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Distinguished SOTW Member
Alto: YAS-62S Conn Trany 6M Jupiter JAS-868 JAS-769 / Tenor: YTS-23 & 52 P. Mauriat 66R Holton 241
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And if you play "In the Mood", the 2nd alto part is the hardest of all the parts. :(
That's true! I play first alto saxophone since more than 20 years and I think the second saxophone parts are way more challenging than the first alto parts, I the mood is a clear example of that. Also, it's very difficult to make these parts to sound nice far more difficult than to make the first alto parts to sound nice.

I remember a couple times being 3 altos the director preferred to duplicate alto 2 instead alto 1, that's because the importance of the alto 2 part in the section voicing/colour.

Playing alto 2 you can have "your moment" when playing themes with improvised solos. The trumpet 2 player is usually who plays the improvised solos, while the trumpet 1 player has a better register and a more solid playing.
 
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