Re: New to jazz, need advice.
I would say the the best thing that you can do to improve your sound is to look into a new mouthpiece. I would not nessesarily suggest a metal mouthpiece, simply because you are new to the sax, and it would be a good idea to get a real handle on the horn before getting into the big mouthpieces. Look into a larger hard rubber mouthpiece, maybe a 5,6, or 7. I personally really dislike the sound that vandorens produce when it comes to jazz, but, everybody is different when it comes to reeds. If I were you, I would look into some rico jazz selects, 3 probably. At the same time, it is important to realise just how important air support is when it comes to projecting sound. You might find that if you really breathe "from the bottom of your feet", and use your diaphragme really well to shoot the air out, you may find that that brightens up your sound considerably (it will also make it a lot louder, and easier to project). That's my two cents at least. Hope that helps, and Gook luck!