(c)2007 Sax Reviews
Rampone and Cazzani Saxophones are made in Italy with many old world features that make these Saxophones a real contender when shopping for a new pro Saxophone. The following review comes with re-print permission from Sax.co.uk writer, Jim Checks. Thanks Jim and Sax.co.uk for a great Review on the:
Rampone and Cazzani Tenor Saxophone
The new R1 Jazz Tenor is made from top quality red brass, then plated with extra thick 24k 'old fashioned' gold plating producing a very appealing, understated look. The gold has a buffed, 'soft focus' appearance, with a tasteful hand chiseled decoration over the bell. Selmer & Yamaha will make you take out a second mortgage to pay for gold plating but Rampone provide it for the price of lacquer. When it first arrived I gave it a good general blow and was so impressed I couldn't wait to test it against some other top end tenors.
Comparing the Rampone TenorJust playing the R1 Jazz is a rewarding experience - one I didn't want to end but I had to get back to the serious business in hand, so on with the comparisons. I tested it alongside some of my favorites such as the Yanagisawa 991, the Keilwerth SX90R Nickel Silver, the Selmer Series II and Series III Tenor Saxophones.
It has an immediately powerful and rich tone, with strikingly good intonation. At first it did take some initial adjustment around the upper octave, but I'll come back to that later. It has its own characteristic sound which is, as always, hard to put into words! (Not very helpful for a reviewer!) Out of the above-mentioned saxes, I feel it compares most closely to the Selmer Series III. Selmer tenors have their own special sound - a certain depth and illusive X factor quality to the tone, and I feel that a similar thing is going on with the Rampone. This sax has charisma!
The Rampone Jazz has similar body and depth to the sound as the Keilwerth SX90R, but without the same bright edge. The modern Japanese sound produced by Yamaha and Yanagisawa has a smooth and free blowing quality to it, with a certain amount of 'middle' and brightness to the sound. This is great for certain types of music, such as pop and funk, for example. The R1 Jazz is a free blowing horn in general with a little more weight and presence to the sound than the Japanese Saxes. This is a quality that I like in a tenor sax, closer to the Selmer, only with perhaps a little more punch and breadth to the tone.
Rampone Cazzani IntonationBack to the issue of intonation as this is obviously very important. The instrument is remarkably well in tune, although when I first played in the second octave I was surprised at how flat I seemed to be playing. This was interesting as normally the upper range of a saxophone naturally wants to blow a little sharp, particularly around the octave C, C# and D area so I lip down. However, after some quick adjustment, and testing against the tuner, I found I was playing these notes bang in tune with a very slight lip-up. Moving back to a Yani or Yamaha (coming fresh from blowing the Rampone) I found myself playing sharp in the top-end so I just had to remember to start relaxing the embouchure.
R C NecksThe crook (neck to us U.S. folks) is very distinctive on the Rampone - the swan-neck shape is more exaggerated, and I sense that this may have a lot to do with the different intonation. It's just a case of adjusting the way you 'think' when you play this tenor, and you soon find yourself playing very accurate octaves. Around the break area, Rampone seemed to have done wonders with the traditionally out of tune C# to D leap. Going further down into the lower octave, the B, Bb and A aren't flat in pitch either! This is extremely satisfactory.
Rampone Keywork and ActionAs for the action and ergonomics of the R1 jazz, this is where I have minor reservations. The keywork feels solid enough with nicely dished pearls on the keys but there is a slight sense of sponginess. It is easy to operate, and the keys are generally well positioned to suit the hand shapes, but I did feel that the action could have been a little crisper and more even. In comparison, the table keys on the Yamaha Customs have a wonderfully, defined action and a nice 'pop' to the sound when closed against the tone holes. I also found the gap between the b and the bis key a little on the large side, making it difficult to smoothly slide between the two keys with the forefinger.
Rampone Cazzani - in ConclusionIn summary, I found the sound quality, intonation and overall character of the sax to be so good that I would be able to overlook the lesser issue of the action and would seriously put the R1 Jazz Tenor right up there with the very best. - Jim@saxophones.co.uk
Author & PermissionsRampone Cazzani Tenor Saxophone Review used by Permission, from Sax.co.uk and was written by Jim Cheek.
Sax.co.uk is now established as one of the worlds leading suppliers of saxophones and accessories. Based in East Sussex, England, we provide an international mail-order service and at the same time we welcome players into our store to come and test our saxophones and mouthpieces. Our range is always expanding, and currently we have over 200 saxophones on display, stocking all the major brands including Selmer, Yanagisawa, Yamaha and Keilwerth, along with Rampone and Cazzani, Trevor James, and many others.
Thanks to Sax.co.uk and to Jim Cheek for sharing this Tenor Sax Review with the Sax Reviews readers worldwide!
Rampone Cazzani Saxophone LinksRampone and Cazzani :: R C Home Page from Italy in English
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