P Mauriat Saxophone

If you’re looking for a saxophone that produces a classic vintage tone, then the P.Mauriat range of horns should be high on your test list. Not only do they have the tonal characteristics of the vintage Saxophone – they also have the looks! From the burnished bronze of the Artist series to the dark lacquered brass with abalone buttons of the vintage series with the innovative vintage style super Jazz VI neck – pipe, these horns ooze character and class. The range also includes a number of custom made limited edition instruments, such as the Arc Soprano and the PMB – 302G Baritone in vintage form without the low A. There’s little doubt, that given the quality of build and the attention to detail of the P. Mauriat Saxophones, they’re likely to be giving the Selmer selection a good run for their money. Steve Goodson Orpheo alto saxophone. The black-lacquered Orpheo is a very striking saxophone. Made in Taiwan (like the Mauriats), it feels solid and is exceptionally well engineered, with good solid springing and double arm action on the low C, B and Bb. The action is positive and the palm keys are well positioned and I liked the adjustable thumb position plate.

The lack of pearl keys is a strange choice, and although my fingertips settled comfortably into the dished keys, I felt strangely detached from the instrument. I also felt slightly cramped for space – the Orpheo would probably better suit a player with smaller hands. The fitting of softer Kangaroo pads though is a real bonus, as they not only last longer but they also seem to help to give the instrument added projection – which the Orpheo has in plenty. This horn comes with two crooks, one 92 per cent rose brass for a darker sound and the other 83 per cent brass for a brighter sound.

The accompanying marketing blurb tells me that the standard brass crook delivers a ‘jazzier’ sound. I beg to disagree. For my money, the rose brass gives the Orpheo a hint of warmth and a more jazz instilled sonic palette. The altissimo is bright and clear and plays like a dream – but do we really need a top G and all the extra keywork that comes with it? It not only crams the back of the instrument, but also adds weight. The lower register is solid and flows smoothly, although I did detect a slight stuffiness – but this was probably more to do with me, rather than the instrument itself. Sonically, the Orpheo seems to have plenty at the bottom and at the top, but somehow contrives to have a less than interesting middle. I was looking for some character in the sound – some personality. Sadly, I found neither. The Orpheo isn’t a cool, emotive instrument, but very much a straightahead saxophone that will undoubtedly add weight to any Funk or Big Band. For more go to www.stevegoodsonsaxophones.com