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Five (or six?) Questions with Trumpet Mike Kobrin

Trumpet Mike at work
Tag(s): Show host blog

    Trumpet Mike Kobrin is originally from Brooklyn.  He moved to New Orleans and was the web editor and music listings editor at WWOZ for about two years.  

    Mike says:  “That was up until about the end of 2010 when I decided to take it full time to the trumpet ‘cause I figured now’s about the time in my life, this is probably the last time in my life where I’m going to be able to try to do this full time before I have a family and all that.”  

I asked him these Five Questions ©, plus a little follow-up question at the end:  

RK:  What made you want to pick up a trumpet and play?

Mike:  It was “Mo’ Better Blues”.  When I heard Terence Blanchard play on that, I thought this is how a trumpet ought to sound.  

RK: What music did you listen to growing up?

Mike:  Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys, all that...

RK:  What music did you listen to on your own?  And what kind of music or what other artists influence the way you play today?

Mike:  There was "Karma" by Pharoah Sanders, and “Interstellar Space” by Coltrane.    
Then there was John McLaughlin and his playing with Mahavishnu and with Shakti. That led me to North Indian music, L. Shankar (violin) in Oakland, and Zakir Hussain (tabla) at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.   And then I came back around, kind of full circle, to soul jazz, Lee Morgan (trumpet), Sweets (Edison, trumpet), and Don Byas (tenor saxophone).  

RK:  What kind of music and/or what artists do you listen to today?  What’s on your iPod?

Mike:  Dave Douglas, Art Farmer, Clifford Brown, Booker Little, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Cannonball, Mingus, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, The Doors, James Brown, Joe Williams and Mahalia Jackson.  

RK:  That’s pretty eclectic, but a lot of trumpet players, and mostly jazz.  

    Trumpet Mike has played with multiple local bands.  He did a stint with the Lagniappe Brass Band as one half of a powerhouse trumpet duo alongside his friend Ian Smith, and Mike still plays with the Lagniappe from time to time.  He also did a stint with the Revealers, and he used to play with John Lisi and Delta Funk “a lot”.  

RK:  So what bands do you play with now?  

Mike:  Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes, which is blues.  Johnny Dilks and the Highway, country soul – and I do some arranging for them as well.  Marc Stone, blues.  El Deorazio, Eric Bernhardt, and also the Mumbles.  

    Since Mike is asked to play with bands of several different genres, I asked him which was his favorite one for him to play in.  At first he said it might be Marc Stone’s band, but after a moment or two of reflection he said his favorite is “my own”.  The Mike Kobrin Trio, what he calls his “straight-ahead jazz group”, held forth for a while at Oak wine bar in Carrollton, and he plans to play with them again at a New Orleans venue in the near future.

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