[Dixielandjazz] Bechet on soprano sax

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Thu Jun 9 14:30:29 PDT 2005

>From what I've said in the past, intonation is a function of the horn but in
the case of the Soprano it seems to be heavily weighted in favor of the
player as to if it plays in tune or not.  I can play any of them in tune if
I really try but when you are doing a fast solo you want the horn to help
you as much as possible.

>From what I've heard soprano saxes made before about 1970 suffered from lots
of problems. Every old one that I have ever played on has been disappointing
and that includes Selmer's.  What I understand from hearing guys play and
from talking to them the curved saxes really don't play better.  I think
that the straight horn is probably cheaper to manufacture and that could be
why they don't make the curved anymore.  Another thing is the show biz thing
again.  The curved horn looks like a toy and it's almost impossible to get a
stand for one.  I do note that there is a slight tonal difference with a
curved neck vs. a straight.

So far as switching horns goes, I play all the saxes from bari to soprano.
The only one that I feel that there could be improvement on is the Alto.
For some reason the tone that I would like escapes me.  I think I do OK but
I would like something a little different.  This could be almost anything
from the horn (Buescher) to the mouthpiece and reed combination.  This horn
is very comparable sound wise and intonation wise to the Mark 6 that I
played in the AF so I never thought about a change.  Since I play Tenor and
Soprano the most, and have for years, it could be just a matter of time put
in.  I would really like to sound like Paul Desmond though but then so would
almost every other sax player in the country.

Larry Walton
St. Louis.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Smith" <robert.smith at mitransport.no>
To: "Dixieland Jazz" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 12:42 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Bechet on soprano sax

Let's not forget that Bechet played a straight soprano sax. How anybody
manages to stay in tune on a bent saxophone I can't imagine. In my opinion
all saxophones should be straight with suitable mechanisms for opening and
closing those little round holes out of which the sound seems to leak. It
probably means a deeper concert stage for the bass-saxophone and maybe a
little trolley to support it, although alphorn players seem to manage.

As far as "sounding better on the clarinet" is concerned, Bechet sounded
superb on both. Johnny Dodds was also a superb clarinet player, but he had
trouble trying to play the alto sax.
Harry Carney could switch from the clarinet to the baritone sax, with no
apparent loss in quality in either direction.


Bob Smith
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Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

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