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
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.
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 was great with this mouthpiece and within normal limits.
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.
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.