I’ve been asked why it is that you will never see reviews of music by Gerry Mulligan or Pepper Adams on this blog. They are arguably the most influential baritone players in jazz history after Harry Carney and quite possibly the most prolific. It is not as though i don’t don’t own plenty of both artists. In fact my favorite Mulligan album is  his 1957 release “Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi”. My favorite Adams album is his 1961 release “Out of This World: The Complete Warwick Sessions“.

I feel that every baritone saxophonist regardless of musical ambition should devote time and a little money into acquiring and devouring the music of these giants. These men have have defined their genre’s and redefined the role baritone saxophonists have in jazz music. The brilliant compositions of Mulligan and the effortlessness of Adam’s technique is without question the best thing that happened to baritone saxophones since its creation by Adolph Sax.

Now that I have doted over them I will explain why I won’t add to the cacophony of reviews already in print since the 1950’s. Critics from all walks of life and musical experience have reviewed the albums of both of these men throughout the ages. Is there anything new that I would hear that the calibrated ears of more practiced reviewers may have missed since the the original release date? In my practice I have not found a nuance in the music that has not been adequately discussed by other reviewers. With that in mind, and the fact that both of these men have since passed away, there is not likely to be a new release anytime soon unless like Tupac their holograms will be gracing a digital screen for new virtual performances.

Like many other bari players I simply listen to these sax titans and enjoy the magic of their creations for what they are, pure and simple joy. Joy as expressed on the apple of Adolph’s eye the Baritone Saxophone.

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.

What do you get when you combine the dinner scene from The Nutty Professor with the skill and talent of a world class saxophone player Ronnie Cuber? Why,  The Scene is Clean of course.

This latin inspired album surprised me constantly as Cuber plays nearly all of the woodwinds recorded. In any given track he has recorded at least two horns  parts. Whether he is playing two or three part harmonies over dubbed on alto, tenor and baritone or a soulful line on flute Cuber sounds true to each horn individually while bringing his unique improvisational style to each. It goes without saying that Cuber is quite likely the master of latin-bop baritone saxophone and it shows in spades on this album.
While it is not uncommon for artists to overdub parts on to a track to fill in the sound, complete a harmony or when additional musicians are not readily available. Whatever Cuber’s reason was it was a fantastic choice for the overall sound. It is this writers opinion the additional control over the sound was likely the reason for simply dubbing the additional saxophone voices. Thankfully his voice on each horn is unique enough that it doesn’t distract from the listening experience.

One has to appreciate the commitment Cuber makes to being stylistically authentic to his art. The second track Adoración by Eddie Palmieri is true to the salsa tradition while adding a dash of hard bop to the mix. On this track Cuber has scored it to sound nearly as full as Palmieri’s band of the 70’s. This happenes to be the only track in which their is anothe rhorn player. Lawrence Feldman accompanies Cuber on flute. Hands down this track is my favorite on the album but not by much as there is a lot to love. 
There are several Cuber originals in the mix. Arroz Con Pollo, Mezambo, and Fajardo. Arroz con pollo made a reappearance on this album from his 1991 album Cubism. I’m quite glad it did, Cuber included a more relaxed introduction to the song and gave the song a new improvised breath. Hearing him take the solo section in a new lyrical direction while maintaining a few ques from the previous recording I was very familiar with added a great deal to listening experience. 
Now what would a tried and true Cuber album be without a driving blues-rock piece? He did not disappoint on his track Tee’s Bag. This track features Joey De Francesco playing a smoking organ solo that is nearly the perfect example of how to systematically build a improvised solo. De Francesco builds his solo carefully and passionately, then in the style of great lyricists climaxes powerfully then rides it out with all the fire and brimstone of a southern minister. 
TAKE AWAY: Simply put, this album should be in your possession. At under $5 used on Amazon and under $10 new it is a steal for great music from a great artist. 
Performers
Ronnie Cuber – Baritone, Alto, Tenor, flute
Lawrence Feldman – Flute (track #2)
Geoff Keezer – Keyboards
Joey De Framcesco – Organ
George Wadenius – Guitar
Tom Barney – Bass (except tracks #2 & 4)
Reggie Washington – Bass (tracks #2 & 4)
Victor Jones – Drums
Manolo Badrena – Percussion and drums (except tracks #2 & 4)
Milton Cardona – Percussion and drums (tracks #2, 4 & 8 only)
Tracks
1. The Scene Is Clean 
2. Adoracion
3. Song For Pharoah
4. Arroz Con Pollo
5. Mezambo
6. Fajardo
7. Tee’s Bag
8. Flamingo

http://kcstage.blogspot.com

Normally I would be discussing the amazing phrasing, tone, and technique used on an album, but not this time. The reason is that this album is not yet released and may not be if we don’t help. Frank Basile is one of my favorites of the current generation baritonists and I have his album “Thursday the 12th” in my to-do list when it is in stock at Amazon. This yet to be released album looks to have all the Adam’ish flare and Frank’s unique voice all over it and it deserves to be shared with the community.

What can we do to help? Head over to his Kickstarter page and offer your support. Even $1 will help complete this project and if you donate enough you could find yourself being made dinner by Frank himself in his New York apartment. Frankly I’d take a 1 hour lesson any day.

Here is the link to his Kickstarter page. Frank Basile’s New Sextet Recording Please take a moment and do what you can to bring great jazz to everyone.  Lets not forget you would get bragging rites to partially funding the album of a top level musician.

**** UPDATE ****

Thanks to everyone for following the link above and helping fund his project. I will bring you my views on this album when i receive it. Keep an eye out!

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 .

Normally I would just buy albums from Amazon, Ebay, iTunes, and local stores to find new and or interesting bari-centric music to review. When I do it usually takes me about a month of listening to form a solid and semi-coherent opinion. I usually listen on my iPod, car radio, and PC for a week solid then take 2 weeks off followed by another week of listening. I use this method with two to three albums at a time staggering them. For the most part it allows me to discover things about the music that i wouldn’t be able to catch if I only skimmed the tracks or gave the album a once over while I was reading or preoccupied with something else.
The has now come for me to start yet another batch of albums. I have in the rotation  Ronnie Cuber’s “The Scene is Clean” (1994),  Denis DiBlasio’ s “Where the Jade Buddha Lives”(2008), and Leo Parker’s “Let Me Tell You ’bout It (1961)“.

As you can image I have a lot of critical listening and writing ahead of me. This has left me with the need to find more Baritone and bass saxophone focused music to review. So with that in mind, I am asking you my readers to please suggest some music for me and everyone else to listen to.  I am looking forward to the responses.


I have been a regular visitor to Ben Britton’s “Everything Saxophone (Reviewed)” blog site for a while now and find myself revisiting his advice often throughout the week. I am not only a fan of his playing but a fan of his opinions and advice. In reading his writings it is clear that his opinions are those of a person well practiced and talented.

On his blog site you will find practice tips for intermediate to advance players along with some transcriptions and  reviews of fantastic equipment.

On his personal site you will find musical examples of his playing as well as links to his cd and information on his background.

if you have the time to view one or maybe two site today consider viewing Ben’s site and enjoy.

His blog – http://everythingsaxophone.blogspot.com/

His music site – http://www.benbrittonjazz.com/

While I’m not the worlds most dedicated James Carter fan I do recognize the guy as a virtuoso on the saxophone. After watching him play the Bass saxophone on Youtube videos I decided to spend some time listening to him play it on this 2000 release.

The first thing to get out of the way is that i didn’t like any recording of James on bass sax as displayed on Youtube. Aside from the the lack of quality audio and clips which lacked musical context in most cases, I just couldn’t stand his aggressive attack of the horn. It was as though he wanted to punish the horn for being so big and heavy. Determined not to let poor Youtube camera work deter me from finding joy in his work I ordered a CD. Thank goodness I did, my ears were in for a surprise.

Before I get ahead of myself, this album is a tribute to the music of Django Reinhardt. This fact with the knowledge that James Carter was playing his bass was enough to make me pull the trigger on this purchase. Well, that and knowing that his sister was playing violin. To that I must add that his sister is a great violinist and impressive improviser as evident in the back and forth licks on the track “Avalon” and a few other solo sections scattered throughout the album.

Rather than take apart the entire album I will focus on the songs in which Carter plays bass saxophone. This is a blog dedicated to bari and bass saxes so what else would you expect. Before I leave the the other 6 non-bass tracks behind I will say that they are common James Carter. Full of flourishes, slap tonguing, musical overindulgence, and a flare for the extravagant. Carter brings his unique voice to everything that he plays. Love him or hate him he is still making more money than 99.9% of the saxophonist of the world and produces albums of legit jazz almost yearly.

Now for what we all came to discuss; bass saxophone. Carter kicks this album off in a bass’tastic way. “Nuages” is a gypsy swing tune by Django Reinhardt (from this point on known as D.R.) and Carter holds true to the feeling of the original. His playing here is lyrical and deliberate. He manages to curtail some of his usual musical bravado and really falls into the lilting swing style. This is the track I feel best represents what he can do with a bass saxophone.

The second tune “Artillerie Lourde” is a driving swing tune by D.R. which Carter falls back to his more tenor-like playing style. His use of slap tongue, split tones, and multiphonics are in play towards the end of the track. While impressive from a technical point of view I don’t feel they added a great deal to the musical narrative laid out earlier in the track. Now if you are a fan of Carter then you know this is par for the course.

The last of the bass tracks is the tune “I’ll never be the same” by D.R.. This track features the bass saxophone in a supportive but lyrical role. Carter adds firm support to Romero Lubambo’s Django inspired lines until about half way through the track. At this point he opens his solo with a powerfully subdued line. Of course he then takes it close to the “playing like a tenor player” line and back again. But at the end of his rather brief solo section he returns to the support role. I feel that in this one track Carter has defined a modern role for this often ignored horn.

I would be remiss not to discuss his tone and equipment. Carter has a unique tone on the bass saxophone. His setup on horn is likely an International Winds IW-661 bass saxophone and played with a Geoff Lawton  baritone saxophone mouthpiece. I cannot confirm this exact setup as there is very little written on his bass saxophone setup but the evidence is that he’s been seen with an IW basss saxophone and his choice of mouthpieces on all of his horn are Geoff Lawton’s.  With that setup in mind it is not at all surprising that his tone isn’t as warm as that of Adrian Rollini or as broad in depth as the amazing tone of Bert Brandsma. 

Take Away: The 3 bass saxophone tracks are some of my favorite featuring this underutilized horn. Would I buy the album again for just these three tracks? No, I would purchase them on iTunes individually and save a few dollars.

Bass saxophone tracks:
Nuages
Artillerie Lourde
I’ll Never Be The Same

Personnel:
James Carter (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone)
Jay Berliner (steel guitar)
Romero Lubambo (nylon-string guitar)
Regina Carter (violin)
Charlie Giordano (accordion)
Joey Baron (drums)
Cyro Baptista (percussion)

The album is a multi-genre music adventure with Latin echos from the past and a passion which reaches forward and demands we listen. Whether you like or dislike music with a Latin flare this album has a little something for every listener. From straight ahead, bop, and rock, this album is loaded with his precise use of articulation and rhythmic variation which is textbook Cuber and is tremendously enjoyable.

If you prefer the straight ahead  jazz then set your ears to bop and listen to the track “No Smokin” and hold on for the ride. Joe Locke on vibes explodes into his solo section and sets the perfect stage for the solos of Cuber  and Bobby Broom (guitar). This track is paired expertly with the track “In a sentimental mood” which as a tribute to Harry Carney is both gentle and soulful.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Cuber album if he didn’t do the unexpected. On the swinging track “I Ronic” Cuber plays tenor saxophone. His tenor playing features all the excitement that cuber brings to the Baritone while not sounding disingenuous to the tenor tradition at that time. In some ways he plays the tenor like a smaller baritone. Which suits my ears just fine.

It goes without saying that this album is a product of its day. By this I mean there are stylistic artifacts of being an early 90’s jazz-fusion type album. Joe Locke’s Yamaha DX7 keyboard really reminds us of what decade we are listening to without being too much like the over electronic sounds of Cuber’s album “Passion Fruit“. Though not as dated sounding, the hard driving rock-funk track “Cheetah” is  a prime example of what was happening in pop jazz of the day.  Of course this track would not be possible with out Ben Perowsky’s driving drumming. He pushes this track along like no one else and his drumming is as genuine sounding as any rock drummer of the day.

This album touches on several Latin traditions without trying to be something it is not. The tracks range from the afro-cuban of “Arroz con pollo“, to the swaying bossa nova of the title track “Cubism”. Cuber has had a long tradition of playing Latin and Latin inspired music. This began as early as his work on Eddie Palmieri’s 1973 album “Sons of Latin Music”. At least one Latin inspired track can be found on most of his albums. On this album the addition of Carlos “Potato” Valdez really lends the afro-cuban credibility which is hard to capture when the percussive responsibilities lay purely with the set drummer. on this album both Carlos and Ben seem  to trade phrases and and lead each other on rhythmic trails. 

TAKE AWAY:  This album has had a regular place in my listening roundup and you would be hard pressed to find an album which brings as much enjoyment for as moderate a price. In this case under $10 from Amazon.

I’ve read over and over again that natural reeds are failing in quality and are inconsistent within a box let alone between boxes. To test this I purchased some Hemke #4 reeds to use on my Yamaha 5C mouthpiece. This piece is my go to piece for classical practice and chamber work. I really like how dark the tone gets as well as how locked in the intonation is when pared with my YBS-61.

On first examination I found that the heel of each reed is not symmetrical. The left and right sides of the heel end have a wide amount of variability. If you look closely you can see that the individual heels are different thicknesses. This could be due to the reed blank shifting or not secured as tightly as it should have been on the planing machine  Effect on the reed?

My second point of consideration is the file mark and the shoulder. As seen below the file marks are all straight and are the same height. The shoulders are quite the telling characteristic. The shoulders are not cut evenly. The desired rounded “V” or “U” shape made by reed profiler is not centered an any reed but the center one. Some reeds are cut slightly left or right of the center line.

The offset shoulder cut directly effects the shape of the vamp; the area from the file mark to the reed tip. i marked in the image below the point at which the reeds shoulder cut ends at the rails. Ideally this would be even left to right on each reed even if not even between reeds.  As you can see below, the rails begin in very different areas on the same reed.  Will this effect playability?

The next thing I examine is the heart’s shape. Does it have that familiar chevron shape? Unfortunately I was unable to take pictures that would show the heart shapes but the reeds with the best defined heart which terminated before the end of the reed was reed 3 and 5. This I know will effect playability.

Lastly I inspect the reeds tip for warping, splits, or any other damage. Unfortunately I did not have my calipers available to measure the tips for comparison.All reeds had well formed tips with no raggedness or obvious imperfections.

Experience:
Reeds 3 and 5 played very well after 2, 5 minute soaks with drying time in between. The tone was traditional warm and woody tone you would expect from Hemke’s. They are a perfect fit for the 5C and were lively and responsive. They also resisted chirping no matter how hard I slap tongued them. Reeds 1, 2,  and 4 needed some balancing to speak cleanly. Actually the tone from reed 1 was so unlike the others I had to play it on several other mouthpieces to be sure the reed was the culprit. The heart on reed one was poorly defined and the reed felt slightly dead in the mouth. 
TAKE AWAY: 
I love these reeds and have used them for years when I played more classical stuff. They are easy to control and when paired with the right mouthpiece produce an amazingly pure tone. Are these reeds perfect? No. Am I happy to have 1 in 5 reeds requiring surgery to be confidently playable? No. Will I buy another box? Maybe. 
PS. Of course as in all things opinion based, Your Mileage May Vary. i would love to hear about your cane reed woes. Please feel free to comment.

This album was recorded in Lars Gullin’s native Sweden in 1964. The line up on this album is as follows: Rolf Billberg on alto, Jan Allan on trumpet, Harry Backlund on tenor, Torgny Nilsson on trombone, and Lars Sjosten on piano, accompanied by a string section.

It goes with out saying that one can not describe a baritone saxophone sound of the era with out comparing it to one of two musical titans of the day, Gerry Mulligan or Pepper Adams. Tonally Mr. Gullin was more firmly encamped in the West Cast jazz tradition but with his own flavor. He was not a duplicate of Mulligan but was clearly inspired by the west coast jazz movement.

Lars’ tone is clean and full throughout the entire register through he rarely dips below the staff in his soloing. It is not all that uncommon for baritone saxophonists of the day to solo exclusively in the middle to upper registers. Serge Chaloff rarely dipped below the staff as well unless it was to comp the current soloist. Gullin’s bouncing and laid back swing style keeps his solos moving and enjoyable to listen to.

The other major voice on the album has to be Rolf Billberg. His alto playing is what I would consider the perfect melding of Charlie Parker and Paul Desmond. The edge of tone from Parker but the round fullness of Desmond. Listening to Prima Vera is a great example of Rolf’s ability to use empty space, rhythm, and dynamics to lead the listener down a melancholic and reflective path as reinforced by the violins that follow. It is a tragedy that Rolf died at the young age of 36. I am sure that had he lived longer his impact on jazz in the United States would have been more apparent and significant.

Take Away:  I have a rather large collection of Gerry mulligan albums and transcriptions in my collection and find it hard to listen to them often. Some albums seem almost cliched in today’s jazz environment. This album has all the cool, easy to enjoy jazz you would expect from California in the 1960’s but with a European twist. This album is on my monthly play list and it should be on your as well.

Produced by Stan Kenton in 1955 and with a fantastic lineup this album has garnered a special place in my rotation. While many consider “Blue Serge” to be Serge Chaloff’s preeminent recording I find this album to be every bit as fantastic as the later album.
The first thing that has always grabbed my attention in Serge’s playing is his tone. It is a husky and slightly reedy tone with a hint of the mellowness associated with the west coast jazz of the day. I wouldn’t consider it an honest west coast cool jazz sound.  It is easy to hear the influence of Harry Carney on his tone.  Chaloff’s tone would fit nicely with the current trend towards brighter tones and more projection. Of course he’d have to use a brighter reed but otherwise he’d drop right into current musical trends.
The second thing that grabs me is how delicate he can make the big horn sound. His technique is quite light and fluid and his expressiveness is exquisite.  Just listen to “What’s New?” and you will hear the haunting, almost melancholy moaning of a passionate player and his perfect medium. The track is minimalist while still carrying the expressive load of a church choir 10 times its size.
Chaloff did not create this magic on his own. The crew is as follows: Everett Evans on bass, Boots Mussulli on alto saxophone, Herb Pomeroy on trumpet, Ray Santisi on piano, and Jimmy Zitano on drums. Mussulli and Pomeroy create the feel of a full horn section due to the excellent arranging and their performances are an excellent match for Chaloff. In fact this album sent me looking for more on Boots Mussulli.  His Charlie Parker styled improvisations combined with a tone reminiscent of Lennie Niehaus really drove me Amazon in search of more.
Take Away: This album is great on its own or when listened to in rotation with “Blue Serge”. I recommend adding this recording to your collection and enjoying this album for its great phrasings, quality arranging, and virtuoso playing. 

For a couple  years now I have been making the website Jazz Everyone a regular part of my practice. The host of the website is Willie Thomas, or as he prefers uncle Willie.

Willie’s approach is not the modal Jamey Aebersold approach though he does use materials created by Jamey, with his permission. Instead Willie uses a system of Pentatonic pair steps moving around the circle of 4ths/5ths. This forms the basic unit of his system. Aside from theory Willie teaches rhythms and style.

On staff at Jazz Everyone with Willie Thomas is Gary Smulyan, Steve Wiest, and Charlie Porter. These power house players offer insight and additional creative learning directions. It is a pleasure to hear different techniques and views on improvising from real masters of their instruments.

It is my opinion that to truly take advantage of the material you have to be honest with  yourself and spend time mastering the material presented. To spend to much time on the easier portion of a lesson and blow through the more difficult sections is doing a disservice to you as the student. The material presented increases in difficulty gradually and logically so there are no surprises from lesson. Each lesson builds upon the material presented in the previous lesson.

Pro’s: Great material. Willie really makes his pentatonic pairs approach accessible and easy to follow. The Jazz Everyone  material is great for beginners all the way through seasoned veterans looking to add to their knowledge base.

Con’s: The lesson plan could be better spelled out. Logically you would do the beginner section followed then by the Intermediate section and finally the Player’s Corner and it’s subsections. The players corner section features video lessons and graphically shown theory. This section is valuable to students working through either beginner or intermediate sections.

Take Away: This site features an excellent system that will have  you improvising quickly and with more style then when you started. There is a community component feature which is not heavly trafficked but is available and answers come quickly. For the price it is a great place to expand  your jazz knowledge but this is only true if you can be diligent and honest with the material.

Photo by keisis44, Flickr

I have had the absolute pleasure to exchange messages back and fourth with Denis DiBlasio over the past few months and it is my great pleasure to say he seems to be a quite pleasant person. He has entertained my questions both silly and serious with great humor. I will go on record to say that he was the first baritone saxophonist I had ever heard and enjoyed. I heard him first during his stint with Maynard Ferguson and have been a fan since.  I am a fan of Bruce Johnstone but i don’t have anything by him other than the Maynard Stuff.

What have I learned? Firstly he is still using the Vandoren V16 – B9 with Vandoren Traditional blue box reeds. That would help to explain his full, focused, and warm tone when compared to someone like Gary Smulyan. Secondly he has another recording ini the works but he didn’t give any details. It  is my hope that he will bring in another Bari player like Smulyan or Jason Marshall to have a bit of a dueling thing happening.

That’s the little bit that I have for now but as I learn I will pass it along. By the way if  you haven’t had the chance to listen to his album Where the Jade Buddah Lives, you are missing some fantastic playing and I will be sharing my experience with the album as I continue to digest it.

As a charter member of the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) crew I have purchased, traded, and found many mouthpieces over the years. I have always found my way back to a Otto Link Tone Edge for my Baritone needs. I’ve always loved the tone I heard in recordings but hated the over feel of the mouthpiece. In my head the tone was stuffy and constrained to the horn but wow did it work well in the studio.

Well after a recent stint with the Otto Link Super Tone Master I had enough and decided to get a Berg Larsen and see what the hype was all about. I had my reservations about choosing a Berg. My fear was that it was a chops in a box type piece that would have me two shades from Pepper Adams and a far cry from my desired, dark with edge, tonal concept. Boy was I in for a surprise when she came in from the interwebs.

I waited for 2 months before I found the exact Berg that I was looking for on ebay. The piece is 110/1 SMS. I choose the medium opening of 110 because I have always liked how focused the tone is on more closed mouthpieces. For the baffle I choose a 1 because it is the 2nd lowest baffle and as expected was the 2nd darkest tone. The mouth feel is very neutral for a hard rubber piece, neither too big nor too small for my embouchure. These factors lead to a piece which can be pushed hard before the tone spreads too wide and thins out.

The tone of the piece is what pushed my Link into the drawer. This piece has power in part because of its bullet chamber, medium low baffle, and slight cliff baffle. But power is not all it has in it arsenal. When paired with a full bodied reed this piece has a depth of tone which is reminiscent of an Otto Link Tone Edge but with more flexibility. The combination of power, tone, and a bit of edge (or buzz depending on your favorite nomenclature), fulfills my criteria for a great mouthpiece.

The only con to choosing a mass produced mouthpiece let alone a used one is that you can’t be sure that the facing will be even and that the rails will be even. In my case I lucked out and got one that is quite even and the facing seems compatible with all of my reeds.

Take Away: For the money i couldn’t go wrong. Hard rubber Berg Larsen pieces sell for less than $160. Choosing one with a baffle height and tip opening which suits your playing style and personal tastes can help you sound anywhere from an Adams like roar to a Chaloff  haunting whisper.