Dan Menken

Dan Menken plays a trumpet solo. Using a wireless microphone attached to his trumpet, Dan played a solo on "You Made Me Love You" in the band's July 20, 1993, concert in Ramsey County's Battle Creek Park.
Dan Menken plays a trumpet solo. Dan played a trumpet solo on "Chattanooga Choo Choo" in the band's March 22, 1994, concert at Edinborough Park.
Former Role in Roseville Big Band: 

Lead trumpet

Member during: 

1992 through 1995


Business owner, writer

Dan is the only person to have been a member of the Roseville Big Band and Rhythm & Swing, the swing dance exhibition group, at the same time. In one memorable concert at the Roseville Central Park band shell, Dan danced with Rhythm & Swing while the rest of the band played Pennsylvania 6-5000, and when it came time for the trumpet solo, members of both groups passed his trumpet out front to him, where Dan played the solo.

Dan had one of the best high ranges of any of our lead trumpeters. The song "Blue Birdland", recorded by Maynard Ferguson, calls for the lead trumpeter to soar up to a written double-high A during a one-bar break by the band near the end of the song. Not only did Dan play the lead part when the Roseville Big Band performed this selection at the Central Park concert, he did it the way Maynard does on the recording, starting with the A above the staff, then ascending to C#, then E, then overshooting the high A, landing on a double-high C, and coming back down to the final A.

Dan's flair for showmanship always helped enliven our concerts. Not only did he join in the "dueling trumpets" display with Glen Newton, moving through the audience while trading four- and two-bar phrases, but he enjoyed playing other solos, such as "You Made Me Love You" from the audience.

Neal Hefti's "Cute", which was part of the Roseville Big Band's concert at the grand opening of the Twin Lakes Medical Center in Roseville, includes several unison mid-range passages for the trumpet section. To make it more interesting for the audience, Dan got the trumpet players to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with each one playing his own instrument but fingering the trumpet to his left. Of course, this meant that the person on one end of the section just held the horn up and faked it, since nobody was pressing his valves, and the one on the other end crossed his right arm over to play a non-existent horn, but with three trumpets the section sound was fine. Or maybe it was just two. After the concert, the trumpeter whose valves Dan was pressing confided that he found it difficult to play because Dan kept fingering grace notes.

After moving to Germany, Dan took up both the soprano saxophone and digital piano, playing them with the same joi de vivre that we enjoyed in his trumpet playing with the Roseville Big Band.

This page was last updated
Friday, June 18, 2021.

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