I’m proud to announce that my friend BK Son of Silverstein Works has invited me to become a Silverstein Ambipoly synthetic reed artist. Since 2015, I have been a Silverstein ligature artist and have played their saxophone and clarinet ligatures exclusively. I now join their team of artists who play their reeds exclusively as well.
For years, I have searched for a reed manufacturer whose product I could confidently use on each and every one of my horns. In the past, I’ve come close, only to have 1 or 2 horns not make the cut.
As someone who has played cane reeds for most of my woodwind life, I never thought that I would make the move toward synthetic. But years of outdoor work as well as doubling have caused me to rethink my position. Weather extremes as well as horns sitting for extended periods on the stand have brought about a desire for my reeds to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Many times I’ve grabbed a clarinet in an instrument change, mid-song, and have discovered a warped reed, only to miss an entrance because it wasn’t ready when I needed it. Or I’ve walked out to a set on a hot summer day at Disneyland, only to have to rehydrate my reed the moment we arrived at the set location because of warping.
I first tried synthetic reeds in the 1980s when the quality was marginal at best. Over the years, a number of synthetics have come on the market and there has been a gradual improvement in quality, but none had been even close to satisfying my standards. During the course of the pandemic, I found a line of synthetics which I liked, for the most part, but unfortunately I couldn’t find products which worked for alto sax and clarinet. But I kept their products on hand, in the event my cane reeds failed me.
Today at NAMM, I decided to check out the 2nd generation of Silverstein’s synthetic reeds, simply to find backup reeds for all of my horns. Silverstein’s Director of Sales and Marketing, May Rhyu sat with me and helped me find a reed for each and every horn, where I could take pride in my sound. What eventually sealed the deal for me was finding a reed that worked for classical alto, perhaps the most discriminating sound in my arsenal. At that point in our meeting, I had to run out for a performance. But when I returned, May informed me that Silverstein was interested in having me come on board as an Ambipoly artist. It was a very easy decision for me, as each of their reeds provided me with what I demand from a reed for daily use. And with that, the switch to fully synthetic became realized.
Thanks to BK and May for bringing this transition to fruition, for inviting me to the team for another wonderful product, and for always taking such great care of their artists. Additional thanks to BK for his gift of a new Silverstein titanium ligature to congratulate me on my weight loss. I am very blessed to be connected with a company with such high standards of integrity.