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Jody Jazz HR* and DV Mouthpieces

On the heels of his popular ESP line, mouthpiece maker Jody Espina offers two radically different concepts in sax-beak design. The HR* model harkens back to the classic hard rubber mouthpieces of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s; the other is the DV, a hi-tech, futuristic adventure in mouthpiece design and performance. Both models have one thing in common-they are great-playing mouthpieces.

Most reminiscent of the old Meyer and Otto Link pieces from the ’50s, the HR* is a medium-chamber, hard rubber mouthpiece made for both alto and tenor saxophones. It produces a free-blowing, sweet sound that yields a little extra edge when pushed. Unlike older vintage pieces that can run to many hundreds of dollars, the HR* can be bought for between $107 and $117. I was particularly impressed with the 6M alto and 8* tenor versions. Both these mouthpieces allowed a wide range of tone colors, from West Coast cool to classic Blue Note edge. And both fit well in a modern big band setting with the alto model making an impact as an outstanding lead mouthpiece. In a more contemporary setting both pieces performed well, but producing a brighter, contemporary sound with an HR requires more work and determination from the player.

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