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Cannonball Global Series Big Bell Tenor Saxophone

All things “cute” have overwhelmed me as of late. Don’t get me wrong-cute has its place: puppies, little children, etc. But when it comes to saxophone products, cute is getting a bit old. So you can understand why I might be a bit apprehensive reviewing a saxophone with the name of “Cannonball” for a jazz magazine. Rest assured that this Cannonball-a nickel-plated, big bell, Global Series-is in reference to the large gun, not the famed Adderley of the alto saxophone. Cannonball is a relative newcomer to the saxophone world and boasts quite a list of clientele with artists ranging from the New Century Saxophone Quartet to tenor-man Pete Christlieb.

When you open the faux Alligator case, the saxophone looks like something off of American Choppers. The dark patina of the glossy, nickel plating is striking, bordering on over-the-top. Soundwise, the Global produces a very free-blowing, centered sound. In fact, it might have been the freest tenor I have played in while. However, where the sound has a great deal of focus, it seems to lack some of the middle overtones that I usually expect in a big-bell saxophone. Additionally, it took me, and others who played it, a bit more time to tame the upper register. Everyone had a tendency to play very sharp, especially in the palm keys. This may have been a matter of poor adjustment. Overall, this horn performed well in both small group and big band settings. Projection is not a problem, but I did get the feeling that the saxophone led me to a particular-type of sound: When I tried to change the color and timbre, say to a more Stan Getz-type sound, I encountered a slight bit of resistance.

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