What the Pros Play – Saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa
Woodwind & Brasswind Contributing Writer – Greg Vail
Jeff Kashiwa is a versatile, modern saxophonist and EWI performer with a new list of saxophone gear and sax set-ups to share. Unlike many saxophonists that reside on one primary instrument for playing jobs, Jeff seems to bounce between tenor sax on the Sax Pack gigs, and alto sax with some EWI on the Rippingtons gigs.
Jeff plays the Yamaha 82Z un-lacquered alto saxophone with a Wood Stone Dark Lacquer neck. He loves the tone and pitch of the Yamaha saxophones and says the Ishimori Wood Stone neck made the tone even warmer with less harshness in the sound. He retired a great Selmer Mark VI for the Yamaha, sighting pitch and sound as reasons.
His mouthpiece set up on alto includes a Jody Jazz DV7, with the included basic Rovner ligature and Hemke #3 reeds. Jeff did comment specifically that he hasn’t experiment with ligatures yet for the DV and was interested in doing some tests.
The alto has a few small modifications that have contributed to sound improvements on each item. The neck screw has been changed out to an experimental Yamaha screw as have the thumb post and thumb hook. Jeff noted a change in the tone for each item and swears by these accessories as improvements and not just cosmetic changes.
Kashiwa’s tenor saxophone is the new Ishimori non-lacquered sax with a vintage finish. Ishimori is the premier Japanese sax shop with many interesting accessories and adjustments made to improve saxophone sound, center and performance. This tenor has all the cool tweaks done and Kashiwa says it’s the best tenor he has ever played. He loves the tone, the scale plays very well in tune thru all ranges and he said it is just easy to play.
Jeff said this is true of his concept of sound for all the saxophones but really made the point talking about this tenor. “I want a saxophone to be able to come down, soft and fluffy, and then when I push have it go brighter and really cut thru.” He said he loves this tenor sax.
Jeff uses a Jody Jazz DV7* on tenor with the standard, supplied Rovner Ligature again, and Hemke #3 reeds. He has switched out the neck screw with an Ishimori Woodstone sterling silver screw and right thumb hook. Jeff says the total package sounds great and he seems really happy with this sax.
His neck strap of choice is now the Oleg Ergonomic Strap for all his saxophones.
Another awesome and sought after saxophone has become Kashiwa’s new soprano sax over the past 2 years. Yamaha released the new 82Z soprano saxophone and Jeff is an endorser of this Soprano. He has the bent neck model today (82ZR), having taken the straight neck home and changing it out a week later due to the tone difference that little bend makes.
His soprano mouthpiece was just recently changed – was a Jody Jazz DV and now he is blowing the NY6* - a hard rubber piece with a big sound. Hemke #3 reeds and standard brass ligature make this set up play with amazing pitch, from the palm keys straight down to the low Bb.
Kashiwa has experimented with everything over the years and is not afraid to try new products and make changes when he senses an improvement over his current set up. It was interesting how many changes seemed to be very recent.
His EWI is no exception. Jeff used to travel with the EWI 4000s, wireless audio and midi, with a laptop and interface. Today Jeff uses the Akai 4000s with Patchman sounds, and has moved to an iPhone 4s set up attached to the side of the EWI with velcro.
He is using custom Logic EXS24 Multisamples which have been converted to Garageband for the iPhone app. Garageband is also generating the stereo delay and reverb. The internal audio and sampler outputs are routed with an iRig adapter in and out of the iPhone 4s with an inexpensive Radio Shack 1/8" stereo headphone extension cable is used as the main output to the house sound system. He is stuck to a cable and not able to roam around on EWI thru the audience, BUT, how cool is that?? The entire system he once drug around on the road is pretty much just an iPhone now. I was impressed.
Jeff always seems to be looking for a less complicated way to get the most music out and can be heard all over the US and abroad doing just that. You can listen to some music from Jeff Kashiwa on his web site - www.JeffKashiwa.com.