Jody Jazz HR* Tenor
The piece is effortless from low B-flat up to the upper echelon of the altissimo range whether playing softly, loudly, subtone, or full-tone. The sound remains full in the entire range of the horn, and the altissimo range retains a full body tone, which isn’t true of every mouthpiece as we’ll see later on. When tonguing the mouthpiece responds quickly giving it a light on its feet feeling. Unfortunately, the mouthpiece does break up when nearing the ff dynamic range. The smoky sound becomes slightly edgier or reedier and less pleasant, but this could vary with a harder strength reed or possibly a different brand of reed.
The dark-heavy mix of dark and bright overtones would lend well to many settings. I wouldn’t want to use it in a more contemporary fusion or funk setting, but George Garzone would beg to differ (and he always sounds great).
Conclusion: The piece has a nice mix of dark and bright overtones in a mainly round, dark, and strong sound setting . However, there is a reedy side that comes out when you really push the piece.
Jody Jazz Classic Tenor
Update: Jody Espina had the following to say on the general approach to playing his mouthpieces and observed difference between the mouthpieces:
Like I mentioned earlier, this mouthpiece sits looser on my cork. Looser than the HR*, looser than the black Classic, looser than my Florida Otto Link, and looser than many other mouthpieces I’ve played on. What does that mean? I have no idea, but I’m giving you fair warning that you might need a new cork if you buy one of these.
More seriously, this is a great playing mouthpiece. It’s another easy to play free-blowing mouthpiece, though in my experience it is slightly more resistant than the HR*. That slight resistance only helps the mouthpiece as I can push it to ff without any real change in the tone quality. The tone quality is also constant from low Bb up until the altissimo register where the sound quality does change. The altissimo register plays easily on the mouthpiece, but unfortunately it loses some of its depth of tone. With practice I’m guessing this could be overcome, at least in large degree, but I definitely noticed that of the 3 Jody Jazz mouthpieces I play tested, this one has the most noticeable tone quality change when playing altissimo.
The removable baffle that comes with the mouthpiece basically give you two mouthpieces in one. Without the removable baffle the tone has a nice balanced mix of dark and bright overtones, and the tone quality is generally round and vibrant. There is a slight edge in the sound, but it's just enough to enhance the sound quality and give it a strong presence. With the removable baffle in place the highs of the sound are brought to the forefront, and the piece’s edginess is also increased. The tone goes from a sound you might expect from a traditional or modern jazz musician to a tone you'd expect to hear from a contemporary smooth jazz musician or even a rock saxophonist. Basically, you have got options. All of that said, the highs emphasized by the removable baffle are not as vibrant as you what you would get from a metal mouthpiece designed for that purpose.
Conclusion: This is another easy to play free-blowing mouthpiece with a balanced mix of highs and lows. Without the spoiler you’ve got just enough highs and edge, and with the spoiler you’ve entered the funk, smooth jazz, and even rock scene though you might really want a metal mouthpiece for those musical situations. The only downside to the mouthpiece was its thinner though easy to play altissimo register.
This mouthpiece does not have a removable baffle in the box, and honestly, it does not need one. It's bright and edgy from the get-go. It is edgier than even the red Classic with the removable baffle in place. To my ears the mouthpiece sounds a little thin and was lacking some of the darker overtones it needs to complete the sound. The mouthpiece would definitely cut due to its bright and edgy nature, and it would appeal to saxophonists who need that ability and are looking to do it with a non-metal mouthpiece.
Despite the differences in sonic qualities the black Classic does have all the same free-blowing qualities of the red model. It's easy to play from bottom to top and at all dynamics. The altissimo register is easy to play, and the mouthpiece fully maintains its depth of tone in the upper register unlike the red Classic.
Conclusion: This is a bright and edgy mouthpiece and is meant to cut. Though a little thin sounding it maintains its sonic integrity from soft to loud and from low to the altissimo register. It would be an easy alternative for a musician looking for a cutting mouthpiece in a non-metal format.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first review or found it helpful. Comments are welcome.
Test Setup: Jody Jazz Tenor HR* with Vandoren Optimum ligature and Rico Jazz Select Filed reeds, Jody Jazz Tenor Black & Red Classics with Rovner and normal 2 screw metal ligatures and Rico Jazz Select Filed reeds.
Normal Setup: Metal Florida Otto Link with Vandoren Optimum ligature and Rico Jazz Select Filed reeds.