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: