Something’s been cooking in the Amsterdam Winds laboratory. Years of obsessive tinkering, building, testing, failing, re-trying and re-making has led to a tenor sax ready for the main stage. It feels right at home in the hands of world-class players. Check out how our newly born hums in the hands of Joshua Redman by clicking the image above.
The Free Wind Alto has set quite a standard when it comes to both sound and handling. It’s embraced by a select group of players not afraid to keep pushing boundaries. So where do you go when working on a new tenor that has to reach that same level of quality? At some point you need to come out of the shed and show your creation to the world.
The design process of an instrument isn’t easy. On top of that, Friso likes to challenge his abilities by asking feedback from the very best. Just like he did with the Free Wind Alto.
November 2016, Joshua Redman came to Amsterdam Winds to try the prototype tenor. At that point Friso could hear and experience how his tenor sax should sound in the hands of a truly remarkable player. It took him 3 revisions over a period of 6 months refining the instrument even more with the help of Dutch saxophonists Simon Rigter and Yuri Honing.
Last June Friso met Joshua again before his concert in Mainz. He tried the sax in his dressing room and after testing the Free Wind Tenor at the sound check, he felt the instrument was ready to take on stage. Wow. But the story doesn’t end here. It’s nice if people compliment you on your work it’s even better if they find something you can improve. After the concert Joshua did exactly that. Following months were spent figuring out a way to improve handling of the tenor in higher registers.
These are vulnerable times when you actually ask A-list artists to criticize your work. To improve the last 1% you have to show all and have huge amounts of will power to carry things through. Meanwhile the prototype is tried and tested by Tony Lakatos and Rick Margitza at Jazz Keller in Frankfurt. Branford Marsalis played a concert on it, check that out below. Some sound bites include: “Thoroughly impressed.”, “It plays, sounds and handles like a vintage instrument.”, “Definitely ready”.
So here we are. The prototype of our newborn Free Wind Tenor has entered its pre-production stage. We expect to need at least another month to have machines, heads and hands ready. Please feel free to send us your enquiry, we’ll be happy to answer any questions. More details and some nice pictures for you to look at will follow soon!
Our gratitude goes out to all people involved and named in this post. Without your help and advice this level of craftsmanship would cease to exist.