Monday, July 16, 2012

Otto Link on alto sax

Conventional wisdom has it that the Meyer-style mouthpiece, with its medium-sized chamber and S-shaped baffle, is ideally suited for playing jazz on the alto saxophone. With the discovery of the video below, we can add Gary Bartz to the list of preeminent alto saxophonists who instead chose to play large-chambered Otto Link mouthpieces at some point in their careers. That list includes Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Gigi Gryce, Dave Schildkraut, Jackie McLean, Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz, Charlie Mariano, and now Bartz. Contemporary saxophonists currently using Otto Link mouthpieces on alto are Joe Lovano (apparently) and Loren Stillman. 

All of these players have distinctive and highly personal sounds and arguably constitute a significant portion of the best altoists of all time. Will the Meyer mouthpiece orthodoxy continue to stand? 

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