Most trumpet teachers, particularly classical ones, tell you not to blow your cheeks.
However, when I look at the great jazz players – not just Dizzy Gillespie, who is extreme, but also Freddy Hubbard, Chet Baker, Clark Terry and many others, they ALL blows their cheeks out. If they do it, why is that? And why are we told not to.
I have experimented, and I’ve found that it can be a way of keeping the lips relaxed and encouraging the feeling of letting the air out straight through the instrument. But I can’t get higher notes like this, whereas they obviously can.
I think youre right, Stan–its because they’re keeping their lips relaxed and squeezing the aperture from around the air column (not clamping top-to-bottom like a clam).
I think they’re just using slightly different muscles or not engaging certain other muscles to keep that from happening.
It happens to me from time to time but I try to avoid it. But I have played around a little compressing air with my mouth and noted in is helpful above High C. But I’m more focused on building my dynamic control right now.
I think the bottom line is that those are some of the greatest trumpet players in history and whatever they did was effective.
I think theres a spectrum of efficiency and effectiveness and no one right way.