Fifty Days of Time’, Hans Zimmer – performed on 14 Tenor Trombones during the Covid-19 lockdown. | Tony Boorer


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Time’ by Hans Zimmer, from the movie ‘Inception’, played over fifty days as an incentive to practise during the Covid-19 UK lockdown.
Arranged, mixed and Performed by Tony Boorer

When the Lockdown began in March I gradually stopped practising. Despondent and worried at the loss of all my work, I stopped playing and concentrated on getting fat, which, as can be seen on the video, I accomplished. After several weeks of a buzz and toot free house, I thought that if I could put the same amount of effort into playing again as I had in perfecting a bacon sandwich, then perhaps I could regain my lip and do something creative. I wanted to start on a project straight away, spurred on by all the fantastic brass players out there keeping us inspired with their own projects (thanks, you know who you are), but my lip could barely get through Twinkle Twinkle let alone anything more ambitious. Then it occurred to me there’s nothing to stop me recording over time, and the penny dropped. As a fan of Hans Zimmer’s music, his score from the movie ‘Inception’ has a slow but exciting track called ‘Time’. It seemed perfect. I couldn’t play it as a transcription as I didn’t think it would work, so I arranged it in parallel with my ‘recovery practise’. Starting long and quiet, eventually stretching out to arpeggio runs, scales and extended range, over days with plenty of breaks. This reflected what I was doing to regain my chops. So, I recorded in various locations over intervals of a few days. I only have one tenor trombone, albeit a great instrument, so the arrangement is for 14 tenor trombones. I use a Greg Black New York 1.5 mouthpiece for the lower parts. Interestingly, practising in the range of pedal Db helped regain the high register – the piece goes up subtly to a high F#.
Everything here can be played in a live environment. The electronic effects are controlled by four trombones using an electronic plunger mute (ePlunger) that I made with a transducer mic and amplifier built into it, similar to an electric guitar. Touch-sensitive buttons on the outside can control rhythmic delay, and I used slap-tongue with the ePlunger closed over the bell to create a Zimmer style percussive pulse.

To get my lip back in shape, I used exercises passed down to me by the late, great John Wilbraham and the following books,
‘Circuit Training’, book 1 and 2 by Peter Gane
‘Zen and the Art of the Trombone’ (an eBook on Apple Books) by Kevin Morgan
‘Unlocking the Trombone Code’ by Ian Bousfield
Warm-ups by Joe Alessi
All teaching videos by James Markey
The circle of fifths – improv with backing tracks by myself and the standard, classic study books we all know and love.

Recorded and multitracked in various locations in and around the house, following social distancing rules, using a Roland R26 portable recorder and a Sennheiser ME66. Mixed on Ableton Live.