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I think it was the Keilwerth soprano thread where it was revealed that Keilwerth only makes three (3) sopranos a month (did I read that correctly?) that it hit me that sopranos are out of fashion. Do you think I'm correct about this? I see very few sopranos saxes in the subway and on stage in NYC these days. Also, I hear much less discussion about them when talking shop with other sax players IRL (not sure about SOTW.) In the late 80's (when I started paying attention) through the early Aughts - there were lots of cool, experimental or weird sax players prominently playing Soprano - John Lurie, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Steve Lacey...but I don't see or hear much, except Sam Newsome playing the Soprano exclusively.

Have others noticed this? Am I offbase?
 

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Well, in my mind low ebb in jazz was the late 50s and in popular music pretty much right up till Grover Washington hit big in the early 80s. I don't think it's to that level.
 

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There's also a much bigger manufacturer base with Chinese at the low end and Taiwanese horns with very high quality for what would be considered intermediate pricing by the big manufacturers.

That's seriously cutting into the big 4s market share.

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I don't know; I see so many sopranos offered for sale, the Yamahas, Yanagisawas and Chinese/Taiwanese especially, that I can't believe people aren't playing a lot of soprano these days. I think Keilwerth is kind of gradually sinking out of sight for reasons I don't really understand, not just sopranos but all their saxes. I know they've had some ownership changes and that often wreaks havoc on especially a small craft-oriented company. Keilwerths were super popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but now I don't seem to see them in catalogs and such nearly as much.

If your experience is mostly what you see in New York City I doubt that it's representative of the rest of the USA or of the rest of the world.

I have a suspicion that the NYC jazz scene is probably the most fad-ridden in the country just like san Francisco is the most fad-ridden consumer market ($5.00 toast, anyone?).
 

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I don't know; I see so many sopranos offered for sale, the Yamahas, Yanagisawas and Chinese/Taiwanese especially, that I can't believe people aren't playing a lot of soprano these days. I think Keilwerth is kind of gradually sinking out of sight for reasons I don't really understand, not just sopranos but all their saxes. I know they've had some ownership changes and that often wreaks havoc on especially a small craft-oriented company. Keilwerths were super popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but now I don't seem to see them in catalogs and such nearly as much.

If your experience is mostly what you see in New York City I doubt that it's representative of the rest of the USA or of the rest of the world.

I have a suspicion that the NYC jazz scene is probably the most fad-ridden in the country just like san Francisco is the most fad-ridden consumer market ($5.00 toast, anyone?).
Really? Where did you find the bargain on toast? I read a restaurant review about a place here in Sacramento (90 mi. east of SF) where a side a steamed veggies is $15. Five dollar toast sounds like a deal in SF where the poverty level income is $89k.
 

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I don't know; I see so many sopranos offered for sale, the Yamahas, Yanagisawas and Chinese/Taiwanese especially, that I can't believe people aren't playing a lot of soprano these days. I think Keilwerth is kind of gradually sinking out of sight for reasons I don't really understand, not just sopranos but all their saxes. I know they've had some ownership changes and that often wreaks havoc on especially a small craft-oriented company. Keilwerths were super popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but now I don't seem to see them in catalogs and such nearly as much.
From my point of view, JK seems to have become narrower and more specialized. It was always more of a jazz-leaning brand than the other members of the Big Four, but today that niche seems smaller than ever. I used to play an SX90II soprano; today, that model doesn't exist. Keilwerth doesn't make a professional soprano with any kind of curved-neck option. The clock has been rolled back to 1970 or so. As to your catalog point, Kessler still sells Keilwerth altos and tenors, but has dropped their sopranos. Same for the WW&BW. I agree with you that this is more likely attributable to JK's weakness than to general soprano weakness.

Yanagisawa introduced its WO straight sopranos last year, and has just rolled out its WO curved sops. The mere existence of these new models doesn't say anything definitive about the soprano market, but if the situation were truly dire, I'm sure the company would have been cautious about making the investments.

Finally, my impression is that the soprano sax is more popular than ever in classical circles. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that classical music is today the single most important arena for the soprano saxophone. Solo works are proliferating, and of course every sax quartet has a soprano. I realize that this may be a bit outside the normal SOTW radar. :)
 

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I don't know; I see so many sopranos offered for sale, the Yamahas, Yanagisawas and Chinese/Taiwanese especially, that I can't believe people aren't playing a lot of soprano these days. I think Keilwerth is kind of gradually sinking out of sight for reasons I don't really understand, not just sopranos but all their saxes. I know they've had some ownership changes and that often wreaks havoc on especially a small craft-oriented company. Keilwerths were super popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but now I don't seem to see them in catalogs and such nearly as much.
It’s because new horns for the jazz player is such a small market. How many serious jazz players are looking for a brand new horn at $5000-6000 vs a Mark VI or a cheaper Taiwanese horn?

The new high end horns are purchased by serious students and classical players, and Keilwerth had never had a share of that market. I know it doesn’t seem that way, but the market for new horns is much, much bigger in the classical market than it is in the jazz market.


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Really? Where did you find the bargain on toast? I read a restaurant review about a place here in Sacramento (90 mi. east of SF) where a side a steamed veggies is $15. Five dollar toast sounds like a deal in SF where the poverty level income is $89k.
No lie. You'd be lucky to find a place where you could get a slice of artisanal avocado toast for less than $10 these days. Maybe if you order it without the poached egg and sprouts.
 

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Is a "Low Ebb" the same as the D below the staff?
It must be, because “ebb” is already low, so “low ebb” is redundant, and we know that wouldn’t happen.
 

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I think it was the Keilwerth soprano thread where it was revealed that Keilwerth only makes three (3) sopranos a month (did I read that correctly?) that it hit me that sopranos are out of fashion. Do you think I'm correct about this? I see very few sopranos saxes in the subway and on stage in NYC these days. Also, I hear much less discussion about them when talking shop with other sax players IRL (not sure about SOTW.) In the late 80's (when I started paying attention) through the early Aughts - there were lots of cool, experimental or weird sax players prominently playing Soprano - John Lurie, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Steve Lacey...but I don't see or hear much, except Sam Newsome playing the Soprano exclusively.

Have others noticed this? Am I offbase?
Who cares what others are doing? It really doesn’t matter. To follow is a waste of time. To lead....means everything. Soprano is an amazing instrument! I smell opportunity! Mmmmmmm
 

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It seems that way to me, but no one ever seems to agree! :)
It is a fact, when you take school and university players into account. They aren’t buying Mark VIes, unless they are jazz majors. They’re buying Series III Selmers and Yamahas.

Just look at any city’s jazz venues and how many different guys play there. Lets say there’s a club where a different saxophonist is booked every night. So that’s seven guys.

At the university down the street, you probably have at least double that in just the performance and music ed undergrads, plus the masters students and doctoral students. There are probably a few kids who just want a new horn for college that will just play in the university (non-marching, non-music major) band. And there are a lot more universities than there are jazz venues. These kids are the ones wanting NEW horns as opposed to vintage horns. If you take high school kids into account, there are just generally a lot more people playing on a classical setup than a jazz setup. How many S80 C* mouthpieces do you think are sold vs any other mouthpiece out there? (Possible exception being a Meyer 5M, but band directors still think it’s a classical mouthpiece.)

Serious jazz players don’t want NEW horns either. They want Mark VIes. Or some other horn like a Conn 10M or King Super 20. The new horn jazz market is limited in that way.

Now, I’m not taking into account hobbyists, but again, they are not as likely to buy a new horn either. At best, that’s probably a 50/50 wash.

So, yes, there are more classical saxophonists than jazz saxophonists, or at least more people playing on a “classical” setup.


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Some companies like Yanagisawa or Rampone& Cazzani have made a name especially with sopranos ( Rampone also offers a so called saxello along with straight and curved and they offer several versions of many of these not only the R1 Jazz) and might sell way more sopranos than Keilwerth.

Anyway, yes, typically around here (NL) at a Jam session there is a ratio of 75% Tenor to 20% Alto and the remaining 5% is shared between baritones and sopranos. Few and far between.


Generally the soprano is the weapon of choice of some players who tend to stick to it, but it is rare as the Baritone is (outside the Big Band where one is common).

Aside from the Jazz scene, where the soprano might be less popular now than it was some years ago, there are many more other contexts where it thrives.


Folk based music and free Jazz do have a rather higher soprano appreciation. Similarly also in Classical music (or music played by and classical orchestral ensemble) there are players


Apparently one of the most popular saxophones in many Asian countries ( which expains the immense popularity of Kenny G there) and perhaps also in Balkan/Klezmer music where it sometimes replaces the more traditional tarogato or clarinet.

But also on other types of music you may find the occasional soprano player.





 

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I think it says more about Keilwerth than it does the sop in general. Honestly, I hear so little about Keilwerth sops that I didnt even recall that they made one. I did not believe they didnt...it just never crossed my mind. The fact that its so easy to overlook potentially implies a lot about the focus of the company.
 

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I think it says more about Keilwerth than it does the sop in general. Honestly, I hear so little about Keilwerth sops that I didnt even recall that they made one. I did not believe they didnt...it just never crossed my mind.
I think Buffet might have one coming in the Senzo line at some point. They can’t produce a line of saxophones for classical players without it.


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Perhaps you should listen to Dave Liebman then? Here he speaks about Keilwerth and his saxophones.

Listen to all this interview/concert, it will reveal a few things on Keilwerth saxophones (he talks about them and compares them too)!

He says here “ I really like the sound, especially in the low register, these ones (the Keilwerth sopranos) have a low register to die for” “ You know the soprano problem is to get a deep sound”.

From the public... “ I find it fuller” Liebman “ I agree that’s why I play it!”.


He is most certainly right! My only exception to what he says is that I find the mechanics of Keilwerth saxophones bigger and less comfortable than other brands but they have absolutely a sound to die for.



typed from a 21” screen, at home :twisted:
 

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Perhaps you should listen to Dave Liebman then? Here he speaks about Keilwerth and his saxophones.

Listen to all this interview/concert, it will reveal a few things on Keilwerth saxophones (he talks about them and compares them too)!

He says here “ I really like the sound, especially in the low register, these ones (the Keilwerth sopranos) have a low register to die for” “ You know the soprano problem is to get a deep sound”.

From the public... “ I find it fuller” Liebman “ I agree that’s why I play it!”.


He is most certainly right! My only exception to what he says is that I find the mechanics of Keilwerth saxophones bigger and less comfortable than other brands but they have absolutely a sound to die for.



typed from a 21” screen, at home :twisted:
The one piece JK sopranos are awesome. The two piece ones had a lot of problems with palm key response, so I think their sopranos got a bad rap. That DLS model is something special though.

I’m curious to see if Buffet makes a Senzo based on it. A DLS with a curved neck would really be something.


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I have owned and sold several old and new Keilwerths soprano ( Keiwlerth is one of the brands I find the most around here, not quite so many sopranos that are loather for no good reason from the people who play classical music, often these are band director prejudices ) also a SX90 III with interchangeable necks (of which I preferred the straight one).

The SX 90 soprano series has one of the most complex mechanisms of any saxophone that I have ever seen, not easy to regulate, methinks, but once is regulated...Wow!

The last Keilwerth that I bought and sold was a late Toneking . A very nice sax great tone! the keys feel bigger than other horns in your hands.

It came from a professional player who playes in a important orchestra which HAD to buy a Yanagisawa because the director was convinced that the sound of her Keilwerth wouldn’t “ blend”.
 

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I’m not sure that most young people would hear Dave Liebman and think “I gotta get a Keilwerth Soprano!” Kirk Whalum probably but I think he plays a Keilwerth tenor and alto but unfortunately Yamaha soprano.

I guess I was under the impression that the soprano sax is alive and well.
 
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