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I know what I am looking for but as I read another thread I was wondering; is there an opinion, as there always is, on what one would define as the American sound/Vintage?
 

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Listen to any big band from the 30's or 40's
 

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It is the old Jazz sound from the good old days of Jazz.
20's, 30's, and 40's. They are primarily made by Vintage American horns. IE Martin, Conn, Buescher.
 

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Carbs said:
It is the old Jazz sound from the good old days of Jazz.
20's, 30's, and 40's. They are primarily made by Vintage American horns. IE Martin, Conn, Buescher.
...by vintage American sax players.:D

But seriously, I identify a sound by it's iconic player.
 

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Bar-Ron: Good question! I don't think it exists - another saxophone myth, in my view. It is the player!!! I doubt if anyone could tell me which of my saxophones I used without seeing it. DAVE
 

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Is it just a Saxophone Urban myth, probably. As Dave said it is probably the player. However in many cases it is the horn as well. I am not talking pro, or begginer horns, I am talking the way vintage horns were made, vs. the way that they were made today. I have noticed with my Vintage horn, that it has the sweetest sound, and boy will it sing. Do I think that it is just the horn, no. Is it partly me ;) Yeah probably.
But I like to think its the horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wonder what Vintage players sounded like live?

When I listen to older recordings, I am of course hearing through the recording equipment of that day as compared to what today offers.

When I first played a Conn New wonder and was didling with mouthpieces, I'd swear when I put it through the paces on a Meyer it had a Selmerish color and tone to it accept the bell notes were less resonant. So in fact I was playing Vintage French sounding.

My ear likes a fatter, broader darker color to the tone so I am more of a Caravan/Morgan/Rascher type sound.

I thought if people started describing their interpretation of Vintage American sound they would find themselves describing their preferred sound, not necessarily a particular vintage horn. Then the question would arise; is that sound achievable on modern equipment..........probably.

Personally I like a Vintage American horns feel and the sound I like is achievable on a Conn, soprano, and alto. tenor I'm still perusing and bari's I have not yet begun to search out. I'm still at the Goldilocks stage with bari's.

I like dark, fat and powerful, but not in women, just the sax.
I suppose that is true of vintage too.
 

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American sound: Jazz & Blues.

It is appreciated around the world, probably more than in the country where it originated.
 

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Is not this thread about the tone of saxophones, American and otherwise? Not music styles? Reads like some posters are discussing styles and others are discussing tone.

Once recordings went electronic, I think the listener received/s a decent example of how an instrument sounded. I don't think we should confuse "recording quality" with "effects."

There is an amazing tenor sax solo by Coleman Hawkins from 1929 (discussed on SOTW before), much of Bechet's recorded material was done electronically, and Hodges, too. I do believe that studio recordings often change the way a horn sounds, as opposed to a live, acoustic performance.

I've heard some of the oldtimers play live. They sounded great. BUT, American-made vs. French-made? A myth. DAVE
 

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American sound

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say American sound is someone's euphemism for not having a French sound, e.g. Marcel Mule's. But then, what do I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dave Dolson said:
Is not this thread about the tone of saxophones, American and otherwise? Not music styles? Reads like some posters are discussing styles and others are discussing tone.

Once recordings went electronic, I think the listener received/s a decent example of how an instrument sounded. I don't think we should confuse "recording quality" with "effects."

There is an amazing tenor sax solo by Coleman Hawkins from 1929 (discussed on SOTW before), much of Bechet's recorded material was done electronically, and Hodges, too. I do believe that studio recordings often change the way a horn sounds, as opposed to a live, acoustic performance.

I've heard some of the oldtimers play live. They sounded great. BUT, American-made vs. French-made? A myth. DAVE
I was hoping people would relate what they believed American Sounds was not what American music is.

I think of it in a thicker more colored sense than a pure clean focused beam.
I like the Beuscher and Conn "bigness" of sound, maybe its more spread or complex, I don't know.

When saxes get so focused, almost pure and thin I think the instrument ceases to sound as the transition between woodwinds and trumpets.
I'm not totally Rascher in my sound as I find that a bit foggy sometimes, but I like dark and throaty.
My feeling is an American sound has some gutsiness to it. Some color and texture, less pure than a refined French whine.

I don't know what Louie Prima's band played for horns but I like their sound.
I am not too sure the sax makes the sound though it has an affect on its delivery for sure. The more I play my Conn the more I am drifting the sound to my preference, which in the end sounds like what I have grown accustomed to liking on other horns.
 

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hakukani said:
...by vintage American sax players.:D

But seriously, I identify a sound by it's iconic player.
charlie parker (cliche haha)-alto sax
Lester Young/eric Dolphy and coltrane(maybe....) -tenor sax
Pepper adams/ Gerry Mulligan -Bari sax

That's vintage...
 

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It's the player

I agree with Dave, it's the player.
Compare Kenny G sound and Christian Vaudecranne from Sac a Pulses. They both play Selmer MKVI and their sound is as opposite as north and south. Here is soundbites of Sac a Pulses http://cdbaby.com/cd/sacapulses and Kenny G you can find in any store that plays elevator music.

Speaking of recordings. Recently I got Hi-Fi bug and put together decent 2-channel system on the budget. And believe me, It took over a year to put together components that would give me a balanced sound that would not be bright or dull. Since then I can't stand artificiality in the sound. I have to listen to acoustic music from studios like Opus 3 (quality is outstanding of their Swedish Jazz Kings recording). Also Soprano Summit CD's and LP's with Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber, Sac a Pulses and others produced decent quality recordings where listener will be emerged in the music. Recordings of Paul Taylor, Tom Scott and others who plays modern stuff collects dust. I can't believe I used to listen to Kenny G. If people would listen his CD a decent system for 1 minute, they would throw that junk in a trash!
 

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From what I've gathered, when someone speaks of an "American sound" - especially versus a "French sound" - they're referring to a darker, more spread sound being more American and a somewhat brighter, more focused sound being more French, generally. However, I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Dolson here. The sound is what it is, and it's unnecessary, in a music this universal, to assume that a certain sound must typify a certain region. Player association is much more reasonable and accurate.
 

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American sound is more in the high medium frequencies, the sound of the RE20 Electrovoice microphone!
That was my contribution to this topic ....
 

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Bar-Ron said:
I wonder what Vintage players sounded like live?

When I listen to older recordings, I am of course hearing through the recording equipment of that day as compared to what today offers.
Check out the Norman Granz Jam Sessions Box Set on CD, originally recorded in the early 50's. It may be out of print, but I recently acquired it from an obscure seller and couldn't believe the sound quality. The set features a lot of great vintage Charlie Parker, and to be honest, almost sounds like it was recorded yesterday. It's odd for recordings from the EARLY 50s to sound this great. This gives you a good idea of what these players would have sounded like back in the 30s and 40s, since that's what Granz was trying to capture--the sound and style of the old Kansas City style jam session before the people who remembered and could still play in that style disappeared. It also features Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, a very young Stan Getz, and many more. After being disappointed over the years with one inferior Bird recording after another (in terms of recording quality mind you), I was floored when I stuck this in the player and heard Bird playing the blues with a sound quality that is so lacking in the classic Savoy and Dial recordings--though I still respect the historical significance of those discs.

Having said that, I agree with an earlier poster that there's a certain sweetness in the tone of those greats, whether they were playing on a Selmer (in the case of Webster) or a Buescher (in the case of Hodges). Can this warmth and sweetness be acheived on today's horns? Possibly some but not all of it IMHO. There is a certain "buzz and hum," as one of our more prominent members likes to put it, to the vintage saxes that is just lacking in the new horns. It's that sexy, raspy quality that the old KC School greats got when playing a ballad. You can do things with your vibrato and mouthpiece setup to mimic this sound, but it's hard to capture that complexity on a brand new Yamaha or Yani--they just play too darn clean! If you want to play smooth jazz, they're great!--but I'm more of the vintage persuasion in musical taste....
 

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Discussion Starter #19
vito said:
I agree with Dave, it's the player.
Compare Kenny G sound and Christian Vaudecranne from Sac a Pulses. They both play Selmer MKVI and their sound is as opposite as north and south. Here is soundbites of Sac a Pulses http://cdbaby.com/cd/sacapulses and Kenny G you can find in any store that plays elevator music.

Speaking of recordings. Recently I got Hi-Fi bug and put together decent 2-channel system on the budget. And believe me, It took over a year to put together components that would give me a balanced sound that would not be bright or dull. Since then I can't stand artificiality in the sound. I have to listen to acoustic music from studios like Opus 3 (quality is outstanding of their Swedish Jazz Kings recording). Also Soprano Summit CD's and LP's with Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber, Sac a Pulses and others produced decent quality recordings where listener will be emerged in the music. Recordings of Paul Taylor, Tom Scott and others who plays modern stuff collects dust. I can't believe I used to listen to Kenny G. If people would listen his CD a decent system for 1 minute, they would throw that junk in a trash!
Hey, I like that CD. Great recommendation.


On another topic, a few years ago I worked for a guy who asked me if i like Jazz as he was a Jazz lover....so he said.
Unfortunately I said yes and for the two weeks I was there he played his collection of Kenny G, geeeeeez my ears!!!

I didn't realize he was so bland, tasteless, uninspiring, mundane, cliche passe', repetitive, sleepy, and so unmemorable. I was thinking of Mitch Miller and his gang as an example of what what the G was to Jazz as Mitch was to pop. I pre apologize to Miller fans as that was almost a compliment to the; "G" willackers, is that a goose you are choking??.

You know if there was a grade in school, lower than an "F" it would be a "G".

Totally un-Amercan sound, for sure.
 

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in terms of the "american" sound in just a saxophone - I agree it doesn't exist. However I will say there is a difference in the general conception of an american saxophone and a french saxophone. the general difference (other than the key work) is that the bore is generally larger - and therefore gives a much bigger spread of sound. A french horn will generally have a smaller bore - which allows for a more compact sound.

a saxophonist makes his sound.
 
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