Thursday, September 30, 2010

Missing Woodwind Section

 Here are a few fotos I took on my walk to my gig last Saturday evening.
The view from historic Tecolote.
Mexico's Ruta de Independencia.
Lower Tecolote.
I left Casa Verde around 640 walking down to the stage setup in Plaza de la Cultura y las Artes. The Plaza is directly in front of the Teatro Cervantes in old Guanajuato.

I could hear Mexican music coming from the Plaza on most of my walk into town. When I arrived I saw a good sized crowd watching a nice performance of  Mexican folk dancing.

It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert. We had a great crowd. Everyone seemed to have a good time. We were supposed to be the full 4 member TUBA JAM, however Oscar was no where to be found, so we played as a trio, the Garrapatas Mexicanas. I always prefer the sound of us with our woodwind section. Since, other than the guys in the band, no one knew of our missing woodwind section, the show must go on. We still sound good as a trio, I just love the sound of the trumpet and sax. 
L to R. Me playing with my Cup mute, Laloc Vallejo, Dan Norman.
It's always nice to perform when you look out at the crowd and see children of all ages dancing to the music. 

Don't be afraid, let yourself go.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Under A Tarp

Last Wednesday I walked into town to run a few errands. I got caught in a rain shower without my handy rain poncho. No worries, I was a bit hungry so I used this opportunity to try a new (to me) restaurant. Michelle always laughs when I use the word "restaurant" to describe these..........................restaurants.
I am not the only trumpet player enjoy the food.  The guy with horn under his arm is 1 of the many Mariachis in Guanajuato.

I have eaten in this exact location hundreds of times before, but not at this restaurant.

Almost every day when I was with the OSUG, during our 35 minute break from 1130-1205, you could usually find me snacking at another restaurant that sets up on the callejon just off the famous Barratillo in downtown Guanajuato. During different times of the day there are different types of food served from different types of vendors. On breaks from the orchestra my favorite snacks from the "Taco Lady" were, and still are, her Quesadillas filled with either Picadillo or Chorizo. Her tortillas are made by hand fresh on the spot.

It was after 4 on Wednesday when I got caught in the rain in the Barratillo. 4 is the time for comida in Mexico. The food or comida, at the "new" restaurant was delicious and you can't beat the location. Comida in the rain under a tarp. To me, this is a restaurant.
Eggs, beans, rice and as many hand made tortillas as you can eat for $16 pesos, around a $1.50 US.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Own Little Adventures

A year or so ago I was out at our land in Carbonera and I could hear the sound of live music playing not too far away. I had my trumpet with me and I immediately thought of how much fun it would be to play along with the sounds I heard drifting down the hillside and into my ears. It sounded like a guitar and a bass and someone singing. Puro Mexicana. It was surely the music of a fiesta.

After an hour or so of hearing the music at some distance, I mustered up the courage to walk down and see what the guys would think of have a white trumpet player crash their fiesta. No matter what happened it was a good chance to meet a few of the locals.

As I approached the scene I was surprised to see only 1 musician. Ruperto Varron was playing and singing and entertaining a small group of 6 or 7 guys. They all seemed open to the idea of me playing along so Ruperto and I played Mexican Ranchero and Mariachi music for the next few hours. Everyone ate and drank too much. It was a blast. It was a fiesta.

I got Ruperto's cell number that night and I never used it until this last Monday. 

Every now and then when I have a little extra time, I like to create my own little adventures. So, Monday I called Ruperto and said I would like to come to his house to play, listen and talk music. 
"How about mañana?" I asked.
Ruperto said he was at his house "Todos los dias."
"Mañana a las 12." 

Yesterday after a few wrong turns, I found Ruperto, in his white cowboy hat, standing across the street from his house. He told me where to park and then after introducing ourselves again, we walked into his backyard, Ruperto brought out a few chairs and we sat down and began to talk. After talking (my Spanish is not very good and he speaks no English) for about 15 minutes, Ruperto began to play the guitar that had been sitting on his lap the entire time we had been talking.

I remembered the sound as soon as I heard it and I joined right in. Again I had a blast.

I love all types of music. I love to make music anywhere with anyone and everyone. Playing my trumpet with an open mind has taken me to more incredible places than I can remember. The trumpet is my passport, sin limites. With my horn in hand I always seem to find the right seat.

When we got done playing I asked Ruperto if I could get a foto or 2. The I tired to ask if he could have his wife take a picture (for you guys) of us playing. He went inside his very small 2 or maybe 3 room house to ask. After some time and after hearing a bit of laughter coming from inside the house I realized that they thought I had asked for a family foto.

Then I asked if his daughter could take a foto of us as we played a tune for Ruperto's wife Maria.

Today is Mexico's 200th Birthday. I can't wait to explore even more of this fascinating world with my trumpet in hand.

Stay tuned to Jason in Mexico for more.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Duke Ellington Big Band

Bobby LaVell soloing on the Tenor as Morgan Price looks on from the Bari chair.
Had a great time listening to the Duke Ellington Big Band at the Bicentanario Expo. Wonderful music played by a swinging group of cats. It doesn't get much better than this. Too much good horn blowin'. Some trumpet highlights were excellent plunger work from all of the cats and Kevin Bryan killin' the Cat Anderson book as well as bringing down the house with his solo on the Ellington classic and 1 of the best big band showpieces of all time Rockin' In Rhythm. The only bad thing about the concert was that the guys only got to play for about 30 minutes. I could have listened all night. I was able to talk with a few of the cats after the show. Always nice to talk with real musicians.
Rockin' In Rhythm. I think this is the most plunger mutes ever used at the same time in Guanauato. The 5 brass players out in front of the band are from left to right, Chris Albert, Kevin Bryan (also the lead trumpet for the Harry Connick big band), Dion Tucker , Ravi Best and Mark MacGowan.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The top of the Caracol.
Yesterday on my way back from town I was walking up Callejon del Caracol when I saw the sun shining on this very cleaver piece of graffiti.

The Spanish word callejone translates to alley in English. There are hundreds of callejones crisscrossing the hillsides that surround the older parts of centro Guanajuato providing more than enough opportunities for the clever graffiti artist.

  • I love this 1. Less is more.

Pearl in the orange hat and some of historic Guanajuato in the background.
BLOG NOTE: Since this is my 100th post I would like to thank all of you who read my ramblings about my simple little life. Whenever I am out and about I am always thinking about fotos to take or ideas for stories. I hope to give you a glimpse into the life of this trumpet player in Mexico. Thanks for reading.

Stay tuned for more of my Mexico. Jason in Mexico.