Bud Brisbois Story

Bud Brisbois's Original Mouthpiece

Bud Brisbois’s Original Mouthpiece left at our shop in 1978.

Bud was a long time friend and customer of mine. I had done some work for him before, including aligning his Holton Bb trumpet #516449, when in 1978 he visited my shop.

When I asked Bud what I could do for him he said, “I want you to make a new and improved Bob Reeves’ version of my Herrick mouthpiece.”

“You got it!” I replied.

He was playing a custom Burt Herrick piece (pictured left) that I had altered the shank on before. It was a completely custom mouthpiece – hand carved rim and cup, short length and a complex backbore.

It took me most of the morning and afternoon to get the piece done. I was able to modify the piece from the original to give him a little more sound for less work.

I had barely taken it out of the silver-plating tank when he grabbed it out of my hand and started running for the door.

“I have a session I have to get to. Thanks for the piece!” Bud said running out of the shop.

“Hey, don’t you want to take the old one with you just in case?” I yelled out, chasing after him with his old Burt Herrick piece in my hand. I couldn’t believe he would show up to a studio session with a new, untested piece.

“What the hell do I need that old thing for…yours is better isn’t it?”

I stood there speechless.

The session ended up being one of his best recordings with Henry Mancini. He never came back for his old piece, where it has been sitting in the same drawer for 30 years.


15 Responses to “Bud Brisbois Story”

  1. yiannis Says:

    Great story , i am sure you have many more stories to tell us , i cant wait.

    Regards Yiannis from Greece.

  2. Mike Supple Says:

    Bob, thanks for the story about Bud. He was a great player, who left us way too soon. If only he would have gotten some help….

    I met his brother J.J. on a big band gig here in Minneapolis this past May. J.J. stopped to chat, telling me how much he enjoyed my playing, and asked if I knew of a trumpet player named Bud Brisbois (I did not know who J.J. was at the time). After I told him, “hell, yeah, I love Bud’s playing!,” he told me he is Bud’s younger brother. Holy sh*t! We ended up talking for an hour after my gig was done. Really nice guy, who had some great stories.

    Mike Supple

  3. I know you´ve probably heard this question a thousand times before, but which size did Buds´ Reeves Mouthpiece have?
    Can you compare it to any of your mouthpieces?

    Hannover, Germany

    • Hi Leif,

      Taken me a while to reply, but better late than never, right?

      Bud’s mouthpiece is nothing like anything standard we make. The rim is completely hand carved and the inner diameter would be in the range of our 36 – 38 rims. It is a very short mouthpiece with a surprisingly deep cup for such a small rim (and for all the high notes Bud was famous for).

      I can still make the mouthpiece but they are completely custom and I usually don’t recommend getting one since it is such a specialized mouthpiece. Very few players can actually play on it.

  4. Hi Guys –

    I am guessing that the date was more like 1975 when Bud was still very active on the LA scene. The album probably would have been Symphonic Soul. Bud stopped playing for a bit in 75 and then moved to Arizona soon after. In 78, he was playing again, but certainly was not doing studio work….


    • Hey Kevin. I loved Symphonic Soul, and still have it sitting around somewhere on vinyl. Haven’t heard it for 25 years, but I can still remember every note of that picc solo that Bud did!

  5. lou gonzalez Says:

    yeah-you would leave it in the same place and never move it for 30 or 40 years.
    i just saw some of the anniversary stickers you came out with in an old book claude gave me.
    thanks for all your help over the years. i am really startin’ to like this mouth piece you made me in 1995 or so. and-strange-i played with Mario Pino tonight. the day i was picking my “DynamicMass” up, he was in the shop. he was nice enough to copy a book of bach studies and mail them to me in alaska-kept me sane on ships for 12 years.
    is gagliones exploded schematic of the interchangeable sleeve proto still on your wall????he did it about the time we were hanging out with bud-the only trpt guy we knew with a frickin porsche-except szabos hi-school grad. present….reminds me-his dad gave him a chicago benge for jr. hi grad-wow. love you, bob…lou in sin city, still playing and practicing…

  6. This is a great story, but I completely missed the point. At first, I thought it was rude that Brisbois was going to run out of your store without paying you for your work. Did you ever get paid for that job? LOL.. I imagine the story, and his old mouthpiece is worth many times more than the cost of the job!

  7. Really, I did not write the blog, one of the staff wrote the story. How much would you pay for IT ? The little money I’ve made I’d gladly give it back, IF Bud would return, he was a good friend. Actually, I would not sell IT, I use IT as needed to make a copy or show IT to a customer and let them play IT, upon request. YOU must not know me. Bob Reeves, you ARE ?

    • lou gonzalez Says:

      aha-august 3 posting-now, THAT’s the voice of bobreeves i remember/not exactly harsh/soft, rarely gentle…reeking of truth.
      bud was a great and good generous friend we all miss and wish he woulda, coulda, stayed around.
      thanks a million for your help-between you, gordie, john clyman,
      sid lazar, mario, roy, graham, mannie…hey, i am dazzled by the encyclopedia of trumpet playing wit wisdom and ass-kicking i received from a cast of thousands.
      i hope you are laughin’ and enjoying another beautiful year…
      thanks for the memories, and, yes, that ‘piece you made me is starting to work in, but i still want the one that requires no practice, effort, maintenance, and costs $7.50…
      lou in sin city, playing another show in glitter gulch.

  8. Hi Bob,

    I am Bud’s youngest daughter. I am grateful to you for the story, and for keeping my father’s memory alive. He was a good man – a wonderful father – and as you well know – one of the all time greatest trumpet players.

    • Hi Jodi,

      I’m glad I could share this story. The great thing about the web is that these memories can be kept alive. We still listen to Bud’s recordings regularly here in the shop. Like you said, he was quite a man and no one can or will play like he did.

  9. I was being sarcastic, Bob.
    I know who you are very well, Bob Reeves. My old trumpet teacher here in Denver spoke very highly of you, constantly and we may have even had you do some work on a mouthpiece for me. His name was Jim Grafmyer, and you may have known him through Claude Gordon.

    Thanks for the great story about Bud Brisbois.

    Benge Trumpets

    • Hi Rob,

      No problem, sometimes things don’t translate well online (my employee just told me what LOL meant!).

      Jim Grafmyer was a dear friend of mine and I am blessed to have known him. I’ve made dozens of mouthpieces and did several valve alignments for Jim.

      I’m glad you know who I am and if you’re ever near LA lets go out for a drink and then I can know you well too!

  10. Jack Van Scyoc Says:

    I was attending Chico State college in 1958 when one of the fellows on our floor ask me if I knew who Bud Brisbois was. I did not, in fact I did know who Stan Kenton was. Anyway this classmate told me that he used to go over and play at the home of Brisbois family, and that would have been in Woodland, Ca. I really never thought much about this conversation until one year later I moved in with a trumpet player and he introduced me to Kenton music, starting with Cuban Fire. Within a few years Bud’s name came up and I remembered him, but I never had the chance to meet the man.
    It breaks my heart to know what happened to Bud and to Frank Rosolino.

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