Nels Laakso

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A handsome trumpet soloist who presumably could have had a glamorous career in jazz, this artist opted to neglect the influence of Harry James and concentrate on musical comedy and the invention of bizarre…
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A handsome trumpet soloist who presumably could have had a glamorous career in jazz, this artist opted to neglect the influence of Harry James and concentrate on musical comedy and the invention of bizarre instruments, particularly something known as the "skoocherphone," which nobody has been able to duplicate since. Nels Laakso also augmented trumpet solos with contributions on small instruments such as ocarina, harmonica, slide whistle, and the handy slide cornet. With this instrumental arsenal, Laakso was armed and ready to join the Korn Kobblers, a Midwest hokum outfit popular for about a decade and a half beginning in the late '30s. Among many aspects of silliness was the band's knack for inane song titles, among them the prophetic "When the Snow Begins to Fall Next Summer." Laakso learned trumpet from his father and is said to be remembered as "the noisiest boy" in the town of Wakefield, MI, the immediate question being how much noise would really be required to earn such status in a town with a population of not much more than 2,000 people.