I have recently purchased another instrument for inclusion on the site, a bass saxophone. It is a Holton labeled Conn stencil. Some dates suggest 1926 as the year of manufacture but I’m not certain. The finish is a black enamel paint of unknown age.

I first saw this horn back in 2008  on eBay when it was purchased by a regular on the website Saxontheweb.org. I don’t remember how much it was exactly when it sold but i remember wishing I had the money for such a fun looking horn. It wasn’t until early September 2014 that I spotted it again. I know which person bought it back in ’08 and i assume the fellow I bought it from got it from him. Either way I can trace its last few years pretty accurately and now it is in my hands and is a welcome addition to the family.

The horn survived shipping well, aside from leaks and maybe some tweaking from the 5 days in the back of a UPS trailer. These images are from the auction. When I get the horn back from the shop I’ll take new ones. I am quite tempted to strip the horn and have it silver plated. In all likelihood this horn was bare brass originally but a silver plate would really set this girl off.

The neck is not original as you might have notice but it plays in tune and the ergonomics of the tenor styled bend makes playing with a harness much easier. A huge bonus is the case. Normally this case is between $599 and $1200 by itself. I got a great deal. Look forward to hearing more bass around this place!

The month of December was a busy one here at the MBS shed. Holiday gigs galore and working a daytime job made for a busy December. But now that the new year has arrived new content is due to hit the site. Including reviews of the popular Lebayle AT mouthpiece, and a vintage Selmer scroll shank metal piece, as well as recordings that I have been acquiring all December. These include albums by the European Saxophone Ensemble and an album by Carl Maraghi. Yes, this year will be fun. Of course I am always looking for more music including baritone music created by you the readers. If you have any tips or requests please let me know.

I’ve also added Youtube videos and links to purchase albums to many album reviews. It’s becoming a regular request as to where to get a particular album.

Stay tuned, this is going to be a fun year.

It’s been a busy 2 weeks around the MBS space. My day job has become a day and night job and reviewing music and products had to take a slight back seat as I struggled to find enough practice time. But things are getting back in line and it’s time to start writing again.

Coming up soon is a review of a great album of yesterday..  Baritone Madness..

With a line up this it would have to be great. Or would it?
Pepper Adams (saxophone)
Nick Brignola (saxophone)
Ted Curson (trumpet)
Roy Haynes (drums)
Dave Holland (bass)
Derek Smith (piano)


Also on the agenda is a review of a mouthpiece I just had to try. It is the largest mouthpiece I’ve every played. I’ll be including some sound samples as well..

Stay tuned, and thank s for keeping this place up and running.

I know some have complained that the comment system was a pain so I am try this new system by the makers of wordpress. It promises to make leaving comments easier and less hassle for the readers. Please let me know if you don’t like the new system.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed of discussed anything but there is a good reason. I’ve been waiting for several albums to arrive from Amazon. There is nothing worse than having to wait but i prefer to have physical CD’s and the inserts to go with them. I still rip them to flac or mp3 but I like to start with a physical CD.

So what is on the horizon for MBS?

The albums:

Roots and Branches – Shirantha Beddage
Movin’ On – Claire Daly
Sign the Book – Jason Marshall
Baritone Sunride – Dale Fielder Quartet

The books:
The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music by Victor Wooten
Studies and Improvisations for Saxophone – Bud Freeman
John Coltrane Patterns – Compiled by Eric Dannewitz

This is just a touch of what I will be talking about in the coming weeks. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Quick update: Amazon and the Us post have been working hard to bring me new material to listen to and share. The first album is Jim Hartog’s 1989 release “From here to there”.  The next album is The Brian Landrus Quartet’s 2011 release “Traverse”. I won’t lie, I am excited to spend quality time with this recording as I am a bit musically smitten with Brian Landrus’s tone and swing. The third album is Adam Schroeder’s 2010 release “A handful of stars”. Sadly I am not sure that I will be able to start listening to this album until next month but I am looking forward to it. This album has a fantastic rhythm section made up of drums, bass and guitar. This should make for a compact and focused sounding quartet when paired with Schroeder’s baritone. 

Be on the lookout and if you have any recordings that you think I would like please comment or email and let me know.

In an effort for full disclosure this is not a review but an overview of an idea I had and finally I am going to give it a go. Read on and tell me what you think. If this works I will be able to use the proceeds to keep getting more albums and equipment to review.

I have long wondered why reed manufacturers didn’t offer the musician a means of trying different reeds on their setups. Then it dawned on me, greed. By not offering “variety packs” or mixed reed packs there is only two ways to experiment. The first is to go down to your local mom and pop music shop and open a few boxes, if they let you, and buy individually or the other option is to buy a box of each type of reed that you want to try. For most the option of buying a box of each type of reed that you want to experiment with is prohibitively expensive. There are over 20 reed varieties produced by more than 5 reed manufacturers excluding Chinese produced reeds. Buying a box of each could set you back hundreds of dollars.

Inspired by this I felt I could help horn players find the reeds that worked for them at an affordable price. What did I do? I created Reeds Plus Inc.. Idea is to bundle individual reeds which share a common traits and strengths and offer them to the  consumer. How does it work? For example, Rico produces many types of reeds but there are some that share a common trait but brings a different color palate. The unfiled reeds make for excellent reeds with punch so our first bundle will be: La Voz, Rico Orange Box, Select Jazz Unfiled. Each manufacturer will have it’s own bundle matched in strength.

I will start by offering reeds for tenor but will quickly move to bari and alto. With demand I hope to expand. as you can see below here is the first unit ready to go. The reeds are prepped and attached to a info card which has a description of the individual reeds.  Here is the process I use for preparation:

Reed Prep Process 
Boxes are opened in a clean lint free environment while wearing latex free gloves
A quick visual scan for nicks, chips, splits, and worm holes are done
The reeds are then slid into bags and quickly sealed
If the reed is factory packaged in individual foil packs they skip the previous step
The reeds are then cataloged and stored away from sunlight
When an order is placed the reeds are attached to their order card and prepped for shipping.

The website will be up as soon as I pick a hosting company but in the mean time check out my ebay auction.  As I add stock I will be releasing additional packs. Next up is unfiled (3.0, 3.5) Filed (2.5, 3.0, 3.5). Let me know what you think.
Reeds Plus Home Page

*** UPDATE ***
The business and site is now down but it has been a roller coaster ride. A new venture will take its place very soon.

Ok I have decided to get with the times and utilize Twitter. If  you would like to follow this blog via twitter and be updated on what is happening then search Twitter for @ModernBariSax .