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RS Berkeley’s Legends Series Mouthpieces by Drake

Mouthpieces by Drake replicate the equipment of icons

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Charlie Parker Legends Series mouthpiece
Stan Getz Legends Series mouthpiece

Young players have been copping licks off their elders since jazz’s beginnings. More difficult than stealing a style, however, is replicating a sound. It is one thing to memorize licks, but quite another to mimic a specific quality of tone. This is especially problematic for reed players, given the many variables: embouchure, reed, horn, mouthpiece, etc. Especially mouthpiece. It’s no problem to find the same make and model of horn Charlie Parker used. But unless you get your hands on a similar mouthpiece, you’ll never really get close to his sound.

Ah, but we’re living in the 21st century. Where there’s a will, the skill and the technological means, there’s a way. The instrument manufacturer RS Berkeley got its mitts on an alto mouthpiece once belonging to Charlie Parker via Bird’s daughter Kim, and arranged with the mouthpiece designer Aaron Drake to craft a line of copies-accurate, according to RS Berkeley, “right down to the teeth marks.” The company also facilitated replicas of pieces used by Stan Getz and Johnny Griffin, though the latter wasn’t available in time for this review. Not only is it possible to play the same kind of piece these icons used; thanks to RS Berkeley and Drake, you can essentially play the same exact thing.

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