Numero Group: By The Numbers


Roland Refurbishes Jimmy Jam’s Mind & Matter Synth
March 29, 2016, 11:05 am
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.02.02 PM.pngDuring January’s National Association of Music Merchants show (NAMM, if you’re nasty), the Roland corporation presented Purple Snow pillars Jimmy “Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis with a lifetime achievement award. For the occasion of their acceptance speech, the production duo lugged their very first Roland acquisitions down to Anaheim—Terry, his TR-808 drum machine, and Jimmy, his SH-1000 synthesizer. While the 808 became a ubiquitous tool for producers across genres, music history has been less kind to the SH-1000. In fact, the monophonic device may be best known for appearing on the cover of Mind & Matter’s previously unreleased masterpiece 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement)(citation needed).

As a token of their appreciation, Roland offered to refurbish the antique machinery, requiring a global scavenger hunt for parts. Now the SH-1000 is fully functional, giving Mind & Matter one less excuse not to do a reunion show. And who better to host than First Avenue, who previously hosted Mind & Matter for this taping of Steamroller? Pay close attention to a bandanna’d Jimmy Jam, who can be seen jumping across the stage with this beastly keyboard slung around his neck.



The Numero Group Top 10 of 2013
December 20, 2013, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Dynamic, Good God!, Iasos, Lists, Medusa, Mind & Matter, Unwound

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Every year we like to poll the team to see what everyone who makes this battleship float has actually enjoyed listening to. Catch up on 2012, 2011, and 2010 if you give a shit. 

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#10 Otis G. Johnson: Everything—God Is Love

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#9 Pretty Mustache In Your Face

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#8 Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label

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#7 Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement)

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#6 Kathy Heideman: Move With Love

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#5 Unwound: Kid Is Gone

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#4 Good God! Apocryphal Hymns

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#3 Medusa: First Step Beyond

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#2 Iasos: Celestial Soul Portrait

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#1 Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound



Mind & Matter LPs Are Here And They’re Great
December 17, 2013, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Mind & Matter

Gary McCray at Dusty Grooves

Here is Mind & Matter keyboardist Gary McCray holding the printer’s proof of his group’s unreleased basement recordings, 1514 Oliver Avenue. This photo was from a bygone era known as “Fall,” when humans roamed the Earth without the aid of gloves, hats, or coats to protect them from the harsh elements.

As is popular with record labels (and equally unpopular with record consumers), the vinyl edition for this Purple Snow satellite release lagged behind its CD incarnation by a few weeks. So as Purple Snow balls are being hurled into the world from our basement, hundreds of Mind & Matter LPs will be hitching a ride.

Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) is available now in all formats on our website.



Snowed Out: More Awesome Photos We Couldn’t Use
November 21, 2013, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow

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A surefire way to locate amazing photos of the artists on your compilation is to submit that compilation to the printer, have a few thousand copies printed up a few thousand miles away, wait a few weeks and—voila! For Purple Snow, the first snapshots to amble over the finished line came courtesy of Jimmy “Jam” Harris III, whose pre-Mind & Matter ensemble, Paradice, made their internet debut thanks to weekly internet phenomenon known as “Throwback Thursday” (#tbt if you’re nasty).

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For more potential throwbacks and level-headed pop music opining, follow Jimmy “Jam” Harris III here.

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Mind & Matter LIVE at UNCLE SAM’S (1st Avenue)
November 4, 2013, 11:05 am
Filed under: Mind & Matter

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Need we say more? The group that propelled Jimmy “Jam” Harris III into the Minneapolis consciousness, performing in the notorious arena from Purple Rain. Mind & Matter’s unreleased basement demoes hit shelves last Tuesday, and so far, no one seems to mind. Dusty Groove went above and beyond in their online summary (“One of the greatest discoveries we’ve heard so far from the Numero Group”, and Dazed caught up with Jimmy Jam to dig a bit deeper (“What did the basement of 1514 Oliver Avenue look like?”). As far as Twin Cities public access community-oriented teen dance interest shows go, Steamroller seems to have been a blip on the Minneapolis Sound’s sonar, but we are no less grateful to them for inviting Mind & Matter aboard their maiden voyage.



Introducing Mind & Matter and Jimmy “Jam” Harris (Age 18)
October 29, 2013, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Newsworthy, Purple Snow

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Storm chasers anticipating Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound have no doubt noticed another menacing storm system in the form of Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement). Recorded in the Fall of 1977, this 9-song basement odyssey captures one of Minneapolis’s most criminally overlooked ensembles, completing a sonic portrait initiated on their sought-after two-sider “I’m Under Your Spell” b/w “Sunshine Lady”. Benefitting from the sophisticated songwriting of Jimmy “Jam” Harris a decade prior to Janet Jackson’s ControlMind & Matter combines the twin-keyboard attack that would come to define the Twin City’s sound with a throw-back vocal quartet whose voices sound like Cadillac Coupes cruising in formation. As insane as Purple Snow is, Oliver Avenue is just as crazy—a hailstone amongst snowflakes.

Jimmy “Jam” Harris gave an awesome interview to UK magazine Dazed that you should definitely read right now. 

Mind & Matter’s 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) is available now on CD. The vinyl is right on its heels. We promise. 



Numero Group hangs with Jimmy Jam, others
September 30, 2013, 11:32 am
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow, Uncategorized

For those following our Twitter trail/Facebook feed, you might have noticed we were in Los Angeles last week engaging “the music industry.” This included many firm handshakes, lengthy dinners, and frequent naps in the back of our $9-a-day Chevrolet Impala rental to supplement the team average four hours of sleep/night. We listened to punk records from Winston-Salem, Aukland, and Johannesburg, drank bourbon that preceded us in birth, and received complimentary mesh caps from Jumbo’s Clown Room. We toasted to the good life at Funkmosphere, where four Purple Snow tests pressings passed the road test with flying colors. Speaking of which, we rendezvoused with Purple Snow anchorman Jimmy Jam, previewing Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) in extraterrestrial fidelity (below).

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The moral of the story is that we had a great time and we can’t thank the people of California enough for use of your sleeping bags, citrus trees, and drink specials. Tell your friends to get with our friends and we can be friends. We could, in all honesty, do this every weekend. Until next time, your friends, the Numero Group.



This Old House: Purple Snow Properties
September 5, 2013, 8:44 am
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow

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Snelling Avenue South b/t 33rd and 35th: After missing the turn for the Budget Car Rental Center on Hiawatha Avenue South, I took a turn on East 33rd Street and an immediate right on Snelling, only to find myself in a familiar setting. While all the houses in this pseudo industrial pocket of Minneapolis looked similar, none stood out more so than the domicile below, which movie buffs might recognize as the exterior shot of Prince’s fictional and not-so-happy home in 1984’s Purple Rain.

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1514 Oliver Avenue N

1514 Oliver Avenue North: In the late ’60s, Annacele Johnson opened her home to Detroit nephews Ed and Lawrence Brown. Within a few years, the musical brothers would be jamming with various combos in the house’s open basement. After becoming the practice space of preference for Lawrence Brown’s Mind & Matter, the group tracked a bewildering set of demo recordings in the Fall of 1977, the basis for Purple Snow companion piece, 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement).

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1244 Russell Avenue North: Just a few blocks away, the childhood home of Andre Anderson carries a more intense legacy for hosting formative jam sessions between youngest son Andre, drummer Morris Day, and guitarist Prince Nelson. Below is a photo of Anderson matriarch and community leader Bernadette Anderson from a People Magazine feature on her son, who by the early ’80s had assumed the stage name André Cymone.

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Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound will celebrate several loving homes and many interesting intersections upon release November 12th, 2013. Click here to listen to sound clips, or preorder the 2CD/4LP box set. 



Forecasting a Subscription’s End
September 4, 2013, 11:40 am
Filed under: Forte, Mind & Matter, Purple Snow, Subscription

TEMP-Image_1_1 Signs of summer’s wane are cropping up here in Chicago. Local MLB teams eye the historic winning streaks they’ll need in order to reach .500 for the season. Those horrendously sweet orange candy-corn pumpkins fly off of shelves at Target in 22-ounce sacks. And Numero’s 2013 Part II Vinyl Subscription cruises into its final weeks. September 30 is the big shut-down date, the last day you can pay one fee and receive:

047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label, 28 tracks charting Kansas City yeoman’s work, the Carpets and the Derbys, dapper clothiers mysteriously murdered, and marriages made and broken. There’s a trove of promo headshots and label scans of every hue detailing all iterations of Forte’s logo in print. This is an Eccentric Soul sojourn past vivid floor shakers and lost dance craze records alike—though what moves “The Hen” required remains anyone’s guess.

050 Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, a 4LP package + hardcover book, in which are contained the sprawling, nonfiction prequel to Purple Rain’s cultural takeover. In image-rich splendor, funk-informed hordes of unsung Twin Cities talent bask for a spotlit moment, out of that persistent violet shadow, to shine.

050 1/2 Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement), the never-before-heard demo reel that is James “Jimmy Jam” Harris’ first foray into songcraft and an organic Minneapolis-vintage alternative to a late ’70s Prince songbook gone increasingly synthetic.

But what about that eye-catching purple-vinyl LP up top? Let’s end the suspense: It’s our way of reminding you, the potential subscriber, that no one else gets purple vinyl LPs inside their copy of 050 Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound besides actual Numero’s 2013 Part II Vinyl Subscription subscribers. It’s the only way known to Herman Jones of going full violet. And you should. You really should.



Weekend Warriors: 48 Hours in the Twin Cities
August 27, 2013, 10:10 am
Filed under: Eccentric Soul 45s, Lewis Connection, Mind & Matter, Purple Snow, Uncategorized

If you know nothing about the Numero process, it typically involves finding a spot on Earth where important music was made, and then boring down into the ground until lava starts bubbling up. After two years spent strip mining the Twin Cities, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the Land of 10,000 as a tourist, not as a detective. Conversations flowed freely, and without the need for note taking. Here are a few cool things that can happen in Minneapolis once you’ve sent Purple Snow to the printers and presses.

1.) You can DJ somewhere:

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Brian Engel, Greg Waletski, and George Rodriguez constitute a dense portion of the Minneapolis vinyl firmament. On Friday, they celebrated 11 years of the Hipshaker Dance Party, and invited me to join. Being able to work with and celebrate the musical veterans of the Twin Cities has been an honor, but it’s just as encouraging to receive the blessings of your record collecting peers. These guys (along with friendly rivals Hotpants) are really carrying their weight, keeping old records alive in the Twin Cities.

2.) You can eat at the diner from Alexander O’Neal’s debut album:

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Mickey’s Dining Car is a 24/7 institution, located at 36 7th Street in St. Paul. The building in the background has been there as long as the diner, meaning that Alexander’s famous visit was made possible by generous amounts of airbrushing.

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In actuality, the scene probably looked more like this:

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3.) You can go to the fair:

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Just talking about the Minnesota State Fair can shake lose interesting facts from native notables. Bill Gaskill, whose saxophone solos season much of Purple Snow, informed me that his grandfather put together the first traveling midway specifically to play the Minnesota State Fair in 1904. Hymie’s Records owner Dave Hoenack revealed he’d never eaten fried alligator, despite having workied in the Fried Alligator Booth several years consecutively. I visited the Caterpillar Kingdom and met this friendly fellow.

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The pressed penny machine offers advice for the ages:

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4. You can hang with the Peanuts Gang:

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Charles Schultz was from St. Paul.

5. You can go to the Spruce Lounge:

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Although it’s changed names over the years, this structure near the corner of 36th Street South and 4th Avenue has been serving refreshments to the community for a half century, and invokes the spirit of many legendary haunts documented in Purple Snow.

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A fluctuating cast of local legends perform every Sunday from 6pm – 9pm. Notable participants this week include Herman Jones, Pierre Lewis (The Lewis Connection) and guitarist Johnny McGhee (LTD).

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Me and Everett Pettiford of Mind & Matter at the Spruce Lounge. Mind & Matter’s diabolical full-length LP/CD will be available 10/29/13.

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Herman Jones with the Herman Jones 45 and Pierre Lewis with the 94 East 45, on which he plays piano.

From Minnesota, with Love…

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