Used Alto Saxophone For Sale

Speaking of John Coltrane (see the post two items down), if you’re looking for a starter saxophone for your child, here’s a great opportunity.

Coltrane ebay

Yes, that says $115,000. But, hey, shipping is free.

Before he became famous for his tenor and soprano saxophone playing, Coltrane was an alto saxophonist in the Navy and in the early part of his professional career with King Kolax, Dizzy Gillespie and Earl Bostic, among others. Of the few recorded instances of his alto work, this may be the most famous. It’s from a 1958 Gene Ammons all-star session. Ammons hosted Coltrane, fellow tenor saxophonist Paul Quinichette, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, flutist Jerome Richardson, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist George Joyner and drummer Arthur Taylor. If you’re in a hurry, you can move the slider to Coltrane’s solo at 6:40. My advice is, don’t be in a hurry. Everyone sounds good.

About that Coltrane alto on ebay: if you’re interested in bidding, follow this link.

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  1. John C says

    Who has Paul Desmond’s alto and mouthpiece now? I know he willed it to Michael Brubeck. A lot of saxophonists would love to see his mouthpiece, specifically. Many would love to see a replica of it produced and available, though no one will ever sound exactly like Paul on it. Do you know if he ever had any custom work done on the mouthpiece, as is typical? Or was it a stock facing? (Sorry for the saxophone geek questions!)

    • Doug Ramsey says

      I asked Iola Brubeck about the horn and the mouthpiece. Here’s what she replied:

      The Selmer sax that Paul willed to Michael is at Millstone. Another sax went to Hal Strack. I do not believe Paul had a “special” mouthpiece. All that I know is that in 1976 he said that he used a Gregory 4A-18M mouthpiece circa 1951 and Rico 3 1/2 reeds.

      Millstone is the Brubeck house in Connecticut. Paul’s old friend Hal Strack has his LeBlanc alto. The Brubecks’ son Michael died in 2009 at the age of 60.

      • John C says

        Thanks. Interesting. Ya, I had read that was the mouthpiece model and facing Paul played. Yes, nothing “special”, though any mouthpiece by a maker like Gregory from that long ago is going to be considered a prized vintage crafted mouthpiece today. What of course made it special was that Paul Desmond played it! And saxophonists would be curious to see what if any custom work he had done on it, which would be very common for any advanced/professional player to do. Basically like fine tuning an already fine sports car. If it was completely stock, that would be very interesting, too, meaning that Paul was happy to just “play it like it is.” There are saxophonists with literally thousands of mouthpieces and many horns and they want to fuss with it all, all the time to find the holy grail of set ups. It sounds as if Paul was very content with the equipment he had, and it doesn’t sound as if he had a lot of mouthpieces or horns. Judging by the little I know of him, that kinda sounds right for his personality. But I have no idea, of course, having never met him personally. His skills, attitude, and natural gift certainly superseded any equipment to lean on, I imagine. Paul probably could have made a coke bottle sing like no other! :)

        Seems like Paul’s horn should be in the Smithsonian or something like that eventually? Or at the Brubeck Institute? Though that model horn is certainly still a very sought after vintage model and still played today. (Selmer Super Balanced Action.) I had a tenor once just like it. It would also be amazing to hear that horn sing again by someone deserving, similar to how famous vintage string instruments are loaned by foundations to great players to use in concert and in their practice. Of course, hard to say what condition the horn was left in, too. I’m sure it had a lot of miles on it! But those horns will last forever. What I would give to just play it just once!

        • Hal Strack says

          I do indeed have Paul’s LeBlanc alto. In the case was the neck to his original balanced action Selmer, which remained his favorite horn. A Selmer mouthpiece was also in the case. I subsequently obtained a Gregory like the one he used throughout. To the best of my knowledge, once he got that slightly larger Gregory, he was happy with it, and probably didnt tinker with the facing. The LeBlanc that I have was made especially for him by Vito Pascucci, who had been Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force band instrument maintenance man. The LeBlanc is a very unusually different saxophone in design and operation. Although he had an arrangement with Selmer, and is only pictured playing one, he did play the LeBlanc, which shows just a little wear and tear. The only thing that I ever play on it is “Take Five”. I, too, was mostly a tenor man. I was also a friend of Sam Donahue, and have a King Silversonic tenor much like his. You talk about Paul making a coke bottle sing; when he was young, he was a superb jazz clarinetist, somewhere between Shaw and Goodman. However, to my knowledge, he never again played it after pairing up with Dave. He told me that the only person who played it was Gerry Mulligan, when he visited him, and he would always play Artie Shaw’s chorus on “Stardust.” Paul, Mulligan and Sam Donahue were all greatly influenced by Artie Shaw’s lyricism.

  2. David says

    A few years ago, PBS had a program (“History Detectives”?) on which they would try to track down the authenticity of antiques. One episode featured an alto with a pawn ticket for Charlie Parker. A friend was cracked up by the host’s incredulous comment, “Is it possible that this saxophone was actually pawned by the famous jazz star?” I also recall a YouTube video of Pete King at an auction playing a plastic alto owned by Parker. I forget the sale price, probably less than Trane’s, but very impressive for a plastic horn.

    While Trane’s playing on this clip doesn’t sound like anything but Coltrane, his earliest influence was allegedly Johnny Hodges!

  3. Peter Straub says

    It might not make any difference to a prospective buyer, but I believe Coltrane was using an alto owned by Ira Gitler on this date.

  4. Terry Martin says

    I remember seeing a plastic alto said to belong to Charlie Parker in the jazz museum Kansas City.