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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I visited a local music store to get a tenor worked on. In the display case was a sand blast B&S Chicago Jazz tenor. I had to try it!! I've been beyond interested in a B&S tenor for years. The store employee informed me that they also had a B&S Medusa with the gold brass body, silver bell, & 3 different necks for the same price as the Chicago Jazz.:shock: Yikes!!!

Up first, is the Chicago Jazz. Great ergonomics and intonation. Huge fat sound with much more core (midrange?) than my P. Mauriat 66R. Not to mention, one of the best looking saxes I've ever seen. It's got a little more resistance than my 66R, but that's something that I'm liking more and more. Very impressive horn over all.

Next up is the Medusa. I really wanted to "love" this sax, but the sound was a little thinner than the Chicago Jazz. The nickel silver neck was the brightest but gurgled a little around low F# to low D. The brass was the warmest, but had the same gurgle as the nickel. The silver was somewhere in the middle in terms of sound, but had the best response. No gurgle with the silver neck. Also a great playing tenor. I just couldn't get past the slightly thinner sound compared to the Chicago Jazz. So I gave the Medusa back to the store employee.

Out of curiosity, I tried an Eastman 52nd street tenor in bare brass. I've read so much about this tenor. Sounded very close to my 66R, but MAN!!!!! Very clunky action. Both B&S tenors felt WAY more refined in the hands.

I did not plan on buying a new sax any time soon, but the Chicago Jazz horn just blew me away. I've been playing on this horn for the last few hours, and I can't stop playing it! I've heard the Selmer Mark VI comparison over and over, but I don't hear it. Both B&S tenors have a great core sound but they were both much bigger sounding than any Selmer I've every tried, and I've tried a lot. Decades of searching, and I think this is the BEST tenor sax I've ever played.

Here are a few pics of my new sand blast Chicago Jazz tenor:

Gold Reed instrument Wind instrument Woodwind instrument Jewellery


Musical instrument Reed instrument Saxophone Brass instrument Wind instrument


Musical instrument Reed instrument Brass instrument Wind instrument Woodwind instrument


Musical instrument Wind instrument Hand tool Automotive exhaust Metal
 

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Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
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Congrats, they are great horns! Do you mind sharing the name of the store with the Medusa and their asking price?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sure Jerry, no problem.

It's the Kolacny Music Company at 1900 S. Broadway Blvd in Denver, CO. Very nice and informed staff.

www.kolacnymusic.com/

The Medusa is being listed for $2500. A steal in my book for such a quality horn. It appeared to be in near mint condition. I could only find a few extremely slight scratches on the pant-leg side of the bell.

later
 

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ALTO: Medusa- 82zii, TENOR: Medusa, BARI: b901, SOP: sc991
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…I think this is the BEST tenor sax I've ever played.
I agree with everything you said in your review. If there was a difference in sound between the two B&S tenors, it's probably down to setup, because they should be the same basic horn.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
ALTO: Medusa- 82zii, TENOR: Medusa, BARI: b901, SOP: sc991
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Big Daddy, how are you liking the B&S tenor now that you've been playing it for a few months?
 

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“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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I just purchased a like new CJ Tenor in gold lacquer. Excited to join the club.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Soybean, still loving my B&S. I play on it every week with a combo. Just an absolute monster of a horn. That Sound............Can't get enough of it. French sound with a bit of that CHU warmth/spread?! Well, the best sound I've ever had on tenor. I am using a Vandoren HR V16 with a T8 tip, Vandoren M/O lig, & Rico Jazz Select Unfiled 3S.

Later
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello all,

just a little update on my tenor. I bought a Viking LOR neck from swperry1 (Thanks Steve for the smooth transaction!) here on SOTW.

Aside from looking very unique (in a good way) on my B&S, this neck is great to play on! The intonation is still great. Low D to G actually speaks a little easier. The original neck was a bit spread; the Viking LOR neck adds a bit of focus to the sound without getting too bright. There is also more clarity in the midrange. I play in a very loud big band every once in a while, and I am able to cut through a bit more without blowing my guts out. I still love the sound of the original neck, but the LOR neck is what I now play on all the time.



 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
ALTO: Medusa- 82zii, TENOR: Medusa, BARI: b901, SOP: sc991
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I tried an Oleg neck, couple of mark 6 necks and none of them worked better than the stock one. Then for a few months I actually used a Yamaha F1 neck. That one was the best out of all the replacements but I still went back to the stock neck for the best intonation. What do you prefer about the Viking?
 

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In my situation I saw a profound difference when I decided to experiment with ligatures. Since I absolutely love the mouthpieces GW has made me over the years I was not willing to part with them so ligatures were next.

Once I tried the Vandoren Optimum I could not believe how much more I could get out of these horns.

I mean I could already plays things on the CJS that I could never have on the Taiwanese horns I had been using but these ligatures opened up the possibility of playing even softer, using sub tones, better intonation and altissimo became second nature.

Everybody is different and for awhile I played the neck game but eventually we find the right thing for us.

I hope you find what you are seeking.

B
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Soybean,

I've got a 1948 Martin Committee that I play on sometimes. It's been relacquered....It has a non-original 1952 Commitete neck........It has rivet pads (no resonators)..........But DAMN!!!!!! That horn is the best sounding horn I've every played. Very balanced sound that is just MONSTROUS even without resos. I wouldn't call it a bright sounding horn, but it has a clarity?........purity?.........focus?..... in the midrange that I have never heard in tenor. I have been looking for a modern horn with this sound for a long time.

I drove out to Sax Alley to try a bunch of unbelievable horns with that sound in mind. The only thing that came close was a really old brass King Zephyr, but it was quite a bit brighter than I prefered. Of the modern horns, I was really surprised by a used, black lacquer Yamaha Custom. Had some of that clarity in the midrange, but it was missing something in the tone. I had brought my CJS tenor along to compare. I can safely say my B&S is still one of the best horns I've ever played. I did try a Tino Schucht neck; darker and more stuffy. Tenor Madness necks, didn't really make a better difference in sound.

On a whim, I bought the Viking Lor neck that swperry1 was selling in the market place for a great price. The tenon matched mine. I'd read enough about them online to spark an interest. Lo and behold, the neck added quite a bit of clarity to the midrange of my CJS without really taking away too much of that lush sound that I bought the horn for. I'd been switching between the Martin and the CJS because sometimes I like hearing a different sound. Now I can switch between those sounds without having to adjust to very different ergonomics. For now the Viking neck is doing it for me. I don't doubt that the original neck will do it for me again. It's great having such simple options.

later

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Brian,

I hear you. I had a beast P. Mauriat 66R that I hand picked out of dozen 66r's. I sold that horn when I bought my CJS. My sound drives me to play, and I am really diggin' the way I sound with my B&S and the Viking LOR neck. Matches unbelievably well with a Phil-Tone Equinox that I just traded for.

later

Joel
 

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Very happy you found it!

Brian,

I hear you. I had a beast P. Mauriat 66R that I hand picked out of dozen 66r's. I sold that horn when I bought my CJS. My sound drives me to play, and I am really diggin' the way I sound with my B&S and the Viking LOR neck. Matches unbelievably well with a Phil-Tone Equinox that I just traded for.

later

Joel
 

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ALTO: Medusa- 82zii, TENOR: Medusa, BARI: b901, SOP: sc991
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…Lo and behold, the neck added quite a bit of clarity to the midrange of my CJS without really taking away too much of that lush sound that I bought the horn for.…
Thanks for the explanation Joel. That is very interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello all,

As I mentioned earlier, I've been playing a Viking Lor neck on my CJS tenor with a Phil-Tone Equinox mpc; a very unique, fat sound. Love it! A few weeks ago, I picked up D'Addario 7M tenor mpc. It's been a bit of a love/not-really-like-it relationship with the 7M. I just switched back to the original neck. Wow!! Reminds me of playing on an early Mark VI. Huge resonant sound. Dark, yet somehow bright at the same time?? None of that nasal sound, though. I think this is the BEST I've ever sounded on tenor. Sub-tones with ease, but it can cut through a big band without breaking up at full volume. If you have a B&S tenor, I recommend you try one of these D'Addario tenor pieces; it really plays like a custom piece. I bought mine shipped to my house for about $150. I now see Sax Alley is selling them for $139. BTW, the 7M also kills on my 1948 Martin. Different sound, but still killin'!!!!

later

Joel
 

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Figured I'd revive this old thread, rather than start another with the exact same title. If you want to skip the boring preamble about how I found my new CJS, just skip to the asterisks below.

So I've been thinking for a while about getting a vintage American or European backup tenor. I gravitate towards large-belled Germanic and Bohemian horns. Ideally, it'd have compact ergos like my TH&C B12, with a bit more focus than my very spread and edgy Armstrong 3055T-more like my Kohlert Bixley stencil, which is fairly spread but with a nice touch of core, but less demanding on the lungs.

I've been looking at old Bundys, Bueschers, Beaugniers, Vito-Beaugniers, Coufs, New King Stencils, Armstrong Heritages, and also some used modern horns from Eastmans, Cannonball, Trevor James, Seawind and Rampone-though my limited budget and chronic sense of romance disqualifies most of the newer brands. I've also been seriously considering an old B&S 2001 or 2006, or B&S stencil, which isn't that old but still maybe considered vintage (or at least discontinued)? They don't seem to come up for sale too often at any rate. A few years back I missed out on a B&S 2001 in good condition for just $450, and it's haunted me ever since.

Several weeks ago, I was watching this beautiful B&S Chicago Jazz Series Earthtone tenor up for sale on feePay, but it was too expensive, and then was pulled from auction with no explanation. But as I sat sipping a beer in the afternoon heat wave, this CJS magically re-appeared, and I just sat there, slowly sipping and watching the clock as it counted down, determined not to give in and buy it, until it sold for a very reasonable price. At first, I congratulated myself on resisting the impulse purchase, but over the next several hours starting feeling serious remorse at not grabbing it. Had I missed out on my chance to own this rare and interesting horn?

Later that night, after the mercury had subsided to comfortable levels, I was out on the deck enjoying my second (or was it my third?) beer, when this B&S magically re-appeared yet again. Apparently the original bidder backed out, and it was listed at just below the last highest bid. Maybe it was the four beers, but I could only take this lost horn's sudden manifestation as a minor miracle, and grabbed it on the spot. I've never bought a horn off yePay before, let alone so spontaneously. It was a real rush, a dizzying, almost drunken feeling. Though that might've been the six-pack.

Well the horn finally arrived from across the pond. Following ptung's excellent advice in another thread, I was determined to let it rest under a nine-day quarantine, out of sight of my gf's beautiful but curious eyes. (And if you see her please don't mention this new acquisition until I've found a way to break the news.) It took a ton of willpower not to rip open the packaging, or to confess to my impulse purchase. But I was resolved to follow pandemic protocols, and waited a full 8.5 days before caving.

************** BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HORN!!???? **************

It's gorgeous, even when compared to my loverly TH&C. I completely agree with Helen of bassic-sax that these sandblast (aka earthtone) Chicago Jazz Series horns are the most beautiful that B&S produced, even if the heavily engraved style and sandblast finish isn't for everyone. Personally, I prefer it to really shiny horns. The finish is mostly intact on this baby too, though I fear it may not stay that way (and any suggestions for keeping it pretty are welcome!)

It's not as heavy as I'd expected from some reports, and is lighter than my Bixley. I'm no expert when it comes to keywork, but it does have the non-stick G# mechanism and a weird double arm on B1, though not the adjustable palm keys. From Helen's site and older threads, I gather the CJS is a kind of hybrid of a 2001 and 2006 model, or possibly a 2001 Series IV? My SN is later than 015447, which is when Helen says they were updated from 2001 to 2006 specs. Not sure of just when that happened though-maybe early 2000s? I'll post some pics soon for those who understand these things better.

The springs feel fairly stiff, almost new, and the key heights are set moderately high. The pads have huge resos, and seem to be in pretty good shape, though I'll be taking it into my tech for a once-over when the coast is clear. Ergos are nice, though my TH&C is a bit more comfy, and I generally prefer inline tone holes to an offset stack. The pinky table's a bit of a reach (I don't have massive paws), but better than my Armstrong's. Probably I just need to get used to the tilting pinky table, which is a new one on me. The octave key placement will take a bit of practice as well: it's off to the right of the thumbrest, and not nearly as usable as my TH&C's octave key, which is the best I've tried. The horn has slightly dished key touches, like my Armstrong, so they seem familiar at least.

I've only had a couple hours on it so far, and my practice room has lousy acoustics. But it definitely seems to have more core than my beefy Armstrong or Kohlert, and more focus than my beloved Buescher TH&C B12, or maybe just a different kind of focus. I'm not really getting the French vibe that some attribute to B&S horns; more like a gutsy Conn spirit, from where I stand. It's a tad more resistant than the TH&C, if still quite free-blowing, and very responsive. But I'm finding it necessary to focus my airflow more with the CJS, though it takes less air than the Kohlert, which has a huge bell and is probably leaky. (I bought it out the back of a van.) It also seems a bit louder than my TH&C, though that could be because the tone's brighter and more centred.

The intonation seems better even than the TH&C, though isn't so locked in as to be inflexible. And the palm keys and altissimo seem easier to speak and fuller to me than the Buescher's. Overall, the tone seems more even throughout the registers, though some of that likely falls to user error. I'm not a very good player.

Still trying to find the ideal mouthpiece and reed combo from what's in my drawer. With Rigottis and Java Greens, my go-to piece of late, a d'Addario Select Jazz, sounds oddly strained. But this B&S was much more friendly to every other piece I tried, including my modern Link, which usually sounds extremely stuffy, and a Vandoren V16 (like the OP of this thread), which rang almost too clear for me. My Morgan Excalibur and Saxscape Hudson sound a bit bright and delicate on the CJS, while my Berg SS 105/0 offset M sounds great, though I don't always want that characteristic Berg sound. The top contenders so far are my trusty old Klum Focustone Acoustimer, my 10mfan Robusto prototype, and a Drake NY Jazz, which is currently my favourite.

All this is from behind the horn, though, and after just a few hours' playing, so MOMMV. I'll try to add updates and some pics, for anyone who's still reading.
 

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That rules, ZootTheSim... you scored for sure, and I'm jealous. I really, REALLY wish I would have known about the greatness of B&S horns when they were making all WWBW's lines like Allora and Chicago Jazz. I would have bought one of each. I scour the web from time to time looking for deals on those brands and they very rarely come up. Sometimes I wonder if there's a warehouse full of back-stock somewhere near South Bend, Indiana...
 
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