JP042 Tenor Saxophone
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"My weekend with the JP 042." Pete Long - session player "I'm not quite sure how they've done this. My first Tenor Sax was a beast, and if my memory serves me right set my dad back around £400 in 1981. At the time, a student model saxophone was an expensive proposition, costing around 55% of the price of the then brand leading brand. Therefore, by rights, this instrument should weigh in at around £1450. It should also have a slightly muffled sound, a cheap looking bulky case, awkward keywork, uncertain intonation, a slightly unreliable mechanism and a look which can only be described as cheap and nasty. It really made you feel like you were a student!
On being presented with the 042, it was immediately apparent that advances in the manufacturing process over the last twenty-five years have changed the nature of the student model instrument to such a degree that its very category of "learner instrument" is now no longer really appropriate.
To see how the tenor would fare on the field of battle, I used it for my work this weekend. Early Friday night saw me at a blues bar in the City of London. With Mayor Ken's traffic regime being what it is, I felt my best move was to get to work on public transport. The case that comes with the 042 is light, strong and really surprisingly thin. Best of all, it has backpack style straps so I was able to weave my way through the Friday commuters and not be impeded by a huge wooden box in one hand, or a cumbersome gig bag dangling off one shoulder and then becoming impaled on the ticket barrier! Having had a relatively stress-free (no stress due to carrying the sax) journey in, the gig was a breeze- this tenor has a distinctive and very bright sound, ideal for cutting through in this context. Also, I felt that I had unrivalled access into the altissimo register, and I was able to play cleanly up to the F# above top F#. The lower harmonics especially felt very easy, and the top G# available here was the best I have ever had. On the quiet numbers, it was very easy to produce a bluesy subtone. The feel of the keywork was very positive, especially the low Eb/C and the left hand little finger stack, and the instrument felt proper. Unlike most budget instruments, it weighs the same as a real one, and its lacquer job leaves nothing to be desired."
Pete Long has had an illustrious career including work with the Jools Holland R & B Orchestra, Stereophonics, Claire Teale and many other household names. UPDATE - This sax was played by Pete Long on Radio 2's 'Friday Night is Music Night' on May 4th 2007 including the lead solo! Please note that, as is common practice, Pete uses his own choice of mouthpiece on this saxophone.
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