Selmer Pennsylvania Special Baritone (1937)

The Story

Kate plays this Selmer Pennsylvania baritone saxophone in the Earley Music Centre Big Band, having just moved back from the front row alto section. Ours is a rehearsal band which plays occasional concerts to friends and family, having an annual outing to the Victoria Embankment Gardens in Westminster, London. We play a good variety of big band music from swing to blues to pop and jazz. Our conductor is Tom Benellick who famously played bugle on the Beatles Sgt Pepper band. Continue reading

Kohlert Modell 1927 (1927)

The Story

We’re very pleased to bring you a review of this excellent, unusual German saxophone written by Peter Chadwick – a keen player based in the West country…

I bought this instrument from eBay out of curiosity (it wasn’t expensive!). I have become a fan of European saxophones after dumping my Martin to buy a Selmer Pennsylvania Special (see an earlier article by Saxuimus Maximus). I have been unable to discover much about pre-war Kohlert instruments although there is a lot of company history to read if you are that way inclined. I understand that during the late 1920’s Kohlert used the year of manufacture as the model name. I have seen pictures of a “Modell 1926” and a “Modell 1928” – mine is a “Modell 1927” and doesn’t look much like the others. Continue reading

Selmer Mark VI Baritone (1979)

The Story

The Snakey Spat Band was a fantastic funk band playing in Abingdon from the mid 1970s and the first real band I played in, joining at the age of 17. Poignantly it split up in 1979 in the same week Dexies Midnight Runners reached no 1 in the singles chart. It contained great musicians, including Tim Cairns, Squirrel, Dave Ball and George Day. The horn players included Murray Powell, John WIld, Pat Kelly and his son Julian, Andy Kinch, Andy Miller and Pat Crumley – my saxophone teacher: so I was very lucky to be good enough to play with them. Shortly after the band split Tim and George started the Big Boys Blues Band, playing blues and soul music and I’m still playing in that horn section today, moving from alto to tenor over the years. In the early 1990s I decided to buy a Mark VI to play when needed. Anyone who’s read my review of my Evette and Schaeffer bari can see why I couldn’t use that one. Continue reading

Selmer Pennsylvania Special Alto (1938)

The Story

I bought this horn from Tony at Maggini Supplies in 2005. At the time I was building my collection and very keen on Selmer, which made the best saxophones of all – especially the Mark VI, which beat all comers from the late 1950s onwards. Continue reading

Buescher True Tone Series IV Tenor (1930)

The Story

This is a recent acquisition. I’ve owned a ‘naked lady’ alto for a number of years and jumped at the chance of buying a great big sounding tenor from one of the key American saxophone makers. I’ve played this once so far – it has the loudest, fullest sound of all the tenors I own. Continue reading

Martin ‘The Martin’ Alto (1944)

The Story

My friend Tony H brough this round the other day. He’s owned the horn for about 3 months. Unlike me he’s a transient collector, preferring to own just one tenor and one alto at any particular time.
He associates Martin horns with Art Pepper – a player he remembers from the 1950s. He had a melodic and light innovative sound – very different from Charlie Parker and his many imitators who were all the rage at the time. I definitely agree, having many Art Pepper albums. The poor man’s personal life was unfortunately in stark contrast to his beautiful horn playing. He also noted that a number of British dance band players used Martins in the post war years. Continue reading

King New Voll-True Alto (1930)

The Story

I bought this in 2001 when I was travelling a couple of times a year to San Francisco to events such as the annual Sun Microsystems analyst meeting. There are a handful of Savings and Loan shops in the less touristy places – areas where people will ask you for money on the street and your middle class American friends advise you not to go. I really like these shops, because their owners tended to undervalue their stock, minimising the loan value on the assets. Although I didn’t realise it at the time the pound’s rising value against the dollar made buying secondhand saxophones even more attractive. It’s all changed since then – the pound hs declined significantly in value and eBay makes all saxophone values knowable for the shop owners. I also believe that these instruments are a finite resource – they got pawned years ago. I can’t find many interesting saxophones any more in San Francisco in these shops – I joke with my friends that I bought them all. Continue reading