Saxophone Forum


by Saxquest
(317 posts)
9 years ago

Something to "Chu" on..............

LEON "CHU" BERRY made a mark on the Jazz saxophone world in the short 33 years of his life. He played on a Conn New Wonder with the likes of Benny Carter, Teddy Hill, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, and of course Count Basie. It was said that the members of Count's band gave him the nickname. So here's my question...... If Chu Berry played tenor sax for most of his professional career and its certainly the axe that he's noted for, is a late new wonder alto really a Chu Berry? After all, we don't call a late New Wonder bari sax a Chu, its a Mulligan! Did anyone of note play on a late New Wonder alto and if so shouldn't we change our slang to fit the horn?

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

    Interesting point Mark. Chu was a highly respected musician of the time. Charlie Parker even named his first son after him! Bird and Chu played with such simultaneous speed, relaxation, and control. It was said that Chu had suggested the "fingernail" G# key to Conn, which was one of the distinguishing features of the New Wonder Series II. Chu Berry was a loved and highly admired saxophonist of his time, and Conn enthusiasts, fans, and musicians have referred to the New Wonder Series II as the "Chu Berry" in his honor. This nick-name made all the more popular by Chu's untimely death in 1941. The name "Chu Berry" seemed to appy to all New Wonder Series II saxophones, even the baritone, although Chu played tenor. I've actually only heard the name Mulligan a couple times, and I thought that name applied to the early 12M actually. For more information about Leon "Chu" Berry, i found this website which is a very interesting read. www.cabcalloway.cc/chu_berry.htm Benny Carter played a New Wonder Series II alto. He played with Chu Berry. I think Charlie Parker played a New Wonder Series II before playing a 6M. Only a few saxophone players have earned the respect and admiration that Leon "Chu" Berry has earned in such a short time, and he is definately worthy of such respect.

    Reply To Post Yahoo!


    1. by Island991
      (22 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

      since you guys are clearly very good at chu-ing things over(....sorry!!) could you tell me when the New Wonder series II alto was being made?

      Reply To Post


      1. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

        1925-1932 really, but Conn started making changes as early as 1929 leading up to the M series.

        Reply To Post Yahoo!


        1. by Island991
          (22 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

          im looking at a M series sax to buy but have never had vintage before. I know it needs a little work which im ok about, but would anyone be prepared to look at a couple of pics of the sax and give me any idea if it looks ok?? post email addy and ill send you them. thanks

          Reply To Post


        2. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

          send them to jimmyalber@yahoo.com and I will be happy to take a look

          Reply To Post Yahoo!


        3. by Saxquest
          (317 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

          The first change that you see coming out of the Chu model is that the engraving went from a floral to an art deco style. Then you begin to see real changes in the physical character of the horn as detailed below, then you see the engraving change again from the art deco to the lady in a pentagram, then you see the 6M or 10M stamp, and finally, removal of the forked Eb key. Keeping in mind that Conn was very experimental in the late 20's through the30's and exceptions do exist (for example, I have a Conn bari sax with same side bell keys like a 12M that is serial number 223xxx), I'll post my observations as they relate generally to serial numbers and the transition from the Chu to the 6M or 10M. alto observations: SN 235892 - the last floral engraving I've seen on a Chu alto. SN 238976 - the first art deco engraving that I've seen on a late Chu alto SN 244377 - the last split bell key Chu alto (up until this point the altos have been late Chu Berry's with the exception of the engraving, so they were not true transitional in any mechanistic sense) SN 245372 - the first Chu alto with same side bell keys (now these horns feature Chu Berry style table keys, forked Eb key, same side bell keys, under slung double socket tuner neck, raised top side key (high F), adjustable thumb rest) **Note because these horns feature both mechanisms of the Chu Berry and the 6M, these are the horns we consider to be a true transitional model.** SN 249976 - the last art deco engraving (These are also the last to sport the Chu style table keys. Some people consider only a horn with Chu style table keys and same side bell keys to be a real transitional model.) SN 250404 - the first lady in a pentagram engraving I've seen (These horns now feature the more modern 6M style table keys but are not stamped 6M. There is debate wether these horns should be considered transitional. The only thing that separates them from a slightly later rolled tone hole 6M is the adjustable thumb rest and the 6M stamp.) SN 275382 - The latest 6M with no 6M stamp that I've seen (also still has the adjustable thumb rest) SN 278969 - The first 6M stamp I've seen (this horn also no longer features an adjustable thumb rest . tenor observations: SN 235267 - last of the floral engraved Chu tenors SN 236368 - first art deco engraved tenor (like the first art deco altos, these tenors are otherwise entirely Chu like with mushroom neck octave pip, split bell keys, Chu table keys, forked Eb) SN 250872 - The first naked lady engraved tenor (again this seems to follow exatly in line with the altos. However, whereas the altos moved to same side bell keys and 6M style table keys, the bell keys on the tenors remain split and the table keys remain Chu Berry like for a while longer. Although, the tenors did changed the neck pip at this point. From this point on, the 10M neck will be featured with a funnel style octave pip. Most people consider these the first transitional tenors.) SN 261436 - the last of the split bell key tenor and the last of the Chu Berry style table keys SN 263072 - the first of the same side bell key tenors. (These horns also feature the 10M style table keys. However, they are not yet stamped 10M. Because the only difference now is the 10M stamp, most people do not consider these to be transitional tenors anymore) SN 274794 - The first 10M stamp appears SN 312547 - The last 10M to still have the forked Eb key SN 316415 - The first 10M to be without the forked Eb (for some reason Conn kept the forked Eb key on the tenors for a much longer time than on the altos)

          Reply To Post


        4. by sardonic_z
          (8 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Something to "Chu" on..............

          They must have phased in the art deco engraving on the tenors, cause I have a sn236372 tenor that still has florals on it. Maybe the art deco guy had the day off?

          Reply To Post