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In Whisper Not played by Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in 1958, there’s a part during the trumpet solo in the background played by who I think is Billy Root on the bari sax. It’s only four notes but I love the sound that he has and I want to know what makes it sound kinda buzzy. Just for some background info, I’m a sophomore in High School and I’m one of the best Bari Sax players in my state, I also made the national honor band on bassoon and came back from it about a week ago. I play on a Lawton 8 Star B mouthpiece, and I play on Vandoren Blue Box 2 1/2 reeds.

*here’s a link to the song, the part I’m talking about is at 1:26.
https://youtu.be/NyMeLdUUMwQ
 

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With respect , if you are one of the best baritone players in your state (and I am not even in my village) you should certainly know that this is one of the most “ typical” sound achievable by a baritone sax.

You are mentioning those 4 notes during the trumpet solo, but I don’t find it anything different from many other baritone sound. In fact, much more of that Buzzy sound can be heard in pieces like the ultra famous Moanin’

In my view of a non specialist this is a fat sound expressed by the majority of Baritone players when doing bass lines or fill ins ( like in R&R or R&B). Large mouthpiece, big breath support, loose embouchure.

Feast your ears

 

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Also enjoy the FAT sound of Plas Johnson on bari!

 

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With respect , if you are one of the best baritone players in your state (and I am not even in my village) you should certainly know that this is one of the most “ typical” sound achievable by a baritone sax.

You are mentioning those 4 notes during the trumpet solo, but I don’t find it anything different from many other baritone sound. In fact, much more of that Buzzy sound can be heard in pieces like the ultra famous Moanin’

In my view of a non specialist this is a fat sound expressed by the majority of Baritone players when doing bass lines or fill ins ( like in R&R or R&B). Large mouthpiece, big breath support, loose embouchure.

Feast your ears

Exactly - pushing air and feeling the vibes - those notes exemplify what we play bari for and what people love about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah I would say that I already have a sound quite similar to the sound of most other bari sax players which is what makes me stand out compared to the other high schoolers in my state (sorry i meant one of the best high schoolers on bari sax, I am definitely not one of the best as far as everyone in my state goes). The difference that I’m hearing between people like Ronnie Cuber and Billy Root is that Billy Root sounds kind of more “tinny” rather than fat, thanks for responding though.
 

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When I was in high school I thought I was the best Tenor player my age. Certainly I was the best of the people I had seen around my immediate area. But only a year out of high school I met all the other (way better) monster players who had also moved to the big city and I immediately shut my mouth.

The sound you are talking about is the one made by someone who has been playing for a long time and who knows how to use a lot of air. And when I say a lot of air I mean enough to rattle the horn. Enough to make it ring. Some people know how to do this on a smaller set up. Other people play certain mouthpieces and reeds to get this specific sound. But the point is they are all moving enough air through the horn to be able to make that classic bright sound.

As a tenor player I know what you mean about a difference in sound though. I always had a bigger brighter sound than my classmates when I was in high school. But that was just because I practiced more and played a set up that was more open than a Yamaha 4C.....

How are your overtones? :D
 

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In Whisper Not played by Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in 1958, there’s a part during the trumpet solo in the background played by who I think is Billy Root on the bari sax. It’s only four notes but I love the sound that he has and I want to know what makes it sound kinda buzzy. Just for some background info, I’m a sophomore in High School and I’m one of the best Bari Sax players in my state, I also made the national honor band on bassoon and came back from it about a week ago. I play on a Lawton 8 Star B mouthpiece, and I play on Vandoren Blue Box 2 1/2 reeds.

*here’s a link to the song, the part I’m talking about is at 1:26.
https://youtu.be/NyMeLdUUMwQ
I don’t know, sounds great though! He’s recorded pretty well through the whole tune too.
 

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Your Lawton mouthpiece ought to be able to give you the sound you are looking for. It might be worth trying different reeds.
 

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It's not primarily an equipment matter; it's primarily a matter of learning how to blow through the thing instead of at it.

Most young sax players have been screamed at their entire school band lives for being too loud, so they have no idea how to get a real breath and push it through the horn. When they find themselves sitting next to grown up sax players they are astonished. This first happened to me as a freshman in college, when the great late tenor sax player Larry Slezak did some guest rehearsals with our big band. Just seeing Larry warming up was a total revelation. Hearing a real grown up professional saxophonist's sound coming right out of the bell was an experience.

You need to practice long tones and interval exercises, through the full range of the horn, at levels from pppp to ffff; preferably outdoors where there is nothing to reflect the sound back to you. When you take in air you have to take a baritone size breath. You need to feel it down in your gut, all the way down to your belt. Don't heave up on your shoulders, that just adds tension. Imagine that you are pushing the air clear from your navel through to the bell of the horn. Keep the whole windpipe open and relaxed. Have the whole air column ready for the note before the note starts. Scoops like on that chart, you can't be afraid of them, you hve to play them out. That's the whole reason they are written. The concert band "blend at any cost" mentality and sound just becomes "bland at any cost" when you try to translate it to the big band.

You gotta have an attitude to play baritone sax.
 

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Your Lawton mouthpiece ought to be able to give you the sound you are looking for. It might be worth trying different reeds.
Nah, the time would be better spent building air control. A Lawton with #2.5 reeds you ought to be able to shake the paint off the walls if you know how to blow.
 

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Oh man, I love that Mingus recording! I've listened to it over the years and never get tired of it. That's some deep, deep music, and I don't just mean the bari, which is great of course.

Anyway, to answer the OP's question, it just sounds like a bari to me. If you aren't getting that sound, keep working and practicing until you do. Be patient and work on filling horn with air.
 

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Agreed, I think 3S or 3M Rico select jazz would be a proper match for the Lawton 8 instead of Vandoren 2.5 blue box. The Lawton wasn’t designed to use a classical cut reed.

Your Lawton mouthpiece ought to be able to give you the sound you are looking for. It might be worth trying different reeds.
 

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I play a Lawton mouthpiece on bari in a big band, and my personal experience is that Vandoren Blue Box reeds are not a good match for it. My current preference is La Voz, but D'Addario Select Jazz are OK too.
 

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Try taking in a little more mouthpiece to get more of the reed vibrating with less lower lip dampening the sound. Go to a softer reed if needed to get the sound going.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
yeah, and i would say it does. I’m sorry for sounding arrogant, but I do professional recordings and whenever guest artists come to the school, i’m often complemented for my fat sound, but now hearing about working more on air, i think i understand what to do.
 

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Did anyone mention Ronnie Cuber as the Bari player?
Well, I think we're getting two different recordings involved here; Cuber for the "Moanin'" that's easily found on You Tuba (I believe Pepper Adams on the original recording from Mingus himself), vs. Billy Root (had never heard the name before) on the Gillespie big band recording that started the discussion.

I would always add Charlie Fowlkes with Basie (as I mentioned in another thread, "Little Darling" provides a complete course of instruction on how to play baritone sax (or lead alto) in a big band, to generate intensity and projection at a VERY SOFT dynamic level); Carney with Ellington, of course; and if you can find any of Roland Kirk on baritone (rarely recorded, but it's out there). These are some of my original models for baritone playing rather than the later raspy buzz saw tendencies of guys like Cuber and Adams.

And for someone who doesn't fall totally into the Gerry Mulligan bigger-bass-clarinet-wheezy-sound school but doesn't duplicate the Fowlkes/Washington/Carney type of sound either, check out Cecil Payne. He's way underrated.

And someone I didn't get into till later, so not an original model for my baritone playing, is JOE TEMPERLEY. I strongly suggest watching the last two parts of his video entitled something like "The music of Joe Temperley" where he gives a saxophone lesson to his interviewer. The interviewer, who's a professional saxophonist of about 40 years of age, sounds like a small child next to the 80+ year old Temperley. His discussion is ALL about how to use your air stream to project a fine round sound. He references the bel canto school of singing as a model for how to play the baritone sax.
 

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yeah, and i would say it does. I’m sorry for sounding arrogant, but I do professional recordings and whenever guest artists come to the school, i’m often complemented for my fat sound, but now hearing about working more on air, i think i understand what to do.
Well, I would suggest that if you are asking how to play scoops on baritone sax, you still have some development to do. You may sound great for a tenth grader. I would suggest spending some time listening to real, experienced, professional baritone saxophonists in the big band, funk, and R&B contexts, to understand the role and function of this horn in those environments.

All of this will be cured by a few hundred hours on the bandstand, of course.
 
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