They're not in production and, as of last I heard, there's only one in existence that Francois Louis guards with his life. I'm reading a great book called "The Devil's Horn" by Michael Segell which is a history of the saxophone with a chapter on Francois Louis and the aulochrome. Evidently he's had problems with other companies blocking manufacturing with claims of copyright infringement which has interesting parallels to problems Adolphe Sax had.
I heard Joe Lovano last Thursday night (4/26) He was doing a monk tribute in Cleveland. He played an (THE??) aulochrome on Evidence and Epistrophy. Man, that thing is crazy. Sometimes the harmonies lined up and sounded stunning....other times not so much, but what a neat gadget that thing is. I'd also add that he was able to play on one side of the horn, as a monophonic soprano if he wanted by re-directing his airstream into only one side of the horn........wacky, but with potential, as if learning to play one saxophone at a time well wasn't difficult enough!
I can remember walking up and down 42nd st/ Time square back in the day and would first here this brother, doing his thing.. It was great I had contact with this brother for a short time but lost contact because I moved to Europe for about 10 years, i would love to here more of his music being streamed, i am working on Pandora to stream his music !!! can anyone help ?????
Just got back from seeing Joe Lovano last night and YES... he had the aulochrome with him. I was invited back to the green room and spoke to Joe for a little while. He explained it was from the Greek Aulos meaning pipe and chrome meaning either chromatic or the colour.
Joe played it last night and the horn appears capable of playing unison (although the unison lines seem to create some intonation discrepencies which give the aulochrome a unique sound). It also appeared possible to play one and have the other pedal a lower tone at times. He was also able to play different notes at the same time (polyphonic lines). The keywork design appears to allow enough flexibility to be able to play each independently.
The other neat thing is that the aulochrome appeared to have an extended range and seemed to have at least a low A. In Lovano's skillful hands, he brought forward several of the possibilities of this unique instrument including harmonics and overtones.
Joe was very happy to chat and incredible to see play. He was playing last night with John Scofield.
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