Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece (Updated)

(Update: this original Mosaic review was of a prototype Mosaic mouthpiece but since the review Phil has tweaked and I think improved the original design of the Mosaic mouthpiece.  He has been kind enough to send me a new model to try.  I am updating this review and sound clip  for the new production model.)

Today, I am excited to review a new mouthpiece made by Phil Engleman and Theo Wanne. Phil Engleman is the founder of Phil-Tone mouthpieces and I have reviewed a number of his excellent mouthpieces in the past. The Equinox,the Eclipse, the Solstice, the Tribute, the Sapphire, etc…………… Phil contacted me a few months ago and said he was producing a new metal mouthpiece based off the classic Dukoff “Stubby” design.

You might remember a few months ago, I reviewed the Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne  “Tribute” mouthpiece.    This was a great reproduction of the classic Florida link design.  That mouthpiece played great, so I was very interested in trying the “Mosaic” also.

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The outside of the Mosaic mouthpiece is immaculate and lives up to the Wanne standards of mouthpiece manufacturing.  The one I am reviewing today hasn’t been finished yet and is bare brass.  The finished production model will have a bead blast silver finish and texture to it with Phil-Tone and Mosaic engraved on the top of the mouthpiece. On the bottom of the shank is the Theo Wanne symbol and USA. There is no bite plate on the mouthpiece but it has a mouthpiece patch where the bite plate would be. The table and rails of the Tribute look perfect, not a blemish anywhere.  The beginning of the baffle is a smooth  finish and halfway down the baffle it transitions to the bead blast finish. The sidewalls are scooped out by the CNC process I believe. The scooped sidewalls don’t travel all the way to the tip but starts about half an inch from the tip. The transition to the chamber is smooth and subtle. The chamber is a bit larger than the Tribute model.  It is also larger than the bore of the mouthpiece. It reminds me of the chambers from the NY Otto Links. Usually, a chamber this large gives a fatter, thicker and fuller sound to the tone in my experience.

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The outside of the Mosaic saxophone mouthpiece looks similar to the Tribute mouthpiece. It has the same basic design, but the Mosaic is in fact just a little bit shorter than the Tribute. The tip and rails look to be perfectly even and thin.    The Mosaic looks to have a  similar baffle as the Tribute to my naked eye but Phil in fact tells me that the Mosaic baffle has a more gentle slope to it.  The Mosaic I am reviewing today, is a 7* tip opening.

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

My mouthpiece didn’t come with a ligature but the production pieces will be coming with a Theo Wanne Enlightened ligature. I tried this “Mosaic” with Rigotti Gold reeds first but found them overly bright for my tastes.  I then switched to a Lavoz medium reed that played great on the Mosaic for me.

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

How does the Mosaic play?  Well, the Mosaic tenor mouthpiece has a very thick and fat sound. It can be lush and fat down low but has a nice brightness and crispness up high.   The intonation was great and the tone was very even throughout the range of the horn. With a Lavoz medium reed the tone was fat and clear.  It had a very pleasant and beautiful tone to my ears when played at a soft or medium volume.  I loved sub-toning down low.  When I pushed it more it had a nice volume and toughness to the sound.  It has a great mix of the bright higher overtones mixed with a fat thick sound which I loved.

In the original prototype review I had commented that the Mosaic seemed to lack power and “Umph” to me.  I’m not sure what Phil did to this new design but he seems to have overcome that.  This new Mosaic has loads of power and “Umph” to the sound as you can hear in the sound clip.

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Phil-Tone Theo Wanne Mosaic was a complete joy to play. If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then give it a try. You can contact Phil on his website at www.phil-tone.com. Tell him Steve sent you………….Great work Phil and Theo!!

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, Steve

Phil-Tone & Theo Wanne Mosaic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

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:

    Thanks for your reply Steve, do you think it would perform better than the Tribute(which I have tried) in that setting. I used to use high baffle pieces but now use an old JVW Florida Link for everything and although I really have to push it for loud gigs( it’s the brightest link I’ve tried) it’s perfect for quiet gigs. I would prefer use a Link and push it for loud gigs than use a high baffle piece and hold back for quiet gigs if you know what I mean. I know you have to compromise a bit if you want to use one mouthpiece for everything but which of the pieces you have tried have worked well in most situations, i.e. the most versatile.

  2. Nemo,
    I don’t have a Barone Jazz here but I have a SNY and a Hollywood. I compared the Mosaic to them the other day. It has less resistance than both of them for sure. I’ve owned Barone Jazz pieces in the past and I don’t think the Mosaic is louder but it does have more highs in the sound than the jazz model would. Hope this helps. Steve

  3. Graham,
    I think it would be comparable to using great Florida link in that type of gig. Some people can make a link work on that type of gig but I’ve always felt it was too much work to get the volume and brightness I needed on those gigs. I think the Mosaic is in that same category. Steve

  4. graham snell says:

    Steve
    How do you think the piece would perform in an R & B/Funk type of gig?
    Thanks
    PS The Devastating Minor licks are working well for me.
    Graham

  5. Steve,

    Thanks for the update. I play a Barone Jazz and really like it but thinking of pieces that have a bit more power. I also like what it feels like to play that piece. Sounds like the Mosaic has moved toward being higher octane. I also like a piece with a bit of resistance. That is, I’ve played pieces where I really liked the sound and vibe but were too free blowing. I find a little resistance (not too much) helps to shape the sound. What do you think of this piece relative to playing resistance?
    Nemo

  6. Samtsax,
    I wanted to change my comment to you here as I just edited my review because of some tweaks that Phil made to the Mosaic. The new Mosaic has loads of power now. It has a big fat sound to it with plenty of brightness also. I would say that for me the Tribute is more focused and smoother sounding. The Mosaic is fatter and can get grittier and dirtier if you know what I mean. I’ve just had this Mosaic for a day now but am really loving it. Steve

  7. Hey, Steve.
    In your opinion, how does the “Mosaic” compare to the than the Phil tone “Tribute?” Is it brigher or darker? Does it have more or less projection? As I understand it, the larger chamber gave the stubbies bigger sound than the links of that era. Is this true in this case?

    Great review and wonderful playing, as always. Thanks!

  8. Sounds good Steve. I should be seeing my first batch of these come in next week from Phil. Looking forward to them!

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