Friday, September 28, 2012

A Track from Kansas City

Today, I wanted to share one of the tracks from 12th Street Jump, the radio show I recorded with while in Kansas City this summer. Also, I wanted to thank everyone who supported me in the Charlie Parker Cutting Contest. The trip was great, and it was fun seeing how a radio show is recorded with all the cues and time sheets, etc.

This is Charlie Parker's Confirmation, and Jim Mair is playing alto on the head along with vocals by David Basse. The rhythm section is filled out by Joe Cartwright on Piano, Tyrone Clark on Bass, and Mike Warren on Drums. I play second after the vocal solo at about 1:40.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Theo Wanne AMMA

I've had the recent privilege of an extended play-test with a few of Theo Wanne's pieces.  After Theo's enlightened ligature passed my stringent gigs/session/practice testing (and has become part of my main setup) I decided to investigate a couple of his mouthpieces. The two I spent a bit of time with were the GAIA and the AMMA.  I previously reviewed the GAIA here, which I've updated to reflect my more recent playtest.


The AMMA is completely new to me, and the particular model I play tested was the metal "vintified" model for Tenor. The most striking aspect of this mouthpiece is the speed of its response. The piece is so light on its feet it gives you the feeling you can do whatever you want as long as your fingers are up for it.  The kind of response I'm talking about is in the simple passage of one note to the next. Each note pops, meaning from behind the horn you get immediate clear auditory feedback giving the mouthpiece its very responsive feel. This characteristic is true throughout all registers of the horn and carries over to articulation and large interval jumps, which both feel markedly easy to execute.

The feeling of blowing through the mouthpiece is unique. While being very balanced and comfortable in terms of resistance, it is different from a metal Link which feels like it takes more air. That being said the AMMA happily takes as much air as you throw at it without breaking up or getting uncomfortable.

"Vintified" finish

The "vintified" AMMA has a lot of core to the sound making it very easy to hear while playing.  The tone has elements of brightness and warmth. It has some depth and plenty of brilliance and edge.  The mouthpiece's tone is also flexible and can range from a middle of the road warmer sound to a bright and powerful sound when pushed.

The Pudding

Here are two clips from my playtest. The first is with the normal gold pressure plate, and the second one is with a stainless steel pressure plate. The stainless steel pressure plate really brightens up the AMMA (a little too much for my personal taste), while the gold pressure pressure plate (the default plate) gives it a nice balanced and powerful tone.

AMMA gold pressure plate.mp3
AMMA stainless steel pressure plate.mp3

Conclusion: The "vintified" AMMA is a very responsive mouthpiece with plenty of power, edge, and a brilliant yet balanced tone.