After jazz trumpeter and Ellington band member Ravi Best started using his new “Tall Valve Section - Wide Radius” MF PRANA in the band several months ago, the rest of the trumpet section decided to come by the shop to see what new equipment might work for them. We ended up having a GREAT hang with Ravi, Chris Albert and Kevin Bryan who came down to Portland for a quick visit while playing the week at Seattle’s Jazz Alley. Soon after getting their mouthpieces, the band leader and trumpet player Barry Lee Hall made a trip to Portland to see if he could also find a model of mouthpiece that would suit his needs!
Chris had already been on Monette mouthpieces, but had never really found the one perfect size to cover the range of sounds and styles that he needs to play. After a couple notes on a new, custom PRANA B2 SLAP 4, he had found his mouthpiece! Chris sounded much more powerful than on his previous PRANA B4S 81, and had an even easier upper register. Two very good things. This new mouthpiece Chris has is one of a series of new “SLAP 4” cup mouthpieces we have been developing. On Chris’ piece, the cup VOLUME is larger than a standard B2, but the cup DEPTH is more shallow by eleven thousandths of an inch - which makes the depth feel more like the B4S he was used to but with a much larger, “zingier” sound.
Chris liked the mouthpiece and the horns he played on his visit enough that he ordered a horn on the spot - a custom new design variation on our P3 PRANA Bb that Dave dictated to our office on the sopt after hearing Chris play. This will be VERY fun to hear the Ellington band with both Ravi and Chris playing large Monette PRANA instruments!
The lead player with the band, Kevin Bryan, is simply amazing to listen to on any equipment! Kevin played effortlessly to well over double C on any one of a variety of Monette mouthpieces he tried during the visit. He left with a PRANA “BL” model which he finished the tour on - but Dave Monette also drew up some special custom models in the computer for him after he left which subsequently Kevin has found even more to his liking than the mouthpiece he left the shop with! All three of these guys sounded fantastic - and were an absolute joy to work with!
A few months after Chris, Kevin and Ravi’s visit, legendary trumpeter and Ellington band leader Barry Lee Hall came by with his friend James Williams III, also from Houston. We hooked up Barry and James with new "SLAP" mouthpieces. Again, both sounded great and were just a joy to work with! We are excited to have the entire Ellington trumpet section playing our mouthpieces!