PREFACE: I was fortunate to have known and to perform with Steve Lacy. I was also fortunate to have played his legendary #12 Otto Link Tone Edge mouthpiece and to have had his horn and mouthpiece in my possession for a year after he passed. Steve’s mouthpiece was a Link model that was very short lived, and very different from any other Otto Link Tone Edge design. I was fortunate to acquire one of those and I then created my own “Lacy Link”. I performed on it for over 8 years before moving to one of my own designs, the Metropolitain. That “Lacy Link” of mine went into storage.
Long story short: That piece now belongs to another player, someone I have never met but whose spirit touched me deeply. here is the entire email I received from him after he received this mouthpiece and played it for the first time:
“It’s a piece of magic, really. Earlier, I spent time running through exercises and trying reeds. I know I can be cheesy with you, so I’ll just say it: it’s beyond reed friendly into reed empathetic. It really picked up on the specific characteristics of each reed I threw onto it.
The Marca’s have the right timbral quality I’ve had in mind, but unfortunately I’ve only got 2 1/2s around. I sanded a couple down and they just sang. I’ll see how things go, but my chops are kinda tired. Probably need to order 2s and 1 1/2s just to test the possibilities.
I’ve never experienced so much color with any mouthpiece, on any horn, ever. Ever. I mentioned a while ago that I wanted a rainbow shooting out of the end of this S800, and this piece does that plus more.
Intonation was locked dead center when I played with the 1 1/2s and 2s I’ve got at home.
I’m shocked at how much projection the piece has. I really didn’t expect it to project this much or be as loud as it is. Given the piece it was modeled after, and your relationship with him, how loud could Lacy get when he played? This piece just fills up space as much as my tenors do when paired with my vintage Links.
I’m probably most shocked by the massive dynamics I can get. Whispers to shouts, all without any struggle. It just begs to be played across the whole dynamical spectrum.
Those were my initial impressions, to which I can now add:
I just put it away after running through the set I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. Man, it really is a player. Like I’ve got a teammate blowing the horn with me. Maybe more than a simple piece of equipment? I’ve never really experienced anything like it. Even physically, I can see why you’ve mentioned you haven’t seen any Links like it in a while. It is radically different than the thing I sent you, and I can see that I really was thinking about apples when I wanted a diamond when I inquired about a rebalance.
Again, thank you! I will give this piece a great home”.
CODA: I try to make magic with every mouthpiece I make. Once you play one, you’ll know what that really means.