Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bill Singer

The Master. My 1941 Buescher "Big B" tenor saxophone gets restored to playing condition by repair technician Bill Singer in Manhattan. Witness the first sounds out of this instrument (which as Bill points out had been "sitting in a basement, rotting") since 1972!

Here's the video...

And for you true saxophone obsessives my visit with Bill is followed by a very geeky comparative demonstration of three vintage tenor be the judge...

Please note: This is the followup to my previous post "Shut Up and Practice". See below for the backstory...


  1. hey Ellery this is great.. love it. love the blog ..
    (would have loved to hear how your mark VI compares to the other horns. its hard to know from a youtube but the CHU conn (was my favorite) and your big B also sounded beautiful the last CONN is probably the warmest but a little too dark for my taste.. (....with your tone, you make a tin can sound good- always inspiring)
    (....and wow bill haven't seen him in years. send my regards when you see him)

  2. this is a fun video. good blog, ellery. I forwarded your note to the major jazz blogosphere players and I tweeted the link to it. should get you some traffic...

  3. Hell Assif,
    Nice to hear from you, thanks. I might have included the Mark VI but I haven't been playing it at all in some months. It's been well recorded anyway. I find that the Mark VI emphasizes the upper tone partials more than the Conn or Buescher does. While the VIs have a great sound it was harder for me to fill it out, especially in the high register. These horns seem to make that easier and are somehow more "three-dimensional" to me. My favorite is the Chu also. It's very flexible tonally. I can play little songs on it just by voicing the pitch, even without moving the keys.

    Hope you're well...

  4. Matt,
    Thanks very much for helping me get this off the ground! See you 'round...

  5. Hey man great sound. Classic Bill Singer at 1:33,"It's the technique,ahim ahim ahim." Bill is the best. With him everything matters.

    Great posting!

  6. Beautiful. Thanks for letting us all joyfully geek out with this. I must insist on the particular glory of the conn ladyface, but i am strongly biased and loyal to my own. You make them all sound gorgeous.


  7. Thanks Brian. They each have their charms although I am most partial to the Chu Berry...

  8. Ellery,

    Awesome video, man. You sound so beautiful and original, as always.