My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

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    BigDaddyJ's Avatar
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    Default My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    So I visited a local music store to get a tenor worked on. In the display case was a sand blast B&S Chicago Jazz tenor. I had to try it!! I've been beyond interested in a B&S tenor for years. The store employee informed me that they also had a B&S Medusa with the gold brass body, silver bell, & 3 different necks for the same price as the Chicago Jazz. Yikes!!!

    Up first, is the Chicago Jazz. Great ergonomics and intonation. Huge fat sound with much more core (midrange?) than my P. Mauriat 66R. Not to mention, one of the best looking saxes I've ever seen. It's got a little more resistance than my 66R, but that's something that I'm liking more and more. Very impressive horn over all.

    Next up is the Medusa. I really wanted to "love" this sax, but the sound was a little thinner than the Chicago Jazz. The nickel silver neck was the brightest but gurgled a little around low F# to low D. The brass was the warmest, but had the same gurgle as the nickel. The silver was somewhere in the middle in terms of sound, but had the best response. No gurgle with the silver neck. Also a great playing tenor. I just couldn't get past the slightly thinner sound compared to the Chicago Jazz. So I gave the Medusa back to the store employee.

    Out of curiosity, I tried an Eastman 52nd street tenor in bare brass. I've read so much about this tenor. Sounded very close to my 66R, but MAN!!!!! Very clunky action. Both B&S tenors felt WAY more refined in the hands.

    I did not plan on buying a new sax any time soon, but the Chicago Jazz horn just blew me away. I've been playing on this horn for the last few hours, and I can't stop playing it! I've heard the Selmer Mark VI comparison over and over, but I don't hear it. Both B&S tenors have a great core sound but they were both much bigger sounding than any Selmer I've every tried, and I've tried a lot. Decades of searching, and I think this is the BEST tenor sax I've ever played.

    Here are a few pics of my new sand blast Chicago Jazz tenor:


    RightSide.jpg

    BellRightSide.jpg

    BellLeftSide.jpg

    NeckLeftSide.jpg
    BigDaddyJ

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  3. #2
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    Jerry K.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Congrats, they are great horns! Do you mind sharing the name of the store with the Medusa and their asking price?

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    BigDaddyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Sure Jerry, no problem.

    It's the Kolacny Music Company at 1900 S. Broadway Blvd in Denver, CO. Very nice and informed staff.

    www.kolacnymusic.com/

    The Medusa is being listed for $2500. A steal in my book for such a quality horn. It appeared to be in near mint condition. I could only find a few extremely slight scratches on the pant-leg side of the bell.

    later
    BigDaddyJ

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ View Post
    …I think this is the BEST tenor sax I've ever played.
    I agree with everything you said in your review. If there was a difference in sound between the two B&S tenors, it's probably down to setup, because they should be the same basic horn.
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Big Daddy, how are you liking the B&S tenor now that you've been playing it for a few months?
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    I just purchased a like new CJ Tenor in gold lacquer. Excited to join the club.
    �We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.�
    ~Aristotle

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Hey Soybean, still loving my B&S. I play on it every week with a combo. Just an absolute monster of a horn. That Sound............Can't get enough of it. French sound with a bit of that CHU warmth/spread?! Well, the best sound I've ever had on tenor. I am using a Vandoren HR V16 with a T8 tip, Vandoren M/O lig, & Rico Jazz Select Unfiled 3S.

    Later
    BigDaddyJ

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    That's a great setup big daddy.
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    bigdaddyj, please check your inbox, thanks

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Hello all,

    just a little update on my tenor. I bought a Viking LOR neck from swperry1 (Thanks Steve for the smooth transaction!) here on SOTW.

    Aside from looking very unique (in a good way) on my B&S, this neck is great to play on! The intonation is still great. Low D to G actually speaks a little easier. The original neck was a bit spread; the Viking LOR neck adds a bit of focus to the sound without getting too bright. There is also more clarity in the midrange. I play in a very loud big band every once in a while, and I am able to cut through a bit more without blowing my guts out. I still love the sound of the original neck, but the LOR neck is what I now play on all the time.




    BigDaddyJ

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    I have never found a better neck on my two CJS's than the originals.
    �We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.�
    ~Aristotle

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    I tried an Oleg neck, couple of mark 6 necks and none of them worked better than the stock one. Then for a few months I actually used a Yamaha F1 neck. That one was the best out of all the replacements but I still went back to the stock neck for the best intonation. What do you prefer about the Viking?
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    In my situation I saw a profound difference when I decided to experiment with ligatures. Since I absolutely love the mouthpieces GW has made me over the years I was not willing to part with them so ligatures were next.

    Once I tried the Vandoren Optimum I could not believe how much more I could get out of these horns.

    I mean I could already plays things on the CJS that I could never have on the Taiwanese horns I had been using but these ligatures opened up the possibility of playing even softer, using sub tones, better intonation and altissimo became second nature.

    Everybody is different and for awhile I played the neck game but eventually we find the right thing for us.

    I hope you find what you are seeking.

    B
    �We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.�
    ~Aristotle

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Soybean,

    I've got a 1948 Martin Committee that I play on sometimes. It's been relacquered....It has a non-original 1952 Commitete neck........It has rivet pads (no resonators)..........But DAMN!!!!!! That horn is the best sounding horn I've every played. Very balanced sound that is just MONSTROUS even without resos. I wouldn't call it a bright sounding horn, but it has a clarity?........purity?.........focus?..... in the midrange that I have never heard in tenor. I have been looking for a modern horn with this sound for a long time.

    I drove out to Sax Alley to try a bunch of unbelievable horns with that sound in mind. The only thing that came close was a really old brass King Zephyr, but it was quite a bit brighter than I prefered. Of the modern horns, I was really surprised by a used, black lacquer Yamaha Custom. Had some of that clarity in the midrange, but it was missing something in the tone. I had brought my CJS tenor along to compare. I can safely say my B&S is still one of the best horns I've ever played. I did try a Tino Schucht neck; darker and more stuffy. Tenor Madness necks, didn't really make a better difference in sound.

    On a whim, I bought the Viking Lor neck that swperry1 was selling in the market place for a great price. The tenon matched mine. I'd read enough about them online to spark an interest. Lo and behold, the neck added quite a bit of clarity to the midrange of my CJS without really taking away too much of that lush sound that I bought the horn for. I'd been switching between the Martin and the CJS because sometimes I like hearing a different sound. Now I can switch between those sounds without having to adjust to very different ergonomics. For now the Viking neck is doing it for me. I don't doubt that the original neck will do it for me again. It's great having such simple options.

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Brian,

    I hear you. I had a beast P. Mauriat 66R that I hand picked out of dozen 66r's. I sold that horn when I bought my CJS. My sound drives me to play, and I am really diggin' the way I sound with my B&S and the Viking LOR neck. Matches unbelievably well with a Phil-Tone Equinox that I just traded for.

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Very happy you found it!

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ View Post
    Brian,

    I hear you. I had a beast P. Mauriat 66R that I hand picked out of dozen 66r's. I sold that horn when I bought my CJS. My sound drives me to play, and I am really diggin' the way I sound with my B&S and the Viking LOR neck. Matches unbelievably well with a Phil-Tone Equinox that I just traded for.

    later

    Joel
    �We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.�
    ~Aristotle

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ View Post
    …Lo and behold, the neck added quite a bit of clarity to the midrange of my CJS without really taking away too much of that lush sound that I bought the horn for.…
    Thanks for the explanation Joel. That is very interesting.
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: My new B&S Chicago Jazz tenor

    Hello all,

    As I mentioned earlier, I've been playing a Viking Lor neck on my CJS tenor with a Phil-Tone Equinox mpc; a very unique, fat sound. Love it! A few weeks ago, I picked up D'Addario 7M tenor mpc. It's been a bit of a love/not-really-like-it relationship with the 7M. I just switched back to the original neck. Wow!! Reminds me of playing on an early Mark VI. Huge resonant sound. Dark, yet somehow bright at the same time?? None of that nasal sound, though. I think this is the BEST I've ever sounded on tenor. Sub-tones with ease, but it can cut through a big band without breaking up at full volume. If you have a B&S tenor, I recommend you try one of these D'Addario tenor pieces; it really plays like a custom piece. I bought mine shipped to my house for about $150. I now see Sax Alley is selling them for $139. BTW, the 7M also kills on my 1948 Martin. Different sound, but still killin'!!!!

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

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