Numero Group: By The Numbers


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.

1244 Russell Ave N

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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Postcards from the Edge: Mind & Matter, 1977
August 22, 2013, 8:57 am
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow

In March of 1977, Mind & Matter completed the final mixes of “Sunshine Lady” and “I’m Under Your Spell,” which would share sides of the group’s self-released 45. Tracked at Creation Studios on Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, Minnesota, one forward thinking bandmate thought enough of the occasion to bring a camera to the recording session. The prints survived for decades, and were digitized sometime around the advent of the consumer photo scanner. Sadly, those prints have since disappeared. While the digital files were too small to properly reproduce in Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound or the band’s dedicated release Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement), they capture the mighty band mid-flight, offering an intimate glimpse into one of the most sought after artifacts from the dawn of Minneapolis Sound.

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Mastered from the original 1/4-inch stereo mix, “I’m Under Your Spell” and “Sunshine Lady” will appear on Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Closing out said compilation will be “No One Else Can Do It To Me Baby,” which opens Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement), a bundle of endearing demos tracked by the band in the Fall of 1977. Preorders are available here for CD and LP.



The tease: Mind & Matter revealed
July 31, 2013, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Mind & Matter, Purple Snow | Tags:

NUM050.5_Mind&Matter_CoverMuch has been said about our massive 050 Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound collection, but creeping up behind that thunderhead is another front. Assigned the supplementary but by no means diminutive 05012 catalog number, 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) is an extraordinary full-length, subterranean set from Mind & Matter (best known as Jimmy Jam Harris’ first band), recently restored and carefully prepared for deployment on LP and CD. That’s Jam himself, front and center, looking basically like he doesn’t even have a Roland SH1000 holding down his teenage frame.