Whether constructing them at Monette Trumpets for international artists or playing his trumpet for Mardi Gras celebrations and jazz funerals with the BrassRoots Movement, Logan Brown knows brass, and trumpets are his world. KMHD Jazz Radio’s Deborah DeMoss Smith talked with Brown about his affinity for the instrument.
Deborah DeMoss Smith: Why play in a brass band?
Logan Brown: I used to play in a pick-up brass band in high school. The same instrumentation, the same kind of style, doing traditional, more traditional gospel, New Orleans street music kind of thing, and I liked it a lot. That was the first introduction to jazz I had. I’d been learning classical music. A friend of mine, who’s a trombone player, needed a trumpet player — no sheet music, everything by ear — which intrigued me because I’d never played anything by ear. Loved it, ended up doing it through college. When I moved out here, I decided to get together two trumpets, tenor sax, base drum and sousaphone.
DDS: You come upon four New Orleans trumpeters: Kermit Ruffins, Leroy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard – which one would you choose to talk to?
LB: I would talk to Terence. I’ve talked with Wynton a few times and he’s an incredible person, but I’ve never had the chance to talk with Terence. I really like his playing and his ideas. I would just like to hear what he had to say. I work for a company (Monette Trumpets) that builds Wynton’s trumpets so I have actually built the instruments that he plays, which is great because I feel like I have a connection with him, his music already. Terence as well; I’ve built his most recent trumpet, but I’ve never had a chance to speak with him about this. I’d really like that.
DDS: What do you do at Monette Trumpets?
LB: I do the final-finish steps. I take a new trumpet that isn’t mechanically working — doesn’t have pistons, slides don’t work — and precision finish all that. I finish-look all of it and make sure everything is good as you’d want before it goes out to the customer.
DDS: Other than the trumpet, what instrument do you appreciate the most?
LB: I have a great appreciation for the cello. I always thought that if I’d started in an orchestra, rather than band in middle school, I probably would have picked the cello instead of the trumpet. I really like the sound, the register, how it vibrates, resonates. It’s just big and full.
DDS: With traditional New Orleans music, there’s second lining [those who follow the band walking, dancing, etc.] – do people here second line behind the BrassRoots Movement?
LB: The thing about this music and why it draws me into it is playing and engaging other people and the surroundings. It’s hard to get the same feel and energy without others there feeding off of you. They’re dancing, they’re walking and they’re shouting. It’s so opposite to a concert where everybody’s quiet and listening to you. This give and take — the listeners giving to the musicians and musician giving it back times 10 — that’s what it’s all about.