Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Vandoren V16 Sax Mouthpieces

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

You don’t have to be much of a detective to discern the meaning in Vandoren’s statement that its V16 Series sax mouthpiece “captures the famous jazz saxophone sounds of the ’50s and ’60s.” The V16 is obviously modeled after the classic Meyer of that era-what we mouthpiece geeks call the “New York” Meyer, differentiating it from later, inferior versions. Vandoren can’t come right out and say it, since a competitor still manufactures mouthpieces bearing the Meyer name. But that’s the implication, and it’s a haughty claim. To Vandoren’s credit, the V16 stands up to the comparison.

I’ve strayed on occasion, but for the most part, I’ve used the same New York Meyer 5M on alto for 35 years. In choosing it (or, to be more accurate, having it chosen for me) at the tender age of 10, I was following in the very hip footfalls of Cannonball Adderley, Lou Donaldson, Charles McPherson and Phil Woods, to name just a few illustrious Meyer devotees. Other manufacturers made great mouthpieces back then, but the sound of modern-jazz alto was (and still is) largely the sound of the New York Meyer. Over the years, other mouthpiece makers have sought to recapture the greatness of the vintage Meyers. Vandoren has gotten it right.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published