Master your instrument...
How long have you been playing the trumpet?
As far as I remember I started trumpet age 6 or 7. I was fortunate enough to come from a very musical family. My great uncle played with quite a few big names throughout his career and was pretty successful on both Sax & Trumpet. My Grandfather, great-great uncle were all musicians!
How did you get started in music?
In the UK (as I’m sure is similar in the US) we have testing within primary/elementary school to test which children are ‘musical’ and thus should be given an instrument and tuition. Although coming from a music family and having already been playing piano I was told I wasn’t musical and shouldn’t get an instrument. It took my mother complaining to the school for me to be finally given an instrument. Years later, I can’t recall any of my classmates also devoting their lives to become full-time musicians!
Who are some of your musical influences and why?
I’m always stomped when I’m asked about my influences. Of course all the expected trumpet influences apply, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove… In terms of style I would owe a lot to Arturo who has always been a huge inspiration on my music! With this said, and as cliché as it may sound, I try not to let myself get too influenced by the style and personal attributions of others. Although I accept their value I’m opposed to the concept of working extensively from transcriptions. Aside from my instrumental influences I appreciate all kinds of music with the exception of Country. I’ve played with genres from Opera to Thrash Metal and I would like to say that it has all influenced me one way or another!
Tell me about your current gigs. Which is your favorite and why?
Currently I’m fortunate enough to have a good list of weekly residencies that cover multiple styles. Thursday I work with a DJ focusing on Jazz & Funk remixes and tracks. Friday is more focused on Nu-Disco with some slower grooved lounge-house. Saturday changes often but can range from a Jazz Quartet to current progressive House & Dance music! Sunday has two residencies; The Rick Swann Trio Live @ The Albany, Belfast alongside two of my favourite musicians in Northern Ireland. Sunday evening is another show alongside a DJ and percussionist. It is pretty progressive and a long blow, (from 9pm-2am) but it’s A LOT of fun!
In terms of a favorite I really couldn’t answer that! I’m often asked which DJ I prefer to work with, or which line-up in a Jazz setting I prefer. Again, as cliché as it may sound I enjoy working with all of them, each DJ and musician has their own unique approach to what they do and how they do it! This means that I’m constantly being pushed to work with tracks I’ve never played/heard and growing in terms of musical empathy. It would be easier to have favourite tracks yet that is constantly changing as I’m performing new tracks, most of which I’ve never heard, without charts on a nightly basis!
Is music your day job?
Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to give my life to music!
How long have you been doing music full time?
My first (paid) performance with a line-up of full-tme musicians was at age 12 featuring alongside John Scott Trotter, a trombonist who having work extensively with my great-uncle had taken me ‘under his wing’ and taken me through my earliest exposure to Jazz.
Tell me about your recording project. Where do you want your music to take you in the coming years. If you could play anywhere... with anyone... who and where would that be.
I have been in the studio numerous times in recent years working on a debut album. Each of which I have scrapped! Having such high personal standards can be both a blessing and a curse. Much of the recorded tracks have been unofficially released for free yet as I still haven’t found the ‘depth of sound’ I feel inside I refuse to officially release the album until I feel enough ‘power’ in the tracks. I am now working with a new producer and will again shortly be in the studio for what I expect will be THE take! I have also lined up some phenomenal collaborations for the Album however these will be announced in due course!
Musical highlight of your year?
I’ve worked with some amazing individuals within the last year each in very different settings! In fact this time last year I was planning to move to Barcelona! Whilst working on my last cruise ship gig I started working on a list of all the Jazz festivals in Europe! Whilst Ireland was in single figures, France and Spain both hovered around the 300 marker! I wasn’t working too much and was going to take the plunge into the Spanish scene! Everything was organized with the exception of flights when I got a call that changed everything! Within a month I had a minimum of 5 shows per week! That has freed me up to work on many other projects and focus on which direction I want to go! That in itself would be the ‘highlight’ that helped facilitate all others!
What is bebopwithbeats?
Bebopwithbeats is the banner under which a lot of the production I do with many DJ’s is labeled. Soon after my introduction to club playing I found that their was a high demand and interest in Jazz fused with House. With this understanding I have collaborated on recordings with certain DJ’s and started implementing ‘bebopesque’ heads and chord changes alongside the music creating a dynamic fusion and keeping the music of Bird, Diz & Coltrane very much alive and progressive!
What should we watch for with you?
Aside from the Album and a bebopwithbeats EP on the way I am currently organizing some very exciting Orchestral dates, international appearances and collaboration with some great current names in Jazz!
You post a ton of amazing photos online... who's your photographer!
I’m lucky enough to get some great coverage from photographers! In fact I find myself at the end of many photographers lenses on a weekly basis! Some names include: Joshua McMichael, Lewis McClay, Youcef Boubetnikh & Conor Curran. Photo shoots are always fun and a great avenue of creativity and I’m looking forward to getting more organized in the near future!
If your trumpet were an animal... which animal would it be?
Swan?! No but seriously, it would have to be a lioness! Harrelson trumpets have always looked great. Easy to play at speed and in the upper register with great efficiently. Powerful yet can be ‘cute’ and ‘smooth’ when needed.
Since music is your job... do you feel like you need a lot of silence when you're at home... or in the car... or... more importantly... What's in your cd player right now.
You are right! Silence is a beautiful thing and I often find myself driving home for 2 hours after a gig in complete silence! It’s within silence than one can explore the inner realms in which the most creative and soulful music is birthed However I go from one extreme to another! When I am listening I love to crank up the music whether it’s Michel Camillo Brahms, Hans Zimmer, Amy Winehouse, And So I Watch You From Afar, Arturo Sandoval or Pavarotti! The album I’ve been soaking up for the past few days however is ‘Earfood’, The Roy Hargrove Quintet!
On a personal note... I will be traveling to Europe this summer and have a chance to meet with a few Harrelson Clients... Rick is one of the those I will have the pleasure of meeting up with. I am very excited to see him live.
For more information on Rick Swann and his music... check out his website: http://www.rickswann.co.uk/
Last night many of our favorite trumpet players from around the twin cities came out for a very special night of music. Jazz Central Studios in Minneapolis partnered with us for the first ever Harrelson DUETS... a night of Trumpet Music featuring Harrelson Clients. I love Jazz Central for the cozy vibe... it feels like you're hanging out in your friends basement...
Mark Bobnick, Leighton Tuenge, Greg Zent, Toddd Tanji and Harrelson Trumpets very own Christine Palmer and Jason Harrelson... took turns teaming up on some truly awesome duets! I always look forward to hearing Mark Bobnick's awesome solos... and Todd Tanji's original tunes. But perhaps my favorite this time around was seeing Christine Palmer's performance... I have worked with her for over a year... and we sit across from each other for 8 hours a day... but this was the first time I saw her play live... She's awesome! Everyone did a great job... and, as Jason mentioned at the very end of the gig... none of them had practiced playing the duets together ahead of time... it was impromptu and fun!
We recorded a fair number of videos from last night too... I've posted a couple of those here but you can find more on our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/harrelsontrumpets/videos?view=0&shelf_id=1&sort=dd
We look forward to more events like this in the near future at Jazz Central... So stay tuned if you'd like to attend. And be sure to check out their website for their full calender... they have a lot of great music going through on a regular basis... http://jazzcentralstudios.org/
I have a few more T-Shirts left from the event... if you'd like one please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again to everyone that participated... both on and off the stage.
I just wanted take a moment to talk about a little known spot on our website... as you may or may not know... we offer a very healthy trade in option on our new instrument builds. Meaning... we will give you top dollar for your old Bach, Yamaha, Monette, Olds... even Harrelson... I personally love it when we get one of our older models in... as a trade toward a newer Harrelson Trumpet. We've made so many advancements in technology over the last 5 years... I could see wanting to upgrade... although I often times meet people... like the fella that came out for the Detroit Lectures with his Bravura... that swear they will never part with their older Harrelson Horn...
Anyway... right now we have quite a variety of instruments in our trades section on our website here: http://www.harrelsontrumpets.com/category_s/105.htm
My personal favorite of which is a Harrelson Bravura C w/ cool sculpted accents and trim... I've put a few photos of it up here... I think you'll agree it's a gem... There were very few made with all this sculpting... In fact... I don't think there is another C out there with this sculpting... it's gorgeous. Even the brass has that patina that only comes with time. Very nice...
We also have a Bach 37 in Silver and a Getzen 3050 in stock right now... as well as Jason's personal Summit Midnight horn... This section of our website is ever changing... we used to sell a lot of this stock on Ebay... but we're trying to start getting away from that and build more of a used trumpet shop here online on our website... we add new stock just about every week or so... We have a new one coming in next week... so check back often if you're on the market for a used horn... and here's a little inside information... we ALWAYS list our Harrelson Trumpets for LESS on our website than we do on Ebay... if we list them on both... so it's really best to buy them directly through us.... call 651-330-7774 or email us @ email@example.com for more information on our trade in program or any of our used instruments.
Last weekend Jason and I spent a few days in Detroit. We were greeted with a blizzard... turned ice storm. But that was the only part of the trip that wasn't warm and welcoming. Gary Greenfelder organized an event featuring The Gary Greenfelder Orchestra and Jason Harrelson with solos by amazing Harrelson Trumpets artists... Gary Greenfelder, Otto Alcon, Jimmy Smith, Mark Byerly, Ryan Dolan and friends! It was a truly awesome night! The energy of real big band filled the room... and as I commented to Gary... it really was more like a theater than a bar... as people sat attentively watching each and every song. The only sour note of the night? No one asked me to dance :)
Friday found us making our way to Ypsilanti High School where Jason lectured on "Deconstructing the Trumpet" ... this is a portion of that lecture for those that have requested it. This was a science heavy hour but everyone in attendance ate up all of the physics behind Harrelson Trumpets. Thanks to everyone that made it out on a cold and blustery Friday afternoon.
Friday Night ... Gary showed us a fun night on the town ... we had front row seats at The Dirty Dog Jazz Club... to see Detroit Trumpet Legend Johnny Trudell... it was a cool little club... great food... I had a little crush on the Bass Player in the band... (he's in his 80s I think)... and Walter White sat in for a few songs! What a treat!!!
Onward to Saturday!
2 more lectures at The Detroit Wayne Music Studio. A cool little Detroit secret. Lots of awesome high end Saxophones and a cool music library! Everyone that came out for the lectures had a great time and lots of questions. Thanks again to The Detroit Wayne Music Studio for hosting us! And for the delicious lunch at the Italian place next door. Thanks also to Mark Byerly for coming down to speak as well. It is always so much fun to see the players out there take a real sincere interest in what we're doing here every day. After all... you're the reason we do what we do. I love making friends around the country... through music. It's nice to think of them while I am sitting here in the office... and know they're out there playing and practicing with something we've put all of our time and energy into. What a great job! One of our clients that lives in Toledo drove all the way out just to meet us in person. He walked up to me and said... Jen... are you "the Jen"... ha... I said, yes... that would be me... he said Hi... I'm John... I've talked to you on the phone... he brought his Bravura... which I had fun checking out. It's so cool to see older models come back to us. We literally usually only have an instrument in the shop for a day or less after it's completed... so you can imagine... it's kinda nice to see them down the road. Again... what a cool job! Ok... I will leave you with the last photos from the weekend... I have another event to finish planning for this weekend... and arrangements to make for our trip to The National Trumpet Competition in just a couple short weeks. Thanks again Gary Greenfelder and everyone in Detroit for making our trip such a joy... and thanks to all of you out there... that love music... it's what makes me smile when I come in to work in the morning.
And, as per usual... my personal artistic shots from the trip:
Thanks Detroit. I can't wait to come back.
I am the PR, Advertising, Marketing, Web and Social mind at Harrelson Trumpets. When I am not at work- I paint: