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I knew it wasn't going to be a good day when I looked out the window of the ...
Roadtrip: Blame it on Denver
I knew it wasn't going to be a good day when I looked out the window of the plane and assumed from the solid white I could see that I was still circling high above Denver (the mile-high city was to be the stopping point before the plane would take off again for Portland). We had been circling for a bit as there was significant snow falling in the area. Then I felt the familiar bump that told me the story: we had landed.
Everyone on the aircraft was surprised to learn they were on the ground except, perhaps, for the pilot. I'm assuming his surprise wasn't as profound as mine.
It wasn't long before we realized that there wasn't a snowball's chance in Quito that we were going to be getting out of there on time... or ever again.
After wondering what kind of job I could get in Denver that would have decent retirement benefits, I asked the gate attendant if the planes would be up in the air in time to get me to Portland before midnight.
Suddenly, I was Tom Hanks in the movie "Terminal" surrounded by people with all sorts of questions regarding their immediate futures. After many calls to Dave in Portland and brief consults with the gate staff I figured out that I could get on a flight to Seattle, then hop aboard another flight to Portland that would get me in at 10:45. So, at best, the trip that was supposed to be me showing up on Sunday morning, having a whole day and a half to hang out, be comfortable, tweak horns, eat Indian food, and have a blast had been turned into the rushing around fest of epic proportions.
I got on the plane at the appointed time just as the snow was starting to buld up strength again and we waited a full hour and a half before we were able to take off as we waited for standbys and the plane to be de-iced. I got to Seattle a full ten minutes after my connecting flight had already taken off.
I asked when the next flight out of Seattle to Portland was.
"There is none, sir."
"There is none, sir?"
"There is none, sir."
I was ready to cry when she mentioned that Horizon had a flight in another gate that was just about ready to leave.
I turned into the little brown tornado and hauled buttocks to the gate in another concourse only to have the attentdant say I wasn't in the system. Another attendant was called to the case and I was found. Never mind that I was standing there the whole time.
I got on to that flight and arrived to PDX at 11:30pm. Dave was waiting and we went to the shop to have some boxed Yellow Dahl, Mutter Paneer, Malai Kofta, and white Jasmine rice. Food never taste so good.
Before we chowed down Dave showed me the Prana 3 he's been working on. Don't ask me what happened to Prana 2. It's sort of like the "where's the Bach 4C " question.
Anyway, he handed me this horn that looks very unassuming except that it has the usually prototype horn solder marks all over it. I played and what came out was so ... well, creamy is the only way to describe it. That's how I've always felt about his horns. From the mouthpiece side there's always this richness to the sound that is smooth to play and on the other side it just expands until it fills the room. You blow and there's no edge, just more and more volume. It used to be that you'd get that size sound on the heavier weight horns but now this Prana thing is just outrageous in its efficiency. I'm trying to keep this from sounding like an ad. I don't mean it to. But it really was quite beautiful.
I also played a Prana 3 Bb which was as buttery as the C. I mean, think of it this way: I spent all day in and out of airports and the bloody horns made me sound like I'd just warmed up for an hour at midnight that night. All they demand is efficient body use and that can be a precious commodity. Some folks dismiss it and can't believe how it could make that big a difference but what can I say? It does.
We got some food and got a couple of rooms at the Embassy Suites nearby so we could have at it again the next day, bright and early. I slept like a baby.
The next morning we got some chow and headed back over at 9. The staff was all there. Gretchen Willoughby was the first to greet me. She's the receptionist with nice voice that you first speak to when you call over there Her husband, Dean, is one of the technicians along with Dan, a new gentleman named John Kim who runs the mouthpiece lathe, Jeff Snyder who does final assembly, and then someone many of you know because he's the finishing mouthpiece guy, Dean Calmly. I butchered the spelling on his last name, I think. Tom Rainey keeps things going in the office, don't ask me how. It is the place of Last Minute Flurries whenever I go there, it seems, and how they get the things done always in time to help me out I'll never know.
So, it finally came time to warm up a little after saying "Hi" to everyone. I blew a while on that nice Bb and then grabbed the Prana 3 C to make video clips. I tried to think of a bunch that would give folks a good idea of the qualities of the horn and hoped I accomplished that. Then Dave came up with a great idea and laid out 5 different models and asked me to play an excerpt on each horn from lightest to heaviest. That was fun! It was like watching the last twenty years go by in a flash. We got it on tape but we'll have to see if we use it. I played a TON of stuff of which we might use 5 minutes worth. That's show business!
I got a nice surprise when the door opened and Dave Bamonte of the Portland Symphony with his case and an excerpt book. Then I grabbed the Prana 1 model which you know from the older video clips and we started to play all kinds of duet excerpts. It's been a while since he and I have played together but we always seem to pick up right from where we left off like old friends do. The resultant tones were ringing up and down that shop with his Raja and that Prana 1. It was borderline painful if you were too close when we hit a third or sixth.
Anyway, it soon became time to go and we took a few pictures. I hope much of this stuff hits the website so that you can catch a little of the feel of this trip.
Visiting that shop is always a changing experience and this was no exception. I came out of it feeling like a million bucks and I know it'll last for quite a while.
Re: Roadtrip: Blame it on Denver
What an ordeal! Looking forward to hear the rest, and especially about any new horns you may have tried.
Originally Posted by Manny Laureano
You mentioned "shop" instead of restaurant, so are we to assume that Mr. Monette threw together an improvised Indian meal for you at his home rather than the restaurant meal you guys were planning?
As one Indian food aficionado to another, please permit me to translate your menu for the uninitiated:
Yellow Dahl = yellow split peas cooked to a consistency somewhere between pea soup and pea stew
Mutter Paneer = green peas with cubes of homemade Indian farmer cheese
Malai Kofta = vegetarian Indian meatballs in a tangy cream sauce
White Jasmine Rice = self explanatory, but didn't Dave have any Basmati on hand? That would have made it more authentically Indian, though Jasmine is also used in parts of India
Manny - was the Mutter Paneer and Malai Kofta cooked from scratch or did Mr. Monette have these frozen on hand?
Take note all you meat & potato addicts - if you occasionally eat like Laureano, perhaps you will occasionally play like Laureano! (the operative word being occasionally)
If I occasionally ate like Laureano, I would probably LOOK like Laureano (at least in terms of physique, anyway), instead of like a one of those SNL Ditka fanatics sitting around the table chest-pounding their most recent heart attack away....
There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who do not.
It was Basmati, of course! Dave makes Indian stuff fantastically well but that night he ordered out and brought it to the shop. Oh, hey... I left out the onion culcha! Yum!
It's been a long couple of days... I'm at rehearsal so it it'll be tonight before I get to write about the trip... mmm... maybe this afternoon. We're playing Sibelius' Nightride and Sunrise and Nielsen's 6th.
The Sibelius is the predictable big swelling chordal writing he does so well at the end. I don't know the Nielsen... yet! Dan Haswell tweaked my C trumpet after having done some work on. All I can say is the guy is an absolute genius. Dan is one of the assembly guys at the shop and is relentlessly careful about the quality of his work, G-d bless 'im.
Oh-oh, I hear a cue.
yeah....stinks for you. heard Colorado got blasted with snow. also, i wasn't aware they had indian food in seattle. or indian people for that matter.
find any new toys?
What exactly is in a "vegetarian meatball'?
So do you play a Prana 3 or a Prana !?
What are the changes?
I wish I knew you were going, I would have bought a ticket to sit in the corner and listen.
Presently, I'm playing the STC Prana and hoping to go later to the Prana 1 or 3.
Do you have any clue what the difference is between the Prana you play now and the Prana 1 and 3? What does he do that is so amazing and what does prana 1 or 3 stand for?
What is the horn you played on in the video clip??
Essentially it's the shape and depth that changes.
The lighter horns with the right mouthpiece have splendid intonation and ease of play if you're used to non-heavy conventional horns. The heavier they get, the richer the sound gets and the resultant tones that occur when you play with someone else become more present.
Dave likes these Indian and Sanskrit terms that synthesize a quality he's built into the horns. Prana, I believe means "energy of life". I'm probably wrong... check the website. The number designations just have to do with where they lie in the development of the horns. Don't know why there isn't a Prana 2.
The clip that's up there right now is the Prana 1. I love that horn. There are some pretty wild clips coming on the Prana 3... stay tuned!
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