As you've probably heard thousands of times before, TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. That being said, in my opinion I found the SX90R to be a very responsive sax and it felt like it projected well and gave a bright and full tone that would be great for jazz, but I found the 82z to be just as good with the jazz and still be able to handle classical great to. That's just from my experience with the two, everyone has different experiences so definitely give the two horns a try before you make a decision
In my experience with it, the horn just seemed a little too bright for classical work. That was just my personal run-in with the horn, for others it might be quite the opposite, but I felt as if it's timbre didn't fit classical as well.
I've played both. Apples and oranges. They can both work, you just have to get used to the horn.
Although I loved a Couf and a Buffet, which are IMO close in sound concept to a JK, for some reason, I just didn't get the kind of classical sound on the JK that I look for. In all fairness, it's a Selmerish- very traditional sound that I like on alto and why make a JK get to that point over time and with experimenting with mouthpieces and reeds, when I can just get a Selmer and already be there?
Having said that, there are others I've heard who get a wonderful classical sound on the JK. I guess it's how much work you want to put into it, what your classical sound concepts is in the first place, and even if you're a Rascherian player. To repeat, if I was going to have a like-minded alto for classical and other style playing, my first preference would be the Couf (which I believe actually was made by JK) or a Buffet and the JK last of those.
The Yamaha Z I think is a more middle of the road instrument, maybe leaning towards jazz but very versatile. Plays well, is superbly built, etc, but I just don't get along with the tone of the Zs. They are just too much of a white-noise base to the tone quality. Again, to contradict this like I did above, I've heard both classical and jazz players on the Z who make it more one way or the other than I do when I play it.
Like I said, "apples and oranges". It's up to you.
I had tried a Keilwerth tenor quite some time ago, I for me I noticed its tone more in the strident direction compared to my Mk VI tenor which had more of a cello sound. This seems to agree with cndewaary's comments about the JK alto.
Of course if the 82Z isn't quite right there is the 875EX too....
MM - if you got a "strident' tone from the JK tenor, then I would suggest that maybe you didn't have enough time with it or needed other equipment. JK tenor is my choice of tenor and it can be a very resonant sound. I've played it in a wind ensemble and it fit right in. Nothing strident at all.
Both are amazing horns, as ever try lots of them. I love both and have had 1 JKSX90R tenor, 2 altos and soprano. Loved them. As with Yamahas I've had a lot of them and just think for me the Z is nicer, a tad more free, more edge and nicer ergos. I tested the nickel silver JK SX90R and that was the best JK tenor I'd blew. Very nice. Both horns have there own voice so its your likes really.
I play a JK SX90R alto (and a tenor as well). I like the horns, but should point out the the key work is bit more 'clunky' than other horns and takes while to get used to the feel. Also, the SX90R's require larger cases due to the oversized bell, which can be a pain for air travel.
Ref the JK's ergos, although I've read here a number of times it being described as "clunky", I just don't feel that way. I don't think there's anything more efficient than the Selmer III series, but I enjoy the feel of a JK. I had played a YTS 82Z for more than a year (also with excellent ergos) but kept the JK that had previously been my primary tenor, and one day, out of curiosity, I got the JK out and from the moment I began playing, it was like, "OK, I'm home now". The feel (including ergos) just felt so familiar and comfortable. Additionally, I sold the Yamaha and went back to playing the JK. It was just "Old Home Week" on the JK, which just felt really comfortable.
I have them both here, as well alto & tenor (SX90R nickel silver vs 82Z UL) and played both extensively.
I find the yamaha's to be more suitable for multiple purposes.
It's indeed, as has been said before, comparing apples and oranges, the bore of the horns is totally different and so are the sonic qualities.
The JK's have a more broad, fat tone, the yamaha's a more focused, but still fat sound.
I have a preference for the yamaha's because they're more flexible and they play so easy.
Ergonomics are very different, but that's something you can get used to.
The altissimo on the JK's is a little harder. The high G can be tricky on the JK and on the yamaha it just pops out.
In the end it depends on what your own sound concept on your horn is...
Either would work just fine in a large jazz band setting. Mouthpiece/reed choice will make a much bigger difference than whatever slight tonal differences there are between these two horns. They do have different feels/key layouts, however, so you should definitely try both to see which feels better. The Yamaha has a more typical feel than the JK, but plenty of folks like the way the JK feels.
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