The following was written by Michael Dease
With characters resembling heroes and villains, quests for treasure with mishaps on the way, and the ultimate hope to live happily ever after with a newly found love interest, the search for a great instrument could likely be compared to the drama of a Grimm Fairy Tale. While many trombonists may find their voice on an early horn of choice, others find their discriminating needs unmet by the production line. While seemingly business partners, reproduction and consistency have held a grudge with each other in the recent pickings of the American trombone market. Unsatisfied with the quality and performance of my instrument, I began paying closer attention to my favorite players, and incidentally their favorite trombones.
Michael DeaseI had noticed my teacher Wycliffe Gordon playing his Edwards T302 for the past 2 years and thought little of it (Wycliffe can make a tooth brush sound great!) until he brought his old horn to a recent lesson. After switching back and forth between horns, I could not believe the depth and rich color of sound captured with his Edwards Jazz horn. I played it then for the first time, and was quickly enamored with its response, resonance, balance and sturdiness. I left the lesson walking around Juilliard with a glow of happiness when I ran into a friend of mine, who plays an Edwards Large Bore Tenor. My next week was spent trying many of my colleague’s Edwards Tenors and Basses and to my delight, I found there was extreme consistency throughout the different setups and the quality was superb.
Chosen as a finalist in the International Trombone Association’s Frank Rosolino Competition, I was excited to find myself with the chance to win a new Edwards T302. I was honored to be chosen as the 2004 recipient from a group of such amazing young jazz trombonists, and I quickly found myself in the Trombone Festival’s Edwards Booth trying out everything. Quality of craftsmanship aside, the moment Chris Branagan approached me to offer his assistance became a defining moment of my Edwards Experience. The Edwards staff treats the hobbyist, the principal, the looker and even the jazzer with the utmost care and respect. Just as they treat their horns.
As I explained to Chris about my sound and setup goals, he constructed various configurations for me to try on the spot. We came pretty close over a period of 2 hours, but decided that the best idea would be to visit the factory. On my way out, Chris handed me a paper with my favorite choices of the day, and his probable choices to try in Elkhorn. Upon arriving in Elkhorn, I was handed a horn that had been constructed based upon my sound concept by Christian Griego. While Christian received some retaining wall advice from my Father, he assembled many configurations along with honest professional assessments of the sound. With each change, we came closer and closer to my ideal horn.
Christian stayed later than my appointment to conduct a tour of the Getzen/Edwards factory and look between every nook and cranny for a case that would fit my horn’s unique size. He took the time to patiently explain the processes of hammering the bell from brass sheets to ultrasonic cleansing, you name it. Throughout the entire session, not a negative word was uttered about any other horn, mass manufactured or custom. I found this to be a hallmark of Edward’s integrity. Their horns speak for themselves.
Edwards is dedicated to making great instruments, and committed to the mission of making sure their customers receive the highest quality of service. They are constantly trying new approaches and materials to satisfy the player and ultimately pay homage to the nobility of the brass instrument.
If at all possible, visit the factory in Elkhorn and experience the custom options of Edwards Instruments. The spirit of the organization, it people and products are a most rewarding aspect of the instrument selection process. You may not want to leave the factory, but when you do, you’ll feel GOOD and have made a few friends!