- 10 + years
- Playing level
- Technical Knowledge
- Reasonable level of technical knowledge
- Market Knowledge
It actually started a few years earlier, when I discovered that I was running out of baritone reeds. I had been unable to find any reeds as good as my trusty vintage Rico "Brown Box" which had been discontinued for probably close to 30 years now. There was only one left in the box.
Meanwhile I had discovered Legere Signature on tenor and alto, and was immediately struck by how well and consistently they played - I was so surprised that a synthetic reed could play as well and sound as good as a cane reed, I became an endorser - but still desperately on the hunt for a baritone reed I could use.
So at the Frankfurt Musikmesse of 2013 I patrolled the aisles testing and collecting samples of every baritone reed possible - Rico, Vandoren, Rigotti, Flying Goose, Alexander and some others whose name I've forgotten. (I couldn't forget Flying Goose try as I might). I even asked the lady at Rico if they had any secret hoards of Brown Box somewhere, she hadn't even heard of them which made me feel very old.
Then I found a teeny little booth called Lupifaro who proudly presented their brand, actually made by Rigottti. I assumed they would be the same as Rigotti, but the very helpful lady persuaded me to try one. However they didn't have the correct strength among the samples, she told me she probably had the right ones in her hotel room (no, this wasn't a proposition). She came back the next day and handed me a 3 pack (again, not what you are thinking) just as I was leaving.
So to cut a long story short, as soon as I got home I lined up all the samples of baritone reeds and went through them. Nothing actually worked for me (including Rigotti) until I got to the Lupifaros - finally something I could use and no longer worry about finding that elusive closet Rico Brown Box.
After contacting Lupifaro they asked me to endorse the reeds, which i wasn't sure about, but they sent me some samples anyway. I gave a couple of tenor reeds to my friend Bobby Wellins, who had also been despairing of finding a decent reed - he was immediately hooked so I put him in touch with Lupifaro who sent him some more.
As you all know, Bobby is up there with the great players of all time, and he reported back to me that several top London players, including Nigel Hitchcock, Simon Spillett and Mornington Lockett, also loved them and wanted to know where to get them in the UK. Nobody seemed to know.
(Note that we now have the illustrious Mark Ramsden on the forum asking about them)
Now I have finally found out that Pete Scaddan of StudioSaxophones has become the UK distributor, so finally I can publish this "review."
Ah yes, here is the reviewy bit:
They are the best cane reeds available now. They come in two cuts, jazz (unfiled) and classic (filed). I haven't yet had the chance to quite work out the difference except that the classic seem to have a more "woody" sound - I need to do some blindfold testing in order to be able to assess them.
What I did find was that they are extremely versatile so I would be able to play either jazz or classic and get "my" sound. They respond beautifully from a soft low subtone up to screaming altissimo.
Meanwhile here is a soundfile