Arnie Chycoski (trumpet) was born May 7, 1936 in New Westminister, British Columbia. Called by celebrated band-leader Rob McConnell, “One of the top three lead trumpet players on the planet”. Arnie passed away Sept. 10, 2008 near Olympia Washington.
In the 1950’s Arnie was appearing at a jazz club in Victoria called The Scene. At that time Arnie was an ambitious young trumpet player who was much more interested in improvising than being a lead trumpet player. He idolized Clifford Brown. Soon after that Arnie made his way to Westlake College of Music in California.
In the mid 1960’s, Arnie had begun to establish himself as a first class lead trumpet player, most notably with the Sy Zentner Band, in which he spent five years on the road. The Zentner band had a huge hit in the early 60’s called “Up a Lazy River” and it even made it to #1 on the hit parade. Arnie’s “kiss”(release) on the final high note of that recording is legendary!
Arnie at this stage in his career, was coming into his own. As Ian McDougall states, ” Arnie was not from the so-called hot-dog school of big band lead trumpet playing. He cared about a beautiful sound and the time-feel more than anything else. Arnie was a lead trumpet purist. He modeled his style after a New York City’s #1 trumpet call, Bernie Glow.
Arnie eventually ended up in Toronto in the late 1960’s and became a member of Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass since its inception in 1968. Arnie was huge on wood-shedding. He was religious in doing his warmup, regardless if he had a late night gig and then arrived home to find he has a jingle at 8:30 in the morning.
Among Arnie’s credits, member of the Ian Mcdougall Dectet, played with Oscar Peterson, Mel Torme, Paul Hoffert, Lighthouse, Russ Little and Freddy Stone. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, he was a session musician and recorded many jingles, themes and shows, including the Hockey Night in Canada theme, as well as the theme for SCTV. He toured with Anne Murray and Tom Jones and had the opportunity to sub into a Duke Ellington Orchestra recording session in Toronto in 1972.
Rob McConnell had written an arrangement of “Street of Dreams” and on the final chorus of the theme, Rob wrote a magical hidden modulation and Arnie took his lead part up the octave. Ian McDougall states,” It is among the most thrilling things I have ever heard. Every time I hear it, the hair on my arms stands on end”. Rob discouraged subsequent lead players to do this.
Gabriel must have looked down from heaven on many an occasion and said, “I wish I could play and sound like that!”
Arnie passed away on September 10, 2008 near Olympia Washington.
(Thanks to Ian McDougall for this article on Arnie)