The Screaming Trumpet library features Wayne Bergeron, who played lead trumpet with Maynard Ferguson''s band in the late 1980s.
Quite often the elements lacking in one-size-fits-all sample collections are focus and attitude. Focus is relatively easy: you simply concentrate the sample set on an instrument or a musician whose expertise is in a specific musical genre. Attitude is a bit more difficult to quantify, but it comprises elements that endow a bunch of samples with something more than a series of chromatically played notes stretched across a keyboard map. It's with attitude and focus that Screaming Trumpet ($199) captures an impressive variety of jazz and pop trumpet techniques, exploiting the formidable capabilities of trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, whose chops grace the works of an impressive roster of artists.
The single DVD supplies programs and stereo samples (16-bit, 44.1 kHz) for several popular software instruments — Tascam GigaStudio 2 and 3, Native Instruments Kontakt 2, Propellerhead Reason NN-XT, and Apple Logic EXS24 mk II. A folder of WAV files accompanies each sampler's set of programs, allowing you to create programs from scratch or use the library with hardware samplers. Depending on which software sampler you use, Screaming Trumpet allocates roughly 600 to 700 MB sound sets.
I tested the sets on my dual-processor 1.42 GHz Power Mac G4 with Mac OS X 10.4.8 and 2 GB of RAM. I auditioned the samples and programming in Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2, in EXS24 mk II in Apple Logic 7.1, and in Reason 3.05.
According to WarpIV, the instruments are specifically designed to be leads and solos, but they would fare equally well as section instruments in which trumpets dominate. The quality of the samples is excellent, and they capture the trumpet's upper register in the tradition of Maynard Ferguson, a bandleader noted for playing extremely high notes on the instrument.
The various techniques are sampled in the appropriate ranges of the instrument (and sometimes considerably beyond), and the chromatic sampling effectively avoids any pitch-shifting anomalies. According to WarpIV, four Velocity layers are provided in the sustained patches, with looped and unlooped versions available. Attention to detail in the sampling is evident, especially in techniques such as flutters, where the rates and intervals are consistent across the keyboard.
Listening to individual samples, I noticed a couple of subtle inconsistencies in execution. In one instance, there was a very slight swoop up to pitch on one key. However, these slight variations are of little consequence other than enhancing the human factor in the instruments.
Patches include key- and Velocity-switching instruments, modulation wheel crossfades, instruments recorded with and without natural vibrato, flutters, rises, falls, growls, “doits,” and more. I particularly liked ST_All_KS.nki, which effectively combined legato and staccato instruments and a truckload of different techniques with the easy access of a keyswitching program. The Kontakt 2 set makes use of round-robin programming, in which successive iterations of the same note automatically switch to adjacent samples, thus avoiding the telltale machine-gun effect.
The programming in most cases is quite good, utilizing Kontakt 2 scripting capabilities and release triggers, though in a few instances you may want to tailor patches to your own working preferences. For example, the Combinator patch in Reason loads all of the individual patches so that every articulation is available. WarpIV recommends that users who require fewer articulations load smaller subsets of the library to save memory.
In ST_NV_Growl Crossfade for Kontakt 2, a couple of the growl samples are flat, causing some unintended beating artifacts when the modulation wheel moves midway between the samples. And on the EXS24 mk II, a patch that is supposed to modulate between growl and flutter-tongue articulations plays both samples simultaneously with no perceptible modulation.
Although there are legato samples and some excellent legato-mode scripts in the Kontakt 2 sets, conspicuously absent from a set of solo trumpets are any true legato monophonic instruments. According to WarpIV, that feature is in the works.
Overall, Screaming Trumpet has a lot to offer. The samples are full of life, and this fine set of representative trumpet articulations conveys much of the depth and breadth of modern jazz and pop trumpet technique.
Value (1 through 5): 3