Not officially a Nouveau trumpet, more of a hybrid, I'm close to finishing my third New Orleans trumpet. I've re-designed the valve casing bracing on the Nouveau to be more defined and striking in appearance while tightening up tolerances over previous designs. The new design is in two halves much like the Bravura system to allow for variable tuning slide and bell crook spans. Machining these braces is difficult due to the complexity of the parts and the fact that they are radiused on one edge after both sides have been cut. Finishing work is done by hand and requires a full day just to smooth out machining marks. In the end, it's all worth it and I personally can't wait to have this horn assembled in my hands to test!
A little background on the Nouveau design... I built the first Nouveau as an exercise while learning new software and machinery maybe 5 or 6 years ago. I didn't think the braces would actually be built into a complete trumpet as, at the time, I thought my machining skills to be questionable. A few weeks later, the first Nouveau was built despite numerous machining obstacles. I followed up with a second Nouveau trumpet designed with a special aviation theme for LR-60 and finally came to understand I could machine a level of complexity far beyond my expectations.
Cindy Bradley plays a custom Nouveau designed with unique bell and tuning slide crook braces to set her horn apart from the others. Her name and a graphic of Artemis is milled into the leadpipe and for Christmas 2009 she added a second set of pink paua finger button and bottom cap inlays which visually transforms the horn...and it matches her dresses.
This latest Nouveau design is actually a Summit hybrid so it will be considerably lighter, darker and very broad similar to the Summit Cindy recorded on her latest album yet to be released. The New Orleans theme is one that I thoroughly enjoy. I was after all born in Louisiana...go Saints! Previous New Orleans designs include Shamarr Allen's horn boasting a Fleur de Lis and his initials as bracing and the Hurricane Katrina trumpet I donated to Jazz at Lincoln Center's relief effort just weeks after the disaster. This trumpet was a donation aimed at raising relief funds quickly so it was not very well advertised and is relatively unknown. However, the custom work on this horn was a ton of work and in the end I was very proud to have built and designed something so special to me personally.
I have plans for several more N.O. horns and one specifically themed with the quotes (musical and literary), images and symbols of many of the great trumpet players who called the birthplace of jazz home. On that topic, I'm also working on early N.O. jazz transcriptions for a show complete with vocals. Does anyone have tips on sounding like Louis without smoking a cigar or trashing my voice?