. I could play up to double high C in the 7th grade. Talk about a great thing for getting chicks!! HA

On leaving your education, have you always been a full time musician?
Describe your early experiences of semi / pro work.

I started working gigs with local wedding bands at 15. I think my first gig paid $25.00 for 4 hours. That seemed like great money to me at the time & it beat flipping burgers.
After graduating from Lynwood HS in 1976 I started down the college path but because of financial problems left school and took a job at Mc Donnell Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA. working as a machinist. I was 19 years old at this point in my life & the music business wasn't exactly beating down my door. After working at Mc Donnell Douglas for about a year I got a call for my first road gig with Buddy Miles.
This first road experience for me wasn't all it was cut out to be.The tour started in NYC for a month east coast run when the management stranded the the band in NY because of bad ticket sales. I made my way back to LA & did several different kinds of gigs.Cruise Ships, Theme Parks, Weddings ect.

Who were your teachers?

My first trumpet teacher was Ron Savitt who was my Jr. High band director. I took a few lessons many years later with Boyde Hood of the LA Philharmonic. I consider many of the players I work with now as my teachers. I learned more from on the job training than any tutor or book could ever show me.

What Orchestral experience have you had?

Most of my orchestral experience has come by way of studio work. I do play regularly with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. This group covers every style of music you can think of. I also make occasional gigs with the Pacific Symphony & The LA Philharmonic for pops concerts.

What session (Jingles / TV) experience have you had?

As far as Jingle work, most of the working players in LA have done several hundred to thousands of jingles for every product imaginable. I've never kept track of the amount of jingles I've done. An educated guess would be about 800-900.

Some of the TV work I've done includes American Idol, Emmy Awards, Latin Grammy's, Frank Sinatra's 80th B-Day TV Special, Tony Bennett TV Special, Tribute to Liz Tailor, The Agency, Jeopardy, America's Funniest Home Videos, Futurama, Buzz Lightyear, Hercules, Lloyd in Space, Hey Arnold, Promised Land, The Newlywed Game. King of the Hill, Profilers, Ally Mc Beal, Welcome to New York, Mouseworks, House of Mouse, Boston Public . I also worked as a sub on many Warner Bros. cartoons including Pinky & the Brain, Histaria & Animaniacs. The regular section on these cartoons was Rick Baptist, Malcolm Mc Nab & Warren Luening. I guess no one else was available :)

What small group / ensemble experience have you had?

Working in the studios put me in every size & playing situation imaginable. Many times it is a jazz quartet or quintet. Most of my ensemble work is with big band size groups, orchestras or horn section type work. Big Band playing is really my first love.
Some of the bands I have the honor to be part of include Quincy Jones, Bob Florence, Pat Williams, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, Sammy Nestico, Jack Sheldon, Ralph Carmichael, Matt Cattingub, Bill Liston, Kim Richmond, Tom Kubis, Ray Anthony, Roger Neumann, Bill Perkins, Bill Elliott, Chris Walden, Gary Irwin & Bill Watrous.

Other playing experiences?

In late 80s I was with singer/songwriter Paul Anka for about 3 years YUK!
I toured a bit with Helen Reddy in the late 70s. I also did two different tours with Maynard Ferguson in 1986 & 1988. Playing in Maynards band was one of the best experiences of my life. Annually I perform in Switzerland at the Aarau Jazz festival and have toured Japan as a guest soloist & clinician. In 1999 I had the honor of performing as the lead trumpeter and soloist for the Ellington Legacy Orchestra tour in Switzerland . In the spring of 2001 I occupied the lead trumpet chair with the Benny Golson All Star Band in Europe. Beside my studio schedule I'm also active in theater work, clinics & guest soloist appearances.

Have you a solo recording available?

I have just released a solo big band CD titled You Call this a Living?
Available at

Featured soloist include Peter Erskine, Pete Christlieb,Bill Liston Eric Marienthal, Dan Higgins Tom Kubis, Gary Grant, Andy Martin, Bill Reichenbach, Alan Pasqua &Tom Ranier

Doing my own CD wasn't something I never planned to do. I had Tom Kubis, Bill liston & Gordon Goodwin each do a chart for me that I could use for clinics. I decided to put a band together & record the 3 tunes as a demo. I played the tunes for my friend & colleague Gary Grant & he convinced me to do a solo CD. (With him producing it of course.) Well I took the offer & the rest is history. I have to say on the record that Gary Grant is one of the most gifted people on the planet. His playing speaks for itself. What many people don't know is that he is just as gifted as a producer, engineer & composer/arranger.

Gary has also just finished producing Arturo Sandoval's new CD "A Tribute to the Trumpet" due out early next year. Wait a minute, who's interview is this.

Any funny / interesting on the road type stories?

I can't think of anything to entertaining at the moment. We'll talk sometime.

Any news on new projects?
Just finished a new CD with Arturo Sandoval. The Gordon Goodwin Big Phat band is working on a new disc featuring Take 6, Michael Brecker & Trevor Rabin. Tom Kubis is releasing a NEW
Christmas CD this year. New Bob Florence CD is finished & should be out early in 2003. Played much of the lead trumpet on Kelley Smith's new release Kelley swings Basie Style.
Also played a couple of tune on Robbie Williams new CD.
Some recent Motion Pictures I've been involved with are Catch me if you Can, Eight Crazy Nights, Star Trek Nemesis, Master of Disguise, Sweet home Alabama, Orange County, Big Fat Liar, Queen of the Damned, Drum Line, Evolution & John Q.

Any funny / interesting stories about other famous trumpet players?

Can't think of any thing at the moment.

Favourite four albums?

It's tough to pick only 4 I think my list would include Sinatra at the Sands w/Count Basie,
Miles Davis-Porgy & Bess, Bob Berg-New Birth, Sergue Nakarakof-NoLimits, Woody Herman-Woodys Winners, DIz & Roy, Al Jarreau-High Crime, early MF (swingin my way through college, screamin blues ect) Freddy Hubbard-Ready for Freddy, Hub Tones, Blue for miles, Clifford Brown-Brownie Speaks, Clifford Brown w/strings. Opps is that more than 4,sorry I can't decide.

Favourite two movies?

My favorite two movies are Shawshank Redemption & Blazing Saddles.

Favourite three foods?

Well you don't get as big as me by only having 3 favorites but if i have to pick I would say Any Pasta with great pesto sauce, All BBQ (w/Gates sauce) & Breyers Vanilla Ice cream with reeses hard chocolate shell. I probably wouldn't eat these things at the same time, things could get ugly.

Non-musical hobbies / points of interest you enjoy?

I do some home remodeling stuff like tile, moldings, doors etc.

Do you take days off from playing? (How does it affect you?)

I don't like to take more than 1 day off at any one time.

When I'm not working I try to practice so I'm ready for any thing I might encounter on the job. If I do take time off it takes me a few days to get back in shape. I'm not one of those players that can take 2 weeks off & still play a high G. I wish I was. ( I hate those cats)

Any chop problems / solutions you've personally had you can share?

I learned to play with a chip in my front tooth. About 12 years ago the tooth developed a cavity & it had to be worked on. The dentist bonded the tooth to fix it but made the length bit longer. When I first played on it didn't seem to be a problem, but it did feel different. In the weeks to come my chops went downhill fast. At one point I could barely produce a high C. I was very frustrated & made several trips back to the dentist to file the tooth with no success.
At one point I actually threw my trumpet into the wall out of frustration. I called Boyde Hood & set up a lesson. Boyde told me to forget about how my chops use to feel & strive for sound & not "the feel." Anyway, to make a long story short,
Boyde got my head out of the problem. Through Boyde's guidance & a Jimmy Stamp based routine I was back on my game in about a month. Ever since this incident I have used these exercises in my daily practice.

Three Trumpet tips you wish to share with the readers.

1. Strive to be a well rounded musician . The more hats you can wear the better your chances of working.

2. Be prepared for anything. Be in shape, on time, warmed up & ready to give 110% on every job. No excuses

3. Be a listening, musical, flexible section player, if you are you will be back again. If not...Sorry.

(And my #1 tip The music biz is difficult enough, Don't be an A hole!!)

End of interview sentiment.

Thanks Roddy for including me in this stellar line up of players. I hope we can play together someday.

Wayne Bergeron

Thank you very much indeed for sharing your thoughts with the
' Trumpet Web Community '9th December 2002.