Prelude to Brass Playing was written by Edward Gibney !

David Hickman revealed the following (on Trumpet Herald, 
Fri Jul 23, 2004):

Mendez didn't actually write it!!

Turns out that Mendez signed a contract with Carl Fischer to publish many of his solos with piano reductions. The contract also included him recording Arban's single tongue exercises and to write a technique textbook. After years of never being able to find the time to write the book, he was being somewhat pestered by CF.

Mendez was performing a concert or two in Canada and met a man who was a local trumpet teacher. This fellow (I think I should keep his name anonymous) went to his concerts and asked Mendez if he could take him to lunch and then give him a ride to the airport. Mendez agreed.

The man presented Mendez with a copy of a book he had written (same title, too!) and hoped that he would someday read it. Evidently, the man had tried to get it published but no publishers were interested because the man was totally unknown outside of his area.

Mendez read it on the plane and felt that it was very good and quite similar to his own ideas about playing. Mendez called him and said "You have written my book!" Mendez asked permission to publish it and told the man that both of their names would appear on the cover. (Mendez DID edit the book a little.) He agreed to give the man half of the royalties from sales. The guy agreed and was very flattered. No contract between the man and Mendez was ever signed.

Carl Fischer published it only with Mendez' name. All Rafael could do was apoligize to the man. Mendez did pay the man some royalties, however.

Anyway, about five years ago this man sent a very long letter to me (it must have been 6 pages) explaining all of this and he included a few brief notes from Mendez that came with royalty checks. I am convinced his story is true.

Please don't let this influence your feelings about the book. It is still a fine text for beginners and I am glad that it will be available again.

Then he followed up with this info (
Sun Jul 25, 2004 ):

Well, I have made some progress on the PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING book.

I dug out the correspondence from 1996 with a man named Edward Gibney (Vancouver, BC), read all of it again, and gave him a call. He is alive and doing well. He remembered our letters.

He claims that the reason the book went out of print is because he and Mendez were very disappointed in the sales back in the 1960s and '70s. No promotion. Plain cover. No illustrations. Etc. After sales dropped significantly by the late '70s, Gibney wanted to buy the rights to the book back from Carl Fischer. They said, "Fine, but only if Mendez agrees."

Mendez signed an agreement in 1979 approving of the deal. CF finally signed a transfer contract with Gibney in 1981. (This is all according to Gibney, mind you.)

Gibney also purchased the remaining inventory of books....about 200.....which he quickly sold to libraries in Canada. His plan was to publish the book himself (he had started a small music publishing company called Gibney Music Publications, Inc.) and include numerous photos of Mendez, a list of his recordings, illustrations, etc. However, he ran out of money.

When my wife wrote the biography on Mendez (published by Summit Records), Gibney purchased a copy and then contacted me about reissuing his Prelude book. Summit (I was president) declined because we then felt that CF might had diluted the market potential.

I don't know what more any of us can do right now. I do not know if Mr. Gibney actually has full ownership of the book or not. They will have to sort that out. I know that Gibney will speak to CF about acknowledgement of his part in the writing of the book.

Then finally an update (on Mon Aug 02, 2004):

PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING........latest update.

I received an email today from Ed Gibney. He was very happy that Carl Fischer is wanting to work out a licensing deal with him. It's all good!

Dave Hickman

Bill Bridges sent this post to TPIN (7/29/2004):

As a long-time Mendez fan myself, I recently had the good fortune to locate a copy of PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING in a used book store, but have not commented on it in this forum.

It is an old library book, from the Coquitlam Public Library in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and has a dust jacket in excellent condition.

The dust jacket cover reads:


By Rafael Mendez in collaboration with Edward Gibney

The inside of the dust jacket reads:

"PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING is the result of the authors' wide experience in the field. The book provides a solid foundation for such facets of musicianship as breathing, embouchure, reading, and many others. The tendency of too many beginners to rush into playing of 'tunes' often results in bad habits which not only interfere with progress, but are difficult to unlearn. Here is the safe, sure road to playing a brass instrument.

While a must for both extremes of the musical ladder -- the outright beginner and the experienced teacher -- it is also an invaluable reference for the brass player at any level.

As all rights to this publication have been assigned to Gibney Music Publications, Inc., it is timely to recognize Edward Gibney's contribution to this text and his lengthy association with Rafael Mendez."

The back inside cover of the dust jacket reads:

"RAFAEL MENDEZ is generally considered to be the greatest trumpet virtuoso of this era. His fabulous career started when -- hardly more than a toddler -- he played for Pancho Villa. Since then he has been acclaimed here and abroad and has become famous in all musical media.

EDWARD GIBNEY is acknowledged as a distinguished brass educator, clinician, and coach by his many students and colleagues. His teaching expertise and writing style qualifies (sic) him to this unique team to co-author PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING.

The authors have drawn not only on their own extensive knowledge of teaching ideas and methods of approach, but also upon a long and stimulating exchange of ideas with their many colleagues.

Thousands of students have benefited from the teaching skills of these two brass experts; many more will profit from PRELUDE TO BRASS PLAYING."

So, this seems to certainly reinforce David Hickman's information.

I'm sure we can all sympathize with Mr. Gibney's situation of doing literally all the work on the book and receiving no public credit ... although he was, at least, compensated with royalties. It's good to see him finally receive the recognition he is due.

Best regards,

Bill Bridges

Thanks to David Hickman and Bill Bridges for allowing me to use this information!