by Dan Goldwasser
Name: Jon Lewis
Profession: Trumpet Player
Education: Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance - University of Kansas, 1981
What is it exactly that you do? I play trumpet for television and movie soundtracks as well as Jingles, Record Dates, Video Games and a good deal of 'live music' like the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony and subbing on the LA Philharmonic. I also enjoy chamber music playing and am a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Brass.
Recent films worked on: Alan Silvestri's The Wild, Danny Elfman's "Serenada Schizophrana" (for the IMAX film Deep Sea 3D), King Kong with James Newton Howard, Eight Below with Mark Isham, Inside Man with Terence Blanchard, Flicka with Aaron Zigman, Fun with Dick and Jane with Teddy Shapiro, Munich with John Williams, Cheaper by the Dozen II with John Debney and Big Mamma's House
2 with George Clinton, to name the last few that been going on.
Biggest films worked on: Biggest is a relative term. Soldier with Joel McNeely had one of the largest brass sections I've worked with, having three brass choirs of 15 people each. Most of the scores of composers like James Newton Howard, John Williams, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Don Davis and other amazing composers are generally big scores. We recently had a very large orchestra with huge brass sections for The Chronicles of Narnia with Harry Gregson-Williams. Other wonderful, big brass sections from the past were Planet of the Apes with Danny Elfman and the Batman Returns soundtrack a few years ago, also with Danny Elfman. James Horner's Titanic and Troy were also larger brass sections. In general, most orchestras are around 80 players, a wonderful mix of the best of the musicians in Los Angeles.
What is your musical background: I grew up in the Northern Virginia area, outside of Washington, D.C. I studied with the 1st trumpet with the Army Band, Pat Mastroleo. I went to the Univ. of Kansas, studying with Roger Stoner. Moved out to LA in 1981, studied with Jimmy Stamp, Tom Stevens and Tony Plog as well as taking occasional lessons with various teachers in the area. I worked every type of music imaginable in the first several years and played in quintets, orchestras, Latin bands, weddings and funerals and everything else. I also threw newspapers for four long years when I moved to LA. I had some opportunities in the recording scene and in the early 90's I got more opportunities when I started playing for the "Star Trek" TV shows as solo trumpet. That continued until those shows ended and also I was able to play on the "JAG" TV shows for 10 years, from the first to the last shows (for the most part). Through that playing I was exposed to other recording situations and the rest just followed along. Now, I try to keep as busy as I can in the Motion Picture and Television scene and love every minute of it. I also do some clinics and masterclasses and have recently started doing a few solo performances around the United States and in Europe.
How did you get into recording music for film? When I moved out to LA in 1981, it was after visiting in two consecutive Spring Breaks from KU. I was immediately drawn to how beautiful it was in LA and when I started meeting some of the players I was totally blown away. I knew I HAD to be out here. As I mentioned earlier I moved to LA in 1981 and played every imaginable type of job and that experience really helped me in my all-around playing of styles and different playing situations. Over time I met the players and then the next level of being referred by the players brought me into some recording situations.
After many years of having an occasional opportunity to record, I had a great opportunity to play for the "Star Trek" TV shows "Deep Space Nine", "Next Generation" and "Voyager", as solo and first trumpet. Also around that time the TV show, "JAG", started and I had the privilege of playing all 10 years of that show. Those shows allowed me to be heard more and more and I believe lent to my exposure to the contractors. Long story short, I became busy through TV work, which was a wonderful area in our industry. That TV work, unfortunately, has decreased a great deal in the past several years.
What was the best experience you've had? Again, the 'best' experience would be too difficult to nail down but I had a wonderful experience several years ago while recording the movie soundtrack to Star Trek: Generations, with Dennis McCarthy. Though I had played some 1st trumpet on several movies, that was my first really major picture that I was called to play all the first trumpet and solos on the movie. Dennis had brought me into the "Star Trek" TV shows and was really great about writing some really beautiful but very difficult solo work for me. That was a very special movie experience to me. Overall the 'best' experience I have is being fortunate enough to work with the 'Best of the Best' on a daily basis. My colleagues are amazing and I'm in awe of what happens day in and day out with these wonderful Los Angeles musicians. They are the best...
Without naming names or titles, what is the worst situation you've ever had at a session, and why? I don't think I can point out any particular instance that was the worst. Part of the beauty of this business is being able to detach from situations that are less than great and being able to make the best out of any and all situations. That is why the magic is here in LA, in my opinion. There have been some very challenging situations with dynamics between composers and producers or even between players and leaders but all in all, we all take care of business in the best ways possible. I don't hold onto any 'worst situations'.
What are you working on now? I'm taking a break for the holidays, but there are always some great projects coming up to look forward to in the new year!
Visit Jon Lewis's website at http://www.jonlewis.net/
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