I have the privilege of playing with a most amazing brass player with from time to time. Actually, I play with several, but I’m thinking of only one of them at the moment. He has played with top orchestras in his time, and he has also been to the very top in his day-profession. Just recently, I noticed that he was playing an intermediate-level cornet. He produces the most wonderful sounds you’ll hear anywhere, I promise you. A few days ago he came brandishing a nearly-new instrument that had been offered to him. He wanted to know if band members thought it was any good, and whether it was as good as his existing cornet. It was a Far-eastern cheapo, although marketed by a leading maker. Of course, it sounded superb in his hands. What gets me is that the guy has no knowledge of, or interest in, brands and models. I am probably as guilty as anyone. Like so many brass players that hanker after a Prestige or Stradivarius, I like my top-end Gretsch or Ludwig, Zildjian or Bosphorus. But I wonder just how important brand and range really are, beyond the image. I also wonder how many more there are out there like my friend, who just don't think about such matters.