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I never thought his sound was his strong point at all. Frigin' sharp all the time, and hard to listen to because of it!
I liked his early playing, but WHAT he played, HOW he played it, and the inspiration behind it---were his strong points for me, personally.

Unfortunately, he just doesnt sound very good or play well to me in the original video posted.
Sounds like a Berg in the video. There arent too many guys that can tame the high baffle of some of those old berg altos... Dick Oats can.

If we're talking about SOUND---Phils sound rips Jackies apart at any tempo. IMHO

You can add Stitt and Cannonball to the list of guys whose sound I dig much more on alto.

I never listened to Jackie for his sound...that was always the weakest point of his playing to me.
 

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The best angled shot of the mouthpiece that I see is at 3:22, but it's distant. I'd say the shank looks Berg-like, but that's hardly definitive. The ligature might be a BG metal tradition like this



...but unless someone has far better eyesight than I do, I don't think you are going to get a definitive answer.

Among HR pieces, I think he played a Berg much more than a Meyer, so I'd be a little surprised if it were a Meyer. I think he also played a Beechler for at least a little while in the 70s, but this video is much later than that.
 

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Berg & Winslow.

Yes, Jackie often played sharp -- a tendency he was aware of and didn't discourage -- but whatever his intonation he had the biggest, most powerful saxophone sound I've ever encountered. It was -- like his deeply swinging rhythmic feel and phrasing -- an integral part of his musical message, and it really hit you in your gut and in your heart. Frankly, compared to Jackie most other altoists sound like so much weak tea.
 

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I'm not familiar with the Winslow, but sniffing around on the Intertubes, yeah, that's what he's playing: on the left is a Winslow tenor lig -- note the circular hole and the little Frankenstein rivet sticking out above it; and on the right is a screen grab from the YouTube...



I *LOVE* Jackie's playing, including his sound -- his intonation is an integral part of his tone, making it bracing and astringent -- to my mind it's a great "delivery system" for his ideas. (He is almost always sharp; it's less appealing, for me, on the rare times when he's flat, like on some of those live SteepleChase recordings with Dexter...)

(Von Freeman's another guy who requires sort of "buying into" his pitch in order to dig his playing ... which I do!)

There arent too many guys that can tame the high baffle of some of those old berg altos... Dick Oats can.
Oatts plays a 90/2M -- is that really a high baffle? I've got a 90/2M and it looks pretty darn comparable to my Meyers...
 

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I dont know if Dicks piece has a higher baffle or not...I've never seen it in person, but as I said, "of some of those old Berg altos"...

Thats why guys like to play them. Big sound with pop, and easy blowing.

Dick has the best Berg alto sound out there. I dont know if his 2 has a higher baffle or not. I have well over 100 vintage Bergs here, and the number system on those isnt very reliable.
Inconsistencies everywhere, just like Brilhart. Ive had pieces marked with a #3, that blow super bright, and "0"'s that play more like #2's. You just never know. :)

All I know is Dicks sound is excellent on his Berg.


(If youre looking for a backup---I have a dozen 90/2 offset hard rubber alto Bergs here. M's and SMS's.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
the magnified pic shows the shank of a Meyer, wouldn't you agree? kelly, do u think u coudl magnify the picture in the end which also shows the tip of the mouthpiece? if it is very steep, than it is a Berg.....cheers, dj
 

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Funny to contemplate Hodges and McLean playing the "same" (Berg at least) model mouthpiece. I know they probably differed a lot, but you'd think you could hear something in common in their respective sounds.
I'm always thinking the same thing when someone mentions "the Mark VI sound," and images of Paul Desmond and David Sanborn try to fuse in my mind...
 

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Dick has the best Berg alto sound out there. I dont know if his 2 has a higher baffle or not. I have well over 100 vintage Bergs here, and the number system on those isnt very reliable.
Inconsistencies everywhere, just like Brilhart. Ive had pieces marked with a #3, that blow super bright, and "0"'s that play more like #2's. You just never know. :)

All I know is Dicks sound is excellent on his Berg.
That's why I asked: you're the guy who'd know! And yeah: Dick Oatts sounds *amazing* on his Berg...

Fer what it's worth, I took this photo for another thread a while back [NOTE: just because I take photos like this does not mean I don't lead a rich, full, interesting life...], featuring from left to right:

Meyer 5M refaced by Jon Van Wie to a 6M
Phil-tone .078
Brancher L21
Berg Larsen 90/2 M



I tried to reveal the baffles and chambers as much as possible. Aside from the Brancher, which is sort of the odd kid, I was surprised that the Berg doesn't really look all that different from the others: doesn't have the rollover, and doesn't have the rounded sidewalls, but doesn't look like it got more baffle than the others, either (*if* I'm using the terms correctly...)

the magnified pic shows the shank of a Meyer, wouldn't you agree? kelly, do u think u coudl magnify the picture in the end which also shows the tip of the mouthpiece? if it is very steep, than it is a Berg.....cheers, dj
Messed with that a little bit, but it's pretty tough to determine from the video...
 

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I never thought his sound was his strong point at all. Frigin' sharp all the time, and hard to listen to because of it!




I never listened to Jackie for his sound...that was always the weakest point of his playing to me.
I was trying to be kind. Better sharp than out of tune. Sound has nothing to do with intonation. If you want to hear sharp or out of tune, check out Charlie Rouse or Gene Ammons. It is just not as easy to hear on tenor.

It seems that after 60 years of playing the sax he could have at least learned the head to Confirmation.
 

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Oatts plays a 90/2M -- is that really a high baffle? I've got a 90/2M and it looks pretty darn comparable to my Meyers...
Actually Dick told me he plays on a 95/0
 
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