Subconsciously, whilst I will always refer to the Xaphoon as the Pocket Sax, it has always been in my heart to call it my “Saxpet”.
This is not merely because it feels like a mutually adoring “pet”, but in a technical sense also.
Brian Wittman, the instrument’s inventor, describes the Xaphoon as a combination of, or more accurately the middle ground between, the Saxophone and the Clarinet.
Yet whence having played the instrument at volume in an orchestral Jazz setting, in particularly the hard and indestructible resin model, you feel it to absorb and harness the strong energy of the brass instruments being played.
Indeed to say, the Trumpet.
The PS has a short bore, it is only about a foot long and whence played with a 3+ strength Reed, its tonal resonance and character of voice at high volumes may often prove reflective to that of a Trumpet.
Whilst not exactly the sound of a Trumpet, since it is a Sax, when played with energy at volume, certain factors of its construction in some respects may lend to a “brassing” of its voice.
By adjusting one’s embouchure, this phenomena can either be smoothed out or indeed enhanced, allowing the player to express more reflectively, if desired, with any brass instruments in a group.
In fact, whence the player wills it, the Pocket Sax and Trumpet will speak to each other, as if they were good friends, reminiscing on shared memories.
It’s a Saxophone, yet a Clarinet… yet a Trumpet.
Yes, it is true. For all these incredibly different expressive qualities are all found right under your very nose. They are… your lips.
Indeed, as I have mentioned previously in my Je.p.ps blog, the Xaphoon has its own uniquely individual, yet openly expressive personality.
The instrument is exceptionally sensitive to one’s own embouchure and style of play, so much so in fact, that the Xaphoon in a professional’s hands can adapt to most if not any musical setting.
When playing Jazz & Blues on a Pocket Sax, it is thus important to recognise the instrument’s diversity of performance and to try and harness its many colours of positive vocal expression.
It really is quite amazing how this little instrument continually presents new and fascinating possibilities at every style. So miraculous in fact, you could also describe it as a Tardis.
Whether you desire the deep and mellow brush strokes of its grander brother Sax, or the fruity grind of its cousin the Trumpet, all it asks of you is to learn its mantra.
One of the many delights about Xaphoon is the seemingly miraculous way it subtly conveys every good spirit of all cultural harmony in song.
Whether that be European, Asian, Persian, American, Indian… it’s all there, in its own good way.
Finally yet, another instrument that comes to mind, is thence the Oboe.
Whilst not officially acknowledged as relatable, the Oboe is in fact somewhat similar by trait, to an Armenian Duduk… and an Armenian Duduk is somewhat similar, although more classically profound, by trait to the Xaphoon.
Therefore as I hope to demonstrate in a future blog post, not too distant from today, whence the passion, dedication and mutual connection is found in the good Xaphoon, anything is possible.
Meanwhile… I’m sure if Miles Davis was here today, he’d welcome a true Pocket Saxophonist with open arms.
Give it some Sax… pet.