Category Archives: RC Alto 4

Jack Phantom – Chedeville RC Alto 4

"For decades I had avoided the saxophone because I didn't like the harsh, squealy rock sound I associated with the instrument. Then I heard Desmond, and Rascher, and my idea about what the sax could be changed. I had a sound in my head, and an idea of what I wanted to sound like, but I couldn't find it. I bought a small collection of mouthpieces including the exact model Desmond played in search of that sound and never found it.

Then I had the privilege to meet Jody Espina. I was a relative newcomer and didn't know what I wanted, so he patiently had me play multiple pieces and listened to how I tried to sound. I was a budding jazz musician, and he had a range of jazz mouthpieces. He suggested one piece, then another - as much an artisan as an engineer. Then he reached under the counter for some prototypes. And bang, there it was.

I've spent some time with it since recording my first album, and I've really been able to dial in the sound. I don't play many notes - after a teenage period of speed metal, I was far more interested in playing songs - more slowly and with emotion and range. With that in mind, the tone absolutely has to be there. I got it, and it's gotten better. I didn't buy a soprano sax until I knew the Chedeville would give it a duduk-like or oboeish sound. With the tenor piece I found I could get a classic jazz sound in the lower register, and a softer, almost flutelike note in the upper. I don't know what alchemy is in these things, but everything else I ever bought is in a drawer someplace.

You don't have to be a classical player to play these, at all, in fact you owe it to yourself just to see what it can do. But I'll admit it makes me sound great playing that theme from Holst's "Jupiter". Chedeville is an absolute DELIGHT to play, and you really have to hear it to understand why."

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