Butler Trombones Carbon Slide Review

Butler Carbon Fiber Trombones
(214) 356-8002

This was an outer slide replacement of Earl Williams Model 6, serial #1128 – manufactured in Burbank circa 1966. Here’s a terrific history of Earl Williams trombones.  Received the slide yesterday afternoon, played it for 20 minutes at home then took it to the show:

Weight: Obviously this outer is the lightest I’ve ever played. I don’t know how many ounces it is, but it can’t weigh but 1/4 (or less) what the stock brass outer slide does.

Speed: Easily the fastest slide I’ve ever played in a 42-year playing career. 10/10. Enough said.

Feel: I usually determine this by moving the slide slowly, simulating teensy-weensy adjustments. This test is deceptive, because the feel is so different from a metal slide. A metal slide has heft, which gives it inertial potential, and in an optimum metal slide allows for a glassy feel that provides little drag. No “glassy feel” here – obviously – because we’re not evaluating metal-on-metal with some intermittent viscous fluid. We’re evaluating straight-on carbon fiber on metal.
This slide is just do damn light, the “smoothness/slickness” factor isn’t really comparable and is barely determinable. It’s like the normal evaluation rules don’t apply, and I found myself not *wanting* to evaluate it by traditional methods. In other words, this slide changes my preferences.
Treatment: It seems to like to be dry, because whenever I add any of the (recommended) Yamaha lubricant to it, it incrementally slows down – which takes away from the superior slide speed. The whole thing with this slide is speed, not slickness, and adding anything diminishes the speed just a bit – which is the whole point of the slide.
I guess what I’m getting to with this whole Speed/Slickness analysis is that the classic slide feel is out the door with this one. It doesn’t have the traditional slickness of a metal slide, but after playing it you just don’t care, because it’s SO damn fast.
So fast in fact: this show I’m playing requires a lot of fast 1st-to-6th and 7th-to-2nd technique which I normally use a trigger on (was using an Elkhart Conn 79H), and this is a straight horn and I had NO problem cleanly playing the phrases. I will finish the run with this horn.
Now given all of this, I am a slide placer and not a slide slinger/thrower, and I can’t speak for how this would affect slinging/throwing technique players.
First, a quick primer as to these two techniques:
There are two general schools when it comes to slide technique – placers and slingers.
During fast passages, Slingers don’t like to change slide direction too abruptly. When making a fast position change of two positions or more finishing with a reverse, they push or pull the slide with EITHER the fingers or thumb, and then catch it or bounce it with the opposing digit(s). If it’s multiple notes in the same direction, they accelerate/decelerate the slide during the one-direction position change in order to attempt to coincide the moment of articulation with the correct slide position.
Placers – like me – keep thumb and fingers in contact with the brace at all times. When I need to play something fast, I place my arm and wrist at the right positions, and quick changes of direction are done with wrist whip rather than throwing and catching. If I’m in first and I have to jump quickly out to fifth or sixth and back, I do it by extending my arm, with all my fingers and thumb never losing contact, and the wrist being the “whip” or shock absorber.
It must be noted that since these two techniques are inextricably tied to overall intonation/sound/style, slide slingers and slide placers are positively married to their respective technique.  They usually can’t understand the other, which is why so few players will speak of or acknowledge these two – generally exclusive – fast slide techniques. They are like ardent members of opposing political parties – they just don’t “get” the other.
I have no idea how a slinger would like this slide, because it doesn’t have the normal heft/speed/feel characteristics of a metal slide; I would think they have to feel heft in order for throwing/catching the slide to feel “right.” I’m a slide “placer” and I positively love the speed/feel of this slide.
Air Feel: I cannot determine ANY differences in air feel from the stock metal slide.
I am a painfully picky player in this regard – I just had new (metal) tubes drawn for another horn, and I sent the slide back because even though the slide felt amazing and the construction was perfect, the tolerance between the inner and outer was JUST a micron or two too loose and it (incrementally) changed the blow.
Nothing like that here. Nothing. Air feel is identical to a stock, mid-60s Earl Williams 6. Probably helps that David Butler is a Williams expert.
Sound: this was the truly surprising & exciting part – I cannot determine ANY differences in sound quality from the stock metal slide. None whatsoever, not even low Bs/Cs/Fs/Es where a third of the trombone is carbon. All the resonance qualities that I love metal horns for – and have had problems with all-CF horns – are absent here.  It projects, resonates and rings just like any good mid-1960s Williams.
Disadvantages: the only thing I can think of is the inner has to be widened to accommodate the carbon fiber outer, so once you convert you can’t switch back and forth.
Based on playing it about three hours yesterday, it’s safe to say this is my new primary gig setup that I will use on all but large-bore gigs, no question.
Absolutely excellent.  Flawless construction. Real game-changer. Highly recommended.
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Summer Fun 2018!!

Plenty of public performances coming up in Summer/Fall 2018!  Appearances with Chaise Lounge, Brian Simms’ Junkyard Saints, Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Art Sherrod Jr., Annual Galas at Strathmore and Ford’s Theatre, and the 5-week Pre-Broadway run of “Ain’t Too Proud – the Life and Times of the Temptations” at Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre.

See the full schedule, and I hope to hang with many of you in the coming months 😀


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Chaise Lounge 2017 Vermont Tour!!

This weekend, July 8-11 2017, the intrepid six travel up north to play for hundreds of people and hundreds of thousands of pine trees!  With shows in St Johnsbury, Greensboro and Derby Line Vermont, we’re covering at least… well, about 1/1,200th of the state with Mocha Frappacino-ey musical goodness.

In fact, the heck with it – the good old U.S. of A. can’t even contain us – our show in Derby Line is square on the U.S./Canada border.  The guys on the right side of the stage are wearing Canadian Mountie hats, and the guys on the left are wearing big ten-gallon jobbers.  They may or may not be working on “the Wall” in the middle of the stage during our performance, you’ll know if you hear a jackhammer during the trombone solos (pls post jokes below).

Either way the shows will be YUUGE, featuring music from our most recent release, The Lock & The Key.

We hope to see our New England buddies at one (or more) of the shows!!  And maybe some bears…

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Joe to Perform at Snider Jazz Festival in Ft Wayne, IN


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Chaise Lounge CD Release Party in Rockville, MD!!

Celebrate with us!

It’s 2017, and Chaise Lounge has a brand-new album. The CD is called The Lock & the Key, and we can hardly wait to welcome it to the world with you. We hope you’ll join us at a record release event on Friday, January 27 at AMP (powered by Strathmore).

With a very cool cover by artist Adriana Cordero, the CD is now pressed and ready for you to add to your collection. You may already have heard us play a few of the numbers, which include “A Cold, Cold Day in New Orleans,” “The Sweet Ride Home,” and “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” But we promise the event will have plenty of surprises as well.

If you haven’t been to AMP, you’ll find it in North Bethesda, near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike. There’s ample paid parking in an adjacent garage, and the club is a 7-minute walk from the White Flint Metro station. You can get tickets for the show here. Hope to see you!

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A Salute to Our Veterans with AFPO

In observance of Veterans Day, the American Festival Pops Orchestra presents a concert of uplifting pops sounds to honor all of those who have served and sacrificed to keep us safe. Enjoy a lively program of patriotic favorites and American standards including “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “American Salute,” “Liberty Fanfare” by John Williams, and other works by Aaron Copland. Of course, no patriotic concert is complete without a stirring medley of John Phillips Sousa marches, including “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” In this special concert, the talented musicians of the American Festival Pops Orchestra give an exuberant performance, conducted by the charming and accomplished conductor, Anthony Maiello.

$50, $43, $30. 1 Free Student Ticket Available with Mason ID on Nov. 1, 2016


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Celebrating the Music of Hoagy Carmichael with Gia Mora & Charlie Barnett

Vocalist and actor Gia Mora returns to Blues Alley & Germano’s with her new show In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening featuring Charlie Barnett. Sit back and enjoy a crisp summer night on the front porch in Anytown, USA, with the timeless, quaint music of Hoagy Carmichael.

Miz Mora is best known for her critically acclaimed one-woman show Einstein’s Girl,  which has played to sold out houses on both coasts and continues to tour the country. Her recent television credits include True Detective, Impress Me, Lopez and Castle and she has an extensive theatre resume, including four Helen Hayes nominations for her work in the Washington, DC area.

Composer, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Barnett has thrilled listeners around the world. His wonderfully eclectic band Chaise Lounge just released their seventh album, Gin Fizz Fandango,  to critical acclaim. Barnett’s compositions have garnered many awards, including two Emmy nominations.

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A Very Special Valentine’s Show with Chaise Lounge

The sweet, sultry Valentine’s sounds of Marilyn Older & Chaise Lounge.  You and your sweetheart. Friday night February 12. Those three things go together like roses, strawberries dipped in chocolate and those cute, nasty little sweet tarts we used to give each other in grade school.

Tickets are still available at a measly $20 a pop.  But don’t worry, we won’t tell your date how cheap you are – you’ll look like a hero taking him or her to the most romantic band in town!  Come on out and join us – you’ll be glad you did.  Show starts at 8pm

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Chaise Lounge CD Release Party!

It has been a long time coming—more than two years!—but our new CD, Gin Fizz Fandango, is finally ready for its unveiling. We’d love for you to come celebrate with us…and hear us play the music live. We’re having a CD release event on September 26 at Montgomery County’s groovy new music venue, AMP (powered by Strathmore). The club is swanky, the sound system first-rate, and Chaise Lounge is jazzed (ha!) to perform this retro-fresh slate of story songs and red-hot instrumentals. Won’t you join us? For tickets, visit ampbystrathmore.com or call 301-581-5100.

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Junkyard Saints @ Signature Theatre Open House

Come see DC/Baltimore’s grooviest & most amazing band, Junkyard Saints play at the Signtaure Theatre’s annual open house Sunday afternoon 2 August, noon – 2pm.  Brian Simms (perennial WAMA musician of the year) is a complete badass, and Chris Stengle/Matt Everhart represent THE most sick drums/bass duo in the area. We’re playing in the lobby – it’s free and it’s fun!

Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

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