One of my favorite places to see live music in Minneapolis is The West Bank ... it has been a hot bed for indie and blues music for much longer than I've been around. There was a theater there that closed it's doors just last year... The Bedlam... I still remember the first time I went there... I felt as if I had walked through some sort of magical worm hole into a place that was filled with friends that i had yet to meet. I thought... this is where I belong... I just never knew it... The large eclectic mish mash space was frequently filled with happy dancers... gypsies... musicians... that first night i saw the brass messengers march up to the stage... and drank a 3 dollar glass of red wine out of a mason jar... and danced until i couldn't stand anymore... i have seen hundreds of intimate shows over the past few years and the ones i remember the most have all been in one of 4 places on the west bank... the nomad, the cedar cultural center, the bedlam or the triple rock... some nights all 4. I didn't realize until I started going to this small shows... how amazing an experience seeing live music can be when you can literally reach out and touch the musicians.
Which brings me to John Whaley.... John plays on a Harrelson Summit and I just learned he plays or has played with some of my favorite bands... all of which I have seen perform on the West Bank... the world is so vast and yet so tiny...
John currently resides in Portland... but he has roots in Minnesota. He describes himself as a converted classical player... He attended St. Olaf College (as did Jason Harrelson coincidentally) and played in both the band and orchestra there... John's currently touring with Laura Gibson throughout the US and he will be on the European leg of that tour which starts April 3rd in the Netherlands... you can check show dates/locations here: http://www.lauragibsonmusic.com/?page_id=5
John has also played/recorded with a few of my other favorites... Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Portland Cello Project, The Head & The Heart (all of which I have seen this year)... Nick Jaina, Run on Sentence, Pancake Breakfast, Loch Lomond, Y la Bamba and the list goes on... John gig's about 100+ times per year and he's not just a trumpet player... he also sings, plays keyboards and of course Flugelhorn... John is definitely one to watch... and I am excited to hear news from the road... I am really loving the sound of Laura Gibson and can't wait to see where he finds himself next...
There's an excellent write up of Jason's lecture at the ITG Conference last June that I have been meaning to put up here for quite a while... you can link to it directly here: http://www.trumpetguild.org/2011conference/saturday.pdf
Having the ITG right here in our own back yard at the Hilton Mpls was such a treat... lots of fun Jam sessions at The Dakota... and a few tours of the shop! We aren't going to be able to make it out to the ITG this year... our focus is here at the shop and expanding to other conferences worldwide. We will be back again in 2013 of course! Here are a few of my favorite photos from this year's conference.
I finally had a chance to give Tiger Speak's new album a thorough listen... Harrelson Trumpets Client Jake Baldwin is playing with them and they just released the album a couple of weeks ago... you can get yours here: http://tigerspeakmusic.com/album/tiger-speak the album starts off with a free floating intro that instantly put's you into a groove... budos band-ish groove ... Each track there after builds on the original idea... and I found myself asking aloud to Paul... what does this remind you of? I've pinned it down I believe... there are a lot of hip hop bands coming out of minneapolis on the doom tree label and they regularly do a combined show at first ave called the doom tree blow out... ya... tiger speak would fit right into that event... maybe tucked between dessa and pos... i guess it might sound biased to say the brass lines were my favorite part of the album... but they were... recently i've found myself really loving a local rock band here called chooglin... they are straight ahead rock with trumpets and bones... a really wall of sound ... and there are a few others popping up that marry brass with hip hop or rock... and it adds so much... i also found the vocals on tiger speak reminding me of a tribe called quest... as soon as the album ended i pulled up this track as a matter of fact... to see if i was just imagining it... i think if you squint you can hear tiger speak in this also... tiger speak opening for tribe called quest? i'd go to that show...
friend them on facebook and keep an eye on them yourselves...
everything we do here at harrelson trumpets in the way of design serves a purpose. we start with our heads in engineering... but being a creative group of people it's pretty hard to keep from working that r and d into something beautiful. jason once told me it was his goal to make a completely organic trumpet. something that felt as though it was an extension of the human body... as if the player and the trumpet were one... i don't think he's there yet... but he's still trying...
I like to keep an eye on all of our clients... if I had it my way... I would be able to know what all of them are working on at any given time. I love watching our instruments travel around the globe... I like the photos of them at mardi gras and on stage with Bob Seger... I like the videos from your recitals and your community bands... the recordings you send my way... watching you all play the star spangled banner for the opening baseball game... there's something really romantic about that... I sort of think of our trumpets like a message in a bottle... thrown out in the ocean... i never know when i will get a message back... in the form of a photo, a video or just a letter saying how things are going. that's my favorite thing about my job.
it's also the most rewarding thing about being an artist. i have had the opportunity to deliver in person many of my paintings. i remember one woman in particular that gave me a tour of her house... and had me help her hang them... telling me her dad was going to be so happy to see the images of old las vegas hotels... he grew up in the southwest and was coming to visit her for the first time.
anyway... i enjoy this human connection to what we create here at harrelson trumpets. that's what we're all about. making music... making better music... making memories...
jake baldwin is one of those memories... that is still being made. i remember the first time he came to visit the "shop" ... in our house in waconia... i was making coffee in the kitchen and i thought... oh another kid coming in for a lesson/try out trumpets... and jake wasn't very old then... i can't remember the exact year... but i remember how he played... i stopped what i was doing and just stood there... to listen... after he left... i just looked at jason and said... how old is that kid? wow... just wow...
and we both sorta laughed in amazement :) ... last year at the itg i had the pleasure of watching jake perform in the jazz competition at the dakota....
jake is involved in a couple of projects that he's pretty excited about that i wanted to share with you...
he's playing trumpet with this band TIGER SPEAK... and they just released their CD THIS WEEK!
jake's sending me out the album and i will do a proper review in the coming weeks...
he's also involved with this band.... THE LOVE EXPERIMENT this is the link to their myspace page... they are also on bandcamp
He plays Flugel in this group... and I love their sound... they'll be on tour this summer with stops to include... new york, philly, atlanta, baltimore, new orleans, houston and more to come...
i am a music junkie... and so there is no shortage of inspiration around here... jake is a big source of inspiration and it's great to watch everything he's involved in... keep it coming ... all of you! it's what this business is all about :)
like anyone else... some of my days are more fun at work than others... today i played around and made a new promo video for our $500 deposit sale... fun! here's a link to the promo if you're interested
I love it when these little notes show up in my inbox... here's one i received yesterday...
and on a quick side note... it's sunny and 70 in minneapolis today... yay!
It's Myles Potters here, just checking in to say thanks once again for building a great horn for me. So far so good - feeling very acclimated at this point and it's playing just how I'd want it to. No complaints really. I wanted to share with you the videos of my senior thesis recital that I played about two weeks ago with your horn! It really filled up the entire room more than I could have ever desired. The sound was full and it played beautifully. It wouldn't have been the same experience or recital (or the same reception, I daresay) without you guys. ... just know how thankful I am that you made something that makes my self expression as easy as it was that night.
Here are the videos in the order of performance:
Thanks again, and hope you enjoy!
Myles PottersWesleyan University 2012
I am the PR, Advertising, Marketing, Web and Social mind at Harrelson Trumpets. When I am not at work- I paint: