Randy hails from El Paso, Texas. He began his musical journey as a vocalist, with his mothers encouragement, at age 4 and began playing trumpet at age 11. His father bought a King 2B medium bore trumpet for himself in 1948. Randy’s father taught him how to hold the horn and how to buzz lips and form an embouchure. This would be the horn that Randy would play the first 4 years. He held 1st chair in 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands. By age 14, Randy began playing in public in local churches and retirement homes. He began taking private lessons at age 14 from Bobby Booth and son Rodney Booth.
At age 16, Randy got his first new trumpet, which was a Getzen, Eterna Severinson large bore (.465) silver plated model. By this time he was focused on playing lead trumpet and was inspired by Maynard Ferguson and Bill Chase. He would practice along with vinyl records and learn the tunes without reading any music. This approach would greatly aid in his ear training but not aid in developing music reading skills. Perfect pitch only goes so far ;) public performances outside of high school continued as a member of the Zaragoza Brass band.
At age 17, Randy began to study with Joe Dove. He had scored 1st division ratings on solo competitions from age 12-18 as well as participating in district, region and area bands and jazz bands. He held 1st chair in 9th grade band and 4th chair in the top stage band as a freshman. He continued as 4th chair in top stage band in 10th grade and also made the top concert band as a sophomore. Randy was finally lead trumpet in the top stage band and 1st chair in the top concert band both junior and senior year. Throughout high school, he also performed as a front man/lead singer in Led Zeppelin and Van Halen cover band.
Upon graduating high school, Randy decided to pursue music school and received a scholarship to WTSU (which is now WTAMU). While attending college, he continued to play trumpet in public with small group jazz bands and another Van Halen cover band as lead singer. During his time at WT, he studied with Dave Ritter and Danny Williams and continued to focus on lead trumpet. Randy took a few lessons from Jon Faddis during a week stay in NYC.
Upon graduating with a BME, Randy decided to pursue a master’s degree in jazz studies at NTSU (which is now UNT). While attending NTSU, he began his focus on jazz improvisation and began playing in the DFW music scene as lead and jazz trumpet in salsa bands such as El Grand Metropli and El Groupo Mar Azul. Randy also performed with Dallas Jazz Orchestra and Mal Fitch Orchestra while going to school. Randy experienced that it was quite a challenge to be a lead player and jazz soloist and decided to settle in on improvisation. His main influences are Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker and Freddie Hubbard. While at UNT, he studied with Danny Williams, Frank Campos, Keith Johnson and Don “Jake” Jacoby.
Randy was contacted by Norwegian Cruise Lines for a split lead and jazz position in the ocean liner’s house big band. He auditioned over the phone and won the position. He performed with Patti Page, Chopper and the Boppers, Artie Shaw, The Platters, Ray Anthony and Wolfman Jack, to name a few. It was a 7 day cruise that lasted for 4 months and by time, he decided he had enough and moved back to the DFW area.
At age 26 he got back into the DFW music scene as a free lance musician and became a private trumpet instructor in the metroplex and has continued both as his profession from 1988 to present. Throughout the past 30+ years, Randy has played all over DFW metroplex, the United States and Germany. Randy has performed with Lanny Morgan, Ernie Watts, Willie Thomas, Harry Connick, Jr., Elvira and many others. He has played as a side man in countless DFW bands such as Wanda King Blues Review, Sambuca Big Band directed by Shelley Carroll, Arthur Riddles, Pecos River Brass, Brookhaven CC Big Band, One O’clock Lab Band, Briefcase Blues Band, Cuvée, The Granger Group, Pops Carter and the Funk Monsters. Ghoultown, Ronnie’s House Party, Dickie and the Valentinos, Shibboleth, Watusi, The G-Men, The Wonderbreads, Joe McBride, Wayne Delano, Bobby Patterson, Hunter Sullivan Band, Ricky Derrick Big Band, Pat Peterson, Mike Nicosia, Janet Robertson, Glen Rothstein, Dennis Cavalier and many others. Randy also leads his own trio where he sings and plays jazz standards influential of Chet Baker.
In 1988, Randy purchased a Yamaha 6310 lacquered step bore trumpet. He could never play that horn efficiently so he sold that and bought a Martin Committee large bore .465 lacquered trumpet in 1991 and sold that in 1995. In 1995, Randy purchased his 1st Hollywood Calicchio Ultra .460 bore 3/9 gold plated and played it until 2004.
Randy met Steve Bell, Jr. in 2000 at a public school early in Steve’s career. They found that they had a lot of common interests such as trumpet, Harley Davidson, foxbody Mustang’s and many other things. They continued to cross paths occasionally throughout the years and reconnected as life long friends in 2019.
In 2004, Randy was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma (benign brain tumor) that had to be removed. He elected to have the surgery which (resulted in complete hearing loss in his left ear) has caused him to be single sided deaf. It took almost a year for Randy to rehabilitate his embouchure to allow him to play the trumpet successfully again. Everyday is still a challenge. This was particularly difficult because there was/is nerve damage in the left side of his face that prevented the left corner of his mouth from sealing. Use of the “facial flex” apparatus and the “P.E.T.E” by Warburton were particularly helpful for rehabilitation.
Frustrated with the delay of rehabilitation and the amount of unwanted resistance in the blow, Randy sold his Ultra (the one he regrets letting go) and bought a Zeus Olympus copper .470 bore lacquered trumpet. Never meshed with it and sold it. In 2007, he bought a Tulsa Calicchio (standard weight) .468 gold plated 3/9 “Freddie Hubbard” model, which is still in his arsenal today. Wanting a darker sound, Randy decided to search for a copper horn but never obtained one that he loved…UNTIL NOW!!
In 2019, Randy and Steve had a long conversation about trumpets and Steve said he could build him a trumpet of the specs that he wanted. Randy took Steve up on that and couldn’t be happier with the 4 step process. Randy had tried a trumpet in 2009 that was made in Germany which was equipped with a 10 to 20deg bend in the bell. He noticed that he found it much easier to hear himself playing with that bend in comparison to a traditional trumpet bell due to being single sided deaf. Randy explained that to Steve and Steve said, “I can do that, no problem, man”. Steve is a man of his word and has done just that! He has created two trumpets and a flugelhorn for Randy that has the right blow, the right flow, the right sound and the right look with a 30deg bend which are all custom fit to his desire!! Jackknife is alive!!!! Randy is forever grateful, thankful and fortunate to have “ Thee Steve Bell, Jr.” as his trumpet builder and friend for life and is overwhelmed with the whole experience. Randy is humbly honored to be a Bell Trumpet Artist and representative. If or when you may ever see him playing live, he will be playing a Custom Bell Trumpet and Flugelhorn.