Drake Vintage Resin NY Jazz Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Yesterday,  I received a box from Aaron Drake at Drake Mouthpieces. I couldn’t open it fast enough. Inside were 3 brand new vintage resin alto saxophone mouthpieces for me to try. I’ve been wanting to try these for months now and I was very excited.  This is the second mouthpiece I tried of the three.   It is the NY Jazz model and has a 6 tip opening (.080).The NY Jazz model  has a medium rollover baffle that slides down into a medium  chamber.  This mouthpiece has the fattest sound of the three Drake alto mouthpieces I received.  It reminds me of a Cannonball Adderley type of sound.  Big and fat with a nice sparkle to the sound.  All the notes had a roundness to then that I loved.  Down low it could get nice and lush and up high the notes were nice and round sounding.  There was no harshness with this mouthpiece at all……………………

Drake NY Jazz Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

  • Appearance:

The tip and rails of this mouthpiece are perfect. The tip curve matches my Vandoren Java reeds perfectly. The baffle is a smooth rollover as you can see in the pictures and is completely even. The chamber looks to be a similar size to a medium chamber Meyer.    The mouthpiece has a nice copper band around the shank end and the engravings on it are neat and nice to look at.  The bore of the mouthpiece was bigger than my other alto mouthpieces and I had to wrap some paper around my cork to get it to fit on snuggly.  The bore was even bigger then the Jazz and Contemporary alto mouthpieces that I received with it.  No big deal.  The outside dimensions of the mouthpiece are a bit smaller than other alto mouthpieces so you should be aware of that when trying to find a ligature.  My Marc Jean ligature was too big and my Vandoren Optimum barely tightened on enough.  I ended up using a Theo Wanne “Enlightened”  ligature that tightened on well.

  • Tone:

I provide the clips on here so you can make your own judgment on what the characteristics of the tone are.  In my mind this mouthpiece has a fatter tone that leans towards the darker side of things.   It’s close to that midway point between dark and bright.  I felt the notes and a beautiful thick roundness to them that I loved. Not thin sounding at all.  Like I stated above it had a Cannonball Adderley type tone to it when I played it. FAT!  I also noticed that I could easily manipulate the tone of the NY Jazz.   It seemed like it fit me perfectly.  The slightest changes of embouchure,  throat or tongue and I could hear a change in the sound.  I really loved that.

  • Intonation:

Intonation was great with this mouthpiece and within normal limits.

  • Control:

This was a very easy mouthpiece to play and control. It is very even sounding up and down the horn.  The tone of the mouthpiece really makes it easy to play fast.  It’s almost like the notes just blend together on those fast runs.  Large intervals were easy to play also.

  • Volume:

The NY Jazz wasn’t as loud as the Contemporary model I played yesterday but it was plenty loud for a jazz gig.  I was playing at about 80% air output for me and it filled up the room.  If I was playing a Top 40 gig I would probably go for the contemporary model but  I think this NY Jazz would do all right once you got used to it.

Great job Aaron Drake! If you are curious about trying Aaron’s mouthpiece you can visit his website at www.DrakeMouthpieces.com for more information.

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Hi Steve I love your sound on the pieces and I’m wondering which do you prefer over the Drake NY, Theo Wanne Gaia, Aizen, and Theo Wanne Amma, if you were playing in a big band as lead, but you would feel comfortable enough to use on a combo gig?

    Thanks,
    Jack

  2. I could seriously play any of them. I own an Aizen and Gaia and could play either. I’m not sure which I prefer the most yet. The Amma would be great too but it was louder and brighter than I like but many lead alto players love that sound. I think the Amma was the loudest of these.

  3. Thanks for the response Steve. out of the MeYer Style pieces you have played, which one do you find have a nice Focused, but full sounding tone, and balanced in the regular 2.5 registers. I do enjoy good resistance in my pieces so I can shape the tone quality easier. and it also seem to help with Altissimo a bit.

    Thanks for the help,
    Jack

  4. Most of the alto pieces I have played on here could fit that description. I would just pick one you really like the sound of on the clip and go for that one. It’s hard to answer your question because I don’t know how dark or bright you want your sound. The Drake NY was a very full and lush sound but darker for me than the Gaia or Aizen were. I think the Aizen and Gaia were more focused. The Amma was even more focused and full but it was a little brighter and I thought it was too bright for what I liked. You might like it though if you like that brightness. Usually, the higher the baffle the more focused the sound. I hope this helps.

  5. Hey Steve,
    Right now i’m trying to get a little bit more buzz in my sound if you understand. It seems like the mouthpieces i have played on that have a really Full tone quality, lack some buzz to them, and the ones that have the buzz lack body to the sound. Well thats just my experience with pieces.

    but thanks for the info Steve,
    Jack

  6. Hi Steve
    Was that a # 5 or # 6 on Your soundclip?
    Thank You for Your kind answer
    Linus

  7. That was a #6 as it says in the description.

  8. Thank You Steve an sorry for that.
    Is this mouthpiece opening similar to a Meyer # 6 or Aizen # 6 or is it larger or smaller in Your opinion.
    Linus

  9. Yes, I think it’s pretty close. I can’t remember exactly as I don’t have the mouthpieces next to each other to compare.

  10. Rodolfo Benavides says:

    Which mouthpiece do you feel has a darker vintage sound? The Drake NY or Aizen NY?

  11. The Drake NY has a darker sound than the Aizen NY. The Aizen NY was pretty bright. The Aizen JazzMaster was darker and closer to the Drake NY but I think the Drake was still darker as I remember it.

  12. Steve you did not talk very much about the Drake (Jazz) model ?? Did it sit between the (New york jazz) and the (Contemporary)

    Many Thanks for your time.

  13. Yeah. I posted a clip of it here. http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2010/07/drake-vintage-resin-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece-comparison/ I seem to remember it as being in between the NY and contemporary. I think I did so many reviews that week that I was just burned out on them and decided to skip that one. For me it was a little brighter and more focused than the NY. The NY was fatter sounding which I loved. Hope this helps. Steve

  14. Juan Francisco says:

    Dear Steve,

    Being in Colombia, where trying out mouthpieces is virtually impossible, I really have to thank you for your blog and reviews. I’m trying to decide which mouthpiece to buy and after listening almost every alto sound clip in your site, I’m deciding to buy this Drake NY Jazz as I found it to be one of the darkest and nicest tones that you have recorded. Beautiful and expressive sound. Thanks Again!

    I’m still deciding between a 6 or a 5. How do you think tip opening will affect this particular mouthpiece???

    Best Regards

  15. I don’t think there would be a big difference between a 5 and 6. I would get a 6 personally because I feel like I can get more air through it and more volume. It all depends on what you are used to playing and what you are comfortable with. I never played a 5 but I’m sure that is killer also. Good Luck. Come back and write a review after you get it. Steve

  16. Juan Francisco says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’m back! I received yesterday my new mouthpiece Drake Vintage Resin NY Jazz Alto No. 6. The first thing that a I have to say, is that the only I’ve done for the last 24 hours is play!

    What stroke me first, was its responsiveness in all registers. Very very responsive, from low to high.

    The second thing was the fatness of the sound, I’ve never sounded so Fat before and I’m loving it! With a 2 1/2 Red Java I get a very expressive full and round sound (that I hope my building neighbours are loving). The sound leans towards the dark end with just the right amount of edge.

    With a Vandoren 3 it gets even darker!

    This is definitely the best mouth piece I have ever played with, and best of all, I’m liking it more as time goes by. Its given me the sound I could only hear in my head.

    I’m using the Drake ligature that came with it, and I like pretty much. The only thing is that if you need to move the mouthpiece the ligature and reed will move all around.

    Thank again!

  17. Hi Steve,

    great site and blog! I recently started testing mouthpieces after years of playing the same one. I´m really curious about testing the NY Jazz from Drake. Two questions: 1.) I´ll have to test it via mail order meaning to spend a lot of money. Do you think it´s necessary to check different mouthpieces of the same kind? I´ve never tried that kind of “high end” product”before. For example I checked out Meyer M7M and had to order three mouthpieces in order to be more or lees sure to get a good one as they are really different and sometimes asymmetrical.
    2.) What kind of a sax did you play on the sound file?

  18. I don’t think you have to order multiple mouthpieces from Drake. His quality is very good from what I have seen. I’ve tried 2 NY Jazz pieces and both were great. I know Dave Valdez has his students order them and he loves them also. Meyers are different because they are mass produced. Aaron works on all of his pieces by hand so I think the consistency is much better. I play a Selmer Reference alto sax on all the clips of alto mouthpieces. I’m glad you like the site. Let me know if you have any other questions. Steve

  19. Austin Zhang says:

    How does this compare to a Klum Acoustimax in terms of thickness and fatness?

  20. I felt like the Drake was fatter and a bit darker than the Acoustimax I had. The Acoustimax was brighter and not as fat sounding. I thought of the Acoustimax more like Phil Woods sound and the Drake more like a Cannonball sound……if that makes sense.

  21. Michael says:

    First of all, congratulations on your website; I very much enjoy perusing it, especially this mouthpiece review blog. I’m wondering if you can offer any insights into how Ralph Morgan’s Jazz mouthpiece with the ML or L chamber compares to this Drake NY Jazz model. I’ll be grateful for any comments regarding design, feel, or sound.

  22. Michael, I have only played the Morgan L and ML’s for tenor. Never tried the alto versions that I remember so I can’t compare to the Drake. The Drake is a great piece! Sorry I couldn’t be of more help………

  23. Alain Sullivan says:

    I am debating between buying the Charlie Parker “Bird” Legend Series Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece and the Drake Vintage Resin NY Jazz Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece. What is you opinion on the two of these mouthpiece in comparison to each other?

    Thanks,
    Alain

  24. Alain, The Drake is darker and fatter sounding. The Bird piece is brighter and focused sounding. It has a tight core sound. The Drake has a more spread sound. I thought more of a Cannonball type sound with the Drake NY and a Parker sound with the Bird mouthpiece.

  25. Hey Steve! Absolutely love your tone on the Drake NY alto mpc!! I’ve been trying very hard to get a Cannonball/Phil Woods type of sound… Fat ,full, buzzy & kind of dark sound….
    I know they both played on a NY Meyer 5M…. Can I just ask if you feel that Drake NY alto mpc is the closest modern equivalent to the vintage NY Meyer?? If not, which mpc (s) do you feel that is the closest/best to get a Cannonball/Phil Woods sound??
    I do understand that most of it really depends on the player itself… but i would just like to know your opinion! 🙂
    Really enjoy reading all your reviews

    Thanks,
    Sean

  26. Hi Sean,
    I think the Drake NY Resin is a great mouthpiece for that vibe. Although you are putting Cannonball in the same group as Phil Woods and I think they have very different sounds to my ears. Phil Woods has the classic NY Meyer sound to my ears. Cannonball is something else. I can get closer to Cannonball with the Drake NY Jazz and I think the Phil-Tone Rift mouthpiece I just reviewed gets me in that ballpark although the Rift is much brighter and louder than the Drake NY was in my opinion……..Hope this helps, Steve

  27. Steve
    How does the Drake NY Jazz piece compare with the Theo Wanne NY Bros piece?
    Thanks,
    Tim

  28. Hi Tim,      My recollection of these two pieces is that the Drake NY is fatter and darker sounding than the Theo Wanne NY Bros mouthpiece.  The NY Bros is more focused and brighter.  I think both are about equal as far as power and volume though.    Hope this helps,   Steve

  29. Steve Thank you for your reply. Are the two mouthpieces comparable in resistance? And how would they compare to the Philtone Rift in regards to resistance?
    Thanks again, Tim

  30. Tim,
    I’m not sure about the resistance question. It was a long time between playing each of them and I believe they were two different tip openings. I think I used a harder reed on the NY Bros if I remember correctly. (You would have to listen to the reviews to confirm this) That being said I don’t remember any of them being more resistant than the other when I think of all 3 side by side but it’s hard to tell without playing them at the same time to compare. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Steve

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