Mark Curry

Lead & Jazz Trumpet
Mark Curry Precision Mouthpieces
Reno NV

Flip, here’s a testimonial for you!

Finally, someone designed a trumpet that has everything I have been looking for! The Wild Thing is easy blowing, with just the right amount of resistance, and a wonderful sound!

You called me about a month ago about making your mouthpiece line and sent me a WT for research purposes. I had been listening to a demo that I had recently recorded with the Reno Jazz Orchestra. I liked the sound of my Schilke X3 beryllium (X4 leadpipe) on top of the band playing lead, but when I got tight on the mike for solos the sound got thin. I was really depressed at the sound quality of my solos.

What was I going to do? With only 3 weeks left until the our first CD, I had to do something fast! Two days later the Wild Thing arrived. At first, I was taken aback by the easy response of this horn but really liked the sound. How could something that played this open still have that rich, live quality of sound I’d been looking for? You claimed it was mainly due to the “dead bell” design and the brace positioning, as well as some other design tricks.

When I played the WT into a corner and felt the sound come back at me I new I had to give this horn a chance. First Reactions, I was amazed at the sound but starting to notice some difficulty with pitch. This is a natural reaction when the player, armed with the knowledge that this is a super-large bore (.470″) horn, overcompensates, both with overblowing and using too much embouchure to try to control the horn. In reality, the Wild Thing trumpet requires that you use only a little more air, and you can relax your chops for the horn to really respond!

One Week Later- Having switched to the #2 Slide a few days earlier I am much more comfortable with the horn, My playing is definitely more centered than it was a few days ago. I’m working mainly on pitch center with a tuner and find that my tuning slide is about 3/8″ out. I came in about 3/8″ from the first couple of days. I’m also concentrating on relaxing my chops and single-tonguing a lot of scales! The great thing about this horn is that it’s response is so even in all registers. Most other horns have their tight registers, but the WT is so even everywhere! I’m finding that I have to unlearn some phobias I picked up playing other horns- this horn is so responsive! And the resistance curve in all registers is so even it’s ridiculous!

Three Weeks Later, just getting better! Four days of rehearsals for the session and the horn sounds great. I had made one minor change to my mouthpiece in the second cup. I made the second cup shoulder a little bit more pronounced, then shot it right down into the drill hole. This change gave me a little crisper sound and the added reflection gave me a lot more control! This is similar to what I did on your lead mouthpiece. It will be in all the Flip Oakes Wild Thing Trumpet mouthpieces.

The Session:

We spent the money to have Rich Breen fly up from L.A. to engineer the session. Also, trumpeter extraordinaire George Graham and wife Marilyn (both former Reno musicians) came up to sit in the booth and lend their talented ears to the session. Rich Breen, by the way, engineered Bob Florence’s last CD and George’s as well. Also, while I’m on the subject, spend the money and get hold of the old RCA radio microphones- nothing handles the percussion of brass instruments better or gets a truer sound.

We recorded some previously unrecorded works of Bob Florence and Tom Kubis along with some dynamite arrangements from Mike Crotty (Airmen of Note). After everyone got over their initial jitters, everything went smoothly. Wild Thing performed beautifully and sounded great!

You know, Flip, this horn is the only one I’ve had that records great and sounds great live too! Spooky! Huh? And talk about forgiving. On a couple of difficult overdubs, I thought I had scuffed a couple of notes in a passage. On playback, they sounded perfect! How about that! And the solo sound I got was better than any other horn I’ve had (particularly when my last solo was at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night).

Anyway, Flip, I could go on and on, but I won’t. Kudos for designing a horn nobody else even thought about. You’re not getting this one back!


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