Joseph Alessi, David Finlayson, Amanda Davidson, James Markey, Trombones
15. Oh, Dry Those Tears
Arthur Pryor with Joseph Alessi
Arthur Pryor single-handedly changed the way the trombone was played; he also influenced the way composers wrote for the instrument. His vast technique is still the envy of many a trombonist, even over 100 years after his first recording was released. However, it was not only his technique that was legendary, but also his “golden tone” and his extraordinarily expressive playing. As one band member stated, “Mr. Pryor could make the old ladies cry." While on tour in Europe with the Sousa Band, Pryor happened to play an aira from Leoncavello’s I Palicchi while the composer was in the audience. After the performance, Leoncavello greeted Pryor and stated that he had never heard his aria played so beautifully on any instrument. "Slide Partners" is truly a celebration of 100 years of American trombone virtuosity; this collection of recordings showcases Pryor's lyrical playing and impressive musicality, while also featuring Joseph Alessi's formidable talent. Alessi is living proof of Pryor's huge contribution to the trombone world, as his playing conveys both technical skill and a singing lyricism.
It is a great honor to be part of this wonderful project dedicated to the amazing Arthur Pryor. I am now able to understand what a truly gifted man he was and why he most certainly deserved the title "King of Trombones". The recording techniques of his day did not do justice to the wonderful singing sound of his instrument; I feel able to say this because I had first-hand experience recording onto the Edison sound machine and its primitive wax cylinders. This recording choice was made so that I could virtually go back in time and record using the same techniques as Pryor used those many years ago. I could scarcely believe my ears when I heard the degree to which this machine distorts one's sound and pitch. In order to have produced such fine recordings as he did, Pryor's sound must have been extremely special, and his phrasing and lyricism unmatched. I would have loved to meet him and talk with him about instruments, trombone playing, and music in general. When I heard his recordings and my recorded tracks combined in the duets on this CD, I felt that I was actually playing with Pryor in person; that was an indescribable experience for me. I was so inspired that I have returned again and again to listen to his early recordings. After contributing to this project, I have found that I can appreciate Pryor's playing in a far different way than I possibly could have before. It also was not my intention in this recording to copy exactly how Pryor played, as his style and phrasing were unique and unmatched by any trombonist.
I salute Mr. Arthur Pryor, the true King of Trombones!