Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

Today, I am reviewing a mouthpiece made by Phil Barone.  This  mouthpiece is the Hollywood model and it was made back in 2000 so it is an older model.  I have been a big fan of Phil Barone’s mouthpieces ever since I went to see Jerry Bergonzi play at the Acton Jazz Cafe years ago.  Jerry wasn’t playing that night (I didn’t know that) but Dino Govoni was subbing for him.  I had heard about Dino a lot over the years.  He had subbed for me in different bands and I had subbed for him, but we had never met.  Dino had a great sound and during the break I aksed what he was playing on.  He told me he was playing on an amazing Barone Jazz model that he had bought.  I have been curious about these Barone mouthpieces ever since………..

Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

I have played many Barone’s over the past 10 years but this Barone Hollywood caught my attention because it was being sold by a gigging musician who said he had been playing it on gigs for many years and it had been his main mouthpiece.  Personally,  I don’t want a mouthpiece that has been sitting in a drawer for 50 years and is brand new,  I would rather buy a mouthpiece that has been played because it plays great.  This Barone fit that description so I snatched it up……….

Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

It didn’t look great when I opened the packaging but I didn’t care about that.  I knew that the worse it looked,  the better it was likely to play.  This Barone Hollywood had a pretty beat up bite plate and the plating was totally trashed.  I wasn’t discouraged though because I knew that it was in this state because it had been played to death. The most likely reason was that it was a killer mouthpiece!  (If a mouthpiece is 50 years old and looks brand new , you have to wonder………..did it suck so bad that no one wanted to play it?)

Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

When I first looked at the mouthpiece, I noticed that it had a pretty high roll over baffle……….very high compared to an Otto Link that is for sure.  I knew this would be  brighter and more powerful than your average Otto Link  that is for sure.  Baffles can have a profound impact on how a mouthpiece plays.  Usually, the higher the baffle the brighter the tone. The height of the rollover on this Hollywood was somewhere in the middle between an Otto Link and a Guardala.  The curve of it reminds me a bit of the curve of the baffles on the metal Vandoren V16s.  The Vandoren mouthpieces can be great but I’ve always felt that the smaller chamber and straight sidewalls don’t allow it to have a fat sound with character.  This Hollywood has a similar baffle but scooped sidewalls and a bigger chamber which is what I always thought the V16’s should have.  I was very curious to play it and see what it sounded like…………..

Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

This mouthpiece played great with the first Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 reed that I tried.  It has a brighter edgier sound to it than other Otto Link type mouthpieces like I thought it would.  Loads of power and edge when pushed but if you laid back it was nice and tame sounding.  Right in the middle of bright and dark.  At 1:43 in the clip I play a little of “Softly as a Morning Sunrise” at a softer volume.  You can hear how the edge and brightness is less……..

This would be a great mouthpiece for R&B or funk playing as it gives you the edge and power you need but if you lay back you can play a jazz gig on it.   When you lay back on it,  it gives you more of a mid-range sound that can be used for straight ahead jazz.  I love mouthpieces like this for everyday gig playing as it covers all the bases gig wise.   Although it is brighter and edgier when pushed,  that tone can sound great on a live gig with some reverb and other effects on it.   If you like the sound of this Barone Hollywood check out Phil Barones website to order one.

Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 2000

 

 

 

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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. graham snell says:

    Steve, did you use a different recording method for this piece, to my ears it sounds a bit ‘boxy’ and very dry so I wondered if it was the mouthpiece or the microphone.Although the other Hollywood you tested sounded great, Thanks

  2. Hi Graham,
    Nope, the same recording setup I always use. Nothing different………no idea why it would sound different or “boxy” to you. Steve

  3. graham snell says:

    ok thanks Steve, maybe it’s me, I’ll take another listen.

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