I have to admit that I was quite skeptical of this mouthpiece design at first. Being primarily a classical player, I'm not generally inclined toward equipment that goes "against the grain"--especially equipment that claims to make as many improvements as the Wedge Mouthpiece line. After a couple of years of curiously checking in on the website and being particularly frustrated with my mouthpiece setup, I decided to give Dave a call and see what the Wedge was all about. I'm very happy I did!
I didn't find the mouthpieces immediately comfortable, but I did notice an immediate difference in depth of sound, flexibility, and clarity of articulation. Dave has a flawless exchange/return policy, so I decided I had to give it a whirl...after all, I couldn't recall ever sounding any better. After a few days the comfort came and the rim felt like it was made for my face. Unlike any other mouthpiece I have ever played (Monette, GR, Reeves, etc), this mouthpiece feels and sounds better the longer I play it. There was no honeymoon period for me...the mouthpiece just works. Plain and simple.
I downsized when I switched to a Wedge, so I was initially worried about projection in an orchestra or wind ensemble. I've played a number of concerts in big groups since and have actually been told that my sound is even more present than it was before...a nice, fat sound that carries. On piccolo, I am able to play a deeper cup for a warmer sound without sacrificing any range whatsoever...in fact, the upper register feels like it actually opens up even more than before. And because of the design of the rim, I don't find endurance to be an issue anymore.
Adding to the brilliance of the rim design, Dave's three-piece mouthpiece concept is a wonderful thing. The player is able to adjust the gap to each individual horn without needing the mouthpiece to be modified. It has been a huge for me using a shorter shank in my C and D/Eb trumpets...the partials feel as secure as they do on my Bb trumpet... and no alternate fingerings!
Lastly, getting to know Dave has been a real pleasure. He is extremely giving of his time, despite being a doctor along with being a one-man mouthpiece operation. Very rarely do you find someone that combines his seemingly tireless work ethic with the kind of knowledge and passion he exhibits. As I've said many times and will doubtlessly say many more:
Thanks for your work, Dave.
Dan Kocurek's Biography
Canadian-American trumpeter Dan Kocurek has worked extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, studio musician, and clinician and is a champion of new and accessible works for trumpet.
Dan received his classical training under the tutelage of Brian McWhorter, Larry Knopp, and Marty Berinbaum and has been the recipient of a number of prizes in both classical and jazz idioms, notably tuition scholarships at the Manhattan School of Music and the Chicago Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Shortly after finishing his Masters, Dan won a position in the world-renowned Dallas Brass, where he helped bring music to people of all ages.
He has performed throughout the United States and Canada, in front of audiences numbering from ten to over 10,000. Since then, Dan has been in demand as a featured soloist on many programs ranging from baroque to contemporary works. These include multiple appearances with the University of British Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Chamber Strings, as well as the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Pro Nova Ensemble and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra.
Dan is also establishing himself as an international touring concert soloist in tandem with his wife Christine Eggert on piano. Their programs have been hailed as being “musically provocative, presented with charm and a deliciously human touch” and encompass repertoire from the passion and lyricism of the 19th-century ‘cello repertoire (played on a custom 4-valve Flugelhorn), to the swing and swagger of jazz and the fiendish virtuosity and fire of the Tango.
In recording and film, Dan has worked from Los Angeles to Vancouver with notable composers and artists such as Christoper Lennertz, Sam Pilafian, Peter Hollens, and Paul Levasseur.
He is currently Acting Principal Trumpet for the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, the Kamloops Symphony, Western Canada Theatre, and the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, as well as maintaining an active freelancing schedule.
Dan currently lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada and performs on Wedge mouthpieces exclusively.