Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece made by Aaron Drake at Drake mouthpieces.  This Drake tenor mouthpiece is advertised as  “rollover baffle contour – identical to the Drake Bergonzi “EB” model – with a raised floor contour which gives the mouthpiece greater projection without being bright”.  Since I am always on the lookout for tenor saxophone mouthpieces that can straddle the line between an Otto Link sound and richness of tone, with the ability to be super powerful as well, I was immediately interested in trying the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance model tenor saxophone mouthpiece.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece is not made with hard rubber but it is made from Drake’s vintage resin material.  Each mouthpiece is created as a one piece casting that Aaron finishes by hand.  The entire process is done at his shop and nothing is outsourced.

Here are a few words from Aaron on the Vintage Resin material he uses for his saxophone mouthpieces:

“Our Vintage Resin is a resin composite material that incorporates ceramic to enhance its hardness and acoustic properties.  This material is the closest to the properties of vintage hard rubber.  The Vintage Resin is engineered for durability and will outlast hard rubber.  I recently had an opportunity to take a look at one of my mouthpieces made 10 years ago.  It was played every day by a top professional musician and the mouthpiece facing was unchanged and still spot on.

Also, speaking to the material – it is not possible to capture the level of detail in the reproduction process using hard rubber and the process of milling hard rubber has a completely different acoustic affect on the finished mouthpiece – our one piece casting method is much more homogeneous and resonates differently – it is more “alive”. -Aaron Drake 

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is what Jerry Bergonzi and Aaron Drake write about the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece from the Drake website:

“When I listen to all my favorite recordings of saxophone players, the sound is in front of the band like a vocalist would be, having great presence to hear all the nuances in the sound.  That’s why I like the “Power Resonance” mouthpiece as it gives that type of presence.” – Jerry Bergonzi

The Bergonzi “Power Resonance” model features a rollover baffle contour – identical to the Bergonzi “EB” model – with a raised floor contour which gives the piece greater projection without being bright.-Aaron Drake

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece came well packaged and protected.  The tenor mouthpiece looked great right out of the box.  The resin material is shiny and smooth to the touch.  The table, tip, rails, baffle and chamber look absolutely perfect.  Everything is clean cut, even and smooth.

The mouthpiece has “Drake Handmade USA” faintly engraved on the side of the body and “Bergonzi Power Resonance” engraved on the other side of the body. The tip opening of “7*” is etched by hand into the copper band that is at the bottom of the shank.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece looks great as I examine it while writing this review. The table looks flat and smooth with not a mark on it.  The side rails and tip rail are thin and look to be perfectly even to my eyes.

The baffle is a smooth rollover baffle that has a unique design in that the floor of the baffle is raised as it travels through the chamber area as you can see in the photo below.  This has the effect of making the large chamber into more of a medium chambered mouthpiece. This design is unique in that the chamber isn’t squeezed smaller with a smaller chamber size or smaller chamber opening but is only made smaller on the bottom side of the chamber that has the raised baffle/chamber floor.  I have never seen a raised floor design like this before and was curious to how it would play for me. The top roof of the mouthpiece chamber is nice and thin and the side walls are slightly scooped out.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece came with a slide-on Drake Dual Rails Ligature.  The Dual Rails Ligature holds the reed with rails on each side of the ligature.  Although the Drake Dual Rails ligature held the reed on fine when slid over the reed and mouthpiece, the slide-on ligature sat more towards the front of the reed on the mouthpiece table and I opted to try a different more adjustable ligature for this mouthpiece.

I chose to record the sound clip below with a Sax Clinic Sonus Divinus string ligature (review coming soon) that I just receive just because I like the flexibility of being able to adjust the ligature placement on the reed.  The one negative to the Drake Dual Rails ligature (and all slid-on circular ligatures) is that the ligature placement on the reed can not be adjusted.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

As a point of reference for other ligatures, the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece will work with any ligature that fits a hard rubber Otto Link tenor saxophone mouthpiece. I also tried using a Boston Sax Shop Superlative ligature, a Vandoren Optimum ligature and a generic metal ligature for hard rubber tenor sax mouthpieces.  All three of these ligatures fit on the Power Resonance mouthpiece perfectly.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

My first experience playing the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece was that it was very reed friendly and very easy blowing.  I used Rigotti Gold 3 Light reeds and Rigotti Gold 3 Medium tenor saxophone reeds on the sound clips below.

The Rigotti Gold 3 Light felt super easy to play and free blowing.  The tone with this reed sounds clear, pure and focused. The reed felt like it was on the verge of being a tad soft when playing at full volume so if I was using this mouthpiece on a live gig that was loud, I would probably lean towards the 3 Medium reed which could be pushed harder for more volume.

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance tenor sax mouthpiece had a clear focused sound to the tone that has a richness and thickness to the sound that is similar to an Otto Link style mouthpiece but with more volume when pushed.

I thought the tone was of a darker spectrum than many of the “Early Babbitt” hard rubber Otto Links I have played throughout the years but when pushed the Power Resonance tenor mouthpiece could get quite a bit of volume without getting over bright and thin in tone.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The first sound clip below is with the Rigotti Gold 3 Light reed and the tone is focused and fat in my opinion.  There is no reverb or effects on the sound clip at all.  From the first note, you can hear a purity of tone that doesn’t have a lot of brightness in the tone.  The high notes sound fat, full and round.

The second clip is with a slightly harder Rigotti Gold 3 medium tenor sax reed.  The tone of the mouthpiece with the slightly harder reed seems a little brighter to me.  It sounds like it has more overtones in the tone which make it sound a bit more spread and brighter to my ear.

I like both clips for different reason but I can hear a clear difference in tone between the two slightly different reed strengths.

The last sound clip is a fun one I recorded in a barn near where I live.  There is quite a huge natural reverb in this barn and I love going there to practice.  This clip was with the harder Rigotti 3 medium reed and I play a bit more altissimo in this setting about half way through the sound clip.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance is a great tenor sax mouthpiece for those of you looking for a more powerful sound that still stays true to the Otto Link tone concept.  The power and tone afforded by the raised floor seems to be quite different than the power and tone given by a higher rollover baffle in my opinion.  To my ears, it sounds like the Drake Power Resonance tenor saxophone mouthpiece increases the power mostly in the mid-range EQ of the mouthpiece whereas a higher baffled sax mouthpiece seems to increase the bright side of the tone while perhaps taking a bit of thickness away from the body of the tone in comparison.

This boost in the mids seems to boost the overall thickness of the tone so instead of getting brighter and thinner up high, the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance mouthpiece has more of a thick fat presence up in the high end of the horn.

The low end of the saxophone is also beautiful, resonant and fat as well.  The mouthpiece subtones well and the notes down low are full, thick and fat sounding.

The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance tenor sax mouthpiece is even and smooth throughout the range of the horn.  I did feel like the middle D was a bit more husky in tone with the harder reed and more smooth and uniform with the slightly softer reed in the first clip.

As far as volume, I would say it can play at 10 or 11 no problem if volume was rated from 1-10.  I usually find typical hard rubber Otto Links play at about a 7 or 8 on that same scale so saying the Power Resonance can play at 10 or 11 is a pretty impressive leap in power in my opinion.  I would have no problem suggesting this tenor mouthpiece to a sax player who plays a lot of jazz sets on a gig but then has to kick it into overdrive for the dance set.  The Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Chamber tenor mouthpiece can do both of those genres quite well but don’t take my word for it, listen to the sound clips below………..

Besides my three sound clips below, I have also included a Youtube video of Carl Cox playing a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance 7 (.100) tenor sax mouthpiece.  I thought this video was a cool addition because Carl shows what this mouthpiece can do in a modern fusion type of setting with a band.

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance tenor saxophone mouthpiece by Aaron Drake, you can find them at the Drake website.  Aaron Drake has done an amazing job creating his own line of saxophone mouthpieces with an attention to detail that is top of the line.  Beside being a great craftsman, Aaron Drake is also a great sax player, which, in my mind, is so important to dialing in the fine details to making a great playing saxophone mouthpiece.

If you have played or end up playing a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance tenor saxophone mouthpiece or have any other thoughts or comments about this review, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Dry Recording (No Effects)

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Medium Reed-Dry Recording (No Effects)

Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance 7* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Medium Reed-Recorded in Big Barn with Natural Reverb

Carl Cox playing a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Above is a killer studio recording of Carl Cox playing a modern “fusion” type tune on a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Master Series Power Resonance tenor saxophone mouthpiece. I am told that this mouthpiece is a .100 which is a 7 tip opening.

Finally, below is a video of the great Jerry Bergonzi playing the Drake Power Resonance model mouthpiece on Youtube.  Jerry gets a sound on this mouthpiece that is all him. (I’d be curious what tip opening and reed size he is using as his sound suggests a much harder reed than I typically use……..)

Jerry Bergonzi playing a Drake Jerry Bergonzi Power Resonance Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Disclosure:  I received the sample mouthpiece reviewed above for free in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. Regardless, I only review sax mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also.     Steve
Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 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. Aaron Drake makes amazing mouthpieces and he is also a great person to work with. He’s one of the good guys! This mouthpiece sounds amazing! Both Steve and Carl sound great on it.

  2. Hi Stave !!!
    I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your great website, I usually consult it and since I am already used to your sound, you are a great reference when it comes to listening to the small nuances of each piece for me.

    This Drake piece seems to me to have that resonance of the old recordings, when it was recorded with mics and tube mixers, that wonderful, warm and a bit broken sound. Maybe it can remind me a bit of the Navarro bop boy that by the way I have had for a few years.

    Thank you for your great work, and congratulations on your great sound in each piece you test.

    Greetings from Spain
    Jerry

  3. Avatar Jared Jackson says

    From what I remember, Bergonzi plays on pieces between 9-10* with a 4H D’Addario Jazz Select. Piece sounds great!

    — Jared

    • Yep! A 9-10* with a 4 Hard reed would not be a setup I could even attempt to play! I’ll leave that to the Bergonzi’s and Garzone’s of this world…. even with my weak in comparison reeds, I have to line up a hernia surgery for myself next month. Not looking forward to that! Thanks for the info Jared.

      • I’m tempted to try this mouthpiece out. I’ve been playing a Phil Barone Hollywood 7* for a long time, but I’m looking for a fatter sound up on top. Don’t worry about your hernia surgery too much. I just had an umbilical done about six months ago and it was a piece of cake. I felt like new within about three days after the surgery

Speak Your Mind

*