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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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Had a neat gig so I thought I'd share...

As some of you may know from a different thread, I bought a vintage 1923 Conn New Wonder tenor last week to play with my Jump Blues band. It arrived Thursday, which put it just in time for my Friday night gig. Only having played it a bit, I had some concerns about how comfortable I was with the intonation, but I decided to just jump in an see - I had a new "toy". how could I not? This particular band is a balls to the walls energy and volume experience. I hoped the reputation for the New Wonders being loud and particularly ballsy would prove true, as most of the tone requirements for this group are related to screaming, honking, or over-blowing. There's not much room for subtly when all the songs start and end at 11. I guess we do break it down for a few minutes out of a three hour night, but not much.

Anyway....We are all plugged in and ready to play the first song and the power goes out. Not just in our room but from the porch, you could see the outage when for several blocks in every direction. Things could be worse I guess - this room is the upper floor of a very old Victorian era house. Intimate and cozy with both indoor and porch seating. There are lit candles on every table - It's late enough that everyone in the room has their own pleasant little glow too - and we do after all have an upright bass, drums, hollow-body electric guitar, and sax. There's the added benifit that the audience has nothing better to do than really listen for a change too. Suddenly though I realized - instead of supporting the guitarist / vocalist, I am now "it". Yikes! That's also about the time I realize we don't have any songs for a sax based trio. I looked at the bassist (or would have if it weren't so dark) and said, "Play something." He said, "What?" The best I could come up with was, "Anything." So that's what he played.

I should mention at this point that the New Wonder saxes may well be underrated. For 5 songs it did everything from whisper and cry to wail and scream and just sounded beautiful. I suspect the bassist was playing some songs he knew, but since I didn't - I kind of had to make it my own. The experience was liberating to say the least. He was kind enough to keep it to a twelve bar format, but other than that, it was a play what you want as long as it's pretty thing....

About 40 minutes into this "jam" the power came back and without skipping a beat, the guitarist began to play and we were off and running. The club owner was ecstatic, the patrons had a blast, and the band leader was more than thankful. (We walked out with 6 more dates in this room and it was our first night there.)

Looking back, I don't think I could have picked a better format to put a new (old) sax through it's paces. I wasn't particularly nervous after a minute or two, and by the second song I really was just experimenting and pushing it a bit to find out what it could / would do. I think not having the amp'd experience happening actually helped me get a handle on the intonation issues too. All in all, it was a really fun experience.
 

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Cool! Glad the gig-- and the SAX-- worked out for you!
 

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Since I first joined SOTW, I kept trying out different horns including the venerable Mark VI. I finally settled (I hope. This G.A.S. has been killing me.) on my 1928 Nickel Plated Chu. Underrated indeed! My Chu takes me anywhere from jazz to rock and everything in between. My Selmer is for sale and I have a '48 10M in the shop to become my backup. (Probably) I have stopped my search and plan to never look back.

By the way, Fader, how do the ergos feel to you. Despite all the stuff I have heard about the New Wonder key work, I have never had the first problem. After about two minutes of playing, it felt like an old friend. And I don't have particularly long fingers.
 

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Hey, way to go, Fader. As they say, the show must go on! The closest I ever came to the power outage gig was one night in a bar when the power went out in the middle of a tune. Electric bass & guitar vanished, the PA was out of course, and that left the drummer and me on the sax. In a bar I generally keep playing no matter what happens, as long as I'm not physically threatened somehow (the band has played through during fights in the audience and all manner of things). So in this case I kept playing and so did the drummer. I walked out on the dance floor and played a solo while the drummer kept the rhythm happening. After about 3 minutes, the power came back on, the rest of the band came in and we finished the tune. I wouldn't have wanted to play much longer with just sax & drums, though.

Back to your gig and the new (vintage) horn, one thing in your favor was being able to play unmiked. I love being able to play in a situation where a mic isn't needed because then the actual tone of the horn is heard. We only do this in small venues or private houses where volume is a definite issue, or sometimes in a real 'live' room where micing the sax isn't necessary. But it's great when it happens.
 

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It sounds like a great evening!

And it is great to read that everything worked perfectly fine for you, your band and the audience.
 
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