As part of the “In the Mood” show I got to play bari sax on this lovely Dave Wolpe arrangement of Gershwin’s “Summertime”. The vocalist was the lovely and talented Robin Hilt. It is very rare for me to get to play in a hobbyist band with musicians of this caliber. Not surprising is that many of these folks are music education professionals.
The joke line before this song was by Lark Meadows, played by our vocalist Robin Hilt, where she said she wanted to sing a seasonal piece… that she started working on six months ago. <wink>
There were many places in this arrangement where I got play out the pedal notes. And in one place I get to stomp on a low Bb. There are also three mini solos for the baritone sax in this song. The sax section was very strong and sounding good is much easier when the whole section is tight. The bari parts are typically not noticed by the audience because of it’s low range. But I got some great comments from this performance.
My sax is a Yanagisawa B991 which includes the low A keyworks. I have tried a lot of mouthpieces but keep coming back to the Yanagisawa #6 rubber piece that came with the instrument. With a nice open chamber, making this baritone sax sound good takes a lot of air but is sooo worth it. Depending up how many soft passages I have, I tend to move between a La Voz med soft (2.25) to a Vandoren ZZ 3 reed. And I use the Vandoren Optima Lig on all my reed instruments because I luv the easy to access one-screw adjustment.
I also wanna call out the bass trombone player, Bob Snead who backs me up on much of the low stuff. He is one of the rare cats who can play that low and be in tune. So sit back and enjoy the Sky Notes Orchestra rendition of Summertime.
I did end up taking the bari in for tweaking this week. My friend John Werth is putting in a kangaroo pad for my low C# which sticks and fixing some leaks. I could tell there were leaks when I tried to decrescendo on a low A. That’s the acid test for a baritone sax.