Maynard's Story (Part 2 of 5)
Even though Maynard Chatters was raised on the violin and desired to play the trumpet, he quickly fell in love with the trombone. From the beginning, he was intrigued by the trombone's relationship to the human voice. "Instruments are nothing but extensions of the human voice. God gave us all a natural instrument, the voice. That is the greatest instrument of all, the human voice," he'd later recall in an interview with Eve Abrams featured in the book, Preservation Hall.
Chatters’ trombone playing has a smooth, powerful and fluid sound that pays particular attention to dynamics, using the horn as an extension of the his voice. Chatters approaches his singing similarly, and while hymns and popular standards like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” remain among his favorite songs to perform, traditional jazz continues to be at the center of his musicality.
Growing up performing the classical repertoire, performing music throughout his collegiate career, Maynard would go on to perform various genres of music professionally. Chatters has a fluid approach to genre and shifts seamlessly between blues, gospel, rhythm-n-blues, jazz and brass. "Despite the genre of music, we think of the melody, harmony and rhythm. Rhythm is nothing but measured time. Improvisation is like decorating a song," he proclaims. "Jazz gives you that freedom to be yourself. I appreciate what other trombone players do, but I want to develop a style of my own. That's what jazz does for you."
Featured photo courtesy of Steffi Graham.