Bobby Dukoff: The Tenor Sax Player

Bobby Dukoff, SML tenor saxophone, tenor sax player, publicity photo, B&S photo, 1945

Bobby Dukoff 1945 Source: namm.org

Some of the most popular archived articles on this site are those about Bobby Dukoff, and specifically those about his mouthpieces. One thing that I have not done to date however, is include an article that includes an example of Dukoff’s own playing style.

Many of us who use his mouthpieces do so because we are looking for a particular kind of edgy, yet full and rich sound. Once mastered, Dukoff mouthpieces allow players to achieve a wide variety of tonal palettes. That being said, how many of us know what Bobby Dukoff, the tenor sax player, sounded like himself?

I am currently researching an article on Bobby Dukoff, which will explore some parts of his life that we don’t commonly read about. I am working together with one of his family members to bring a bit of the rich history of Dukoff’s legacy to life. My goal is to present a new, or at least a different take, on his lifelong musical journey.

Bobby Dukoff: the recording artist

Bobby Dukoff released a number of solo albums after the big band era ended. I have yet to find an official discography on the man, but the Dukoff mouthpiece website shows these five:

  • Pure Sax
  • Swingy Saxy Sound
  • Sax In Silk
  • Sax In Satin
  • Tender Sax

The Discogs sites adds the following album to the list:

  • Off The Cuff

It is from the Off The Cuff album, released in 1958, that I offer up for your listening pleasure: You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me.

No, the recording is not a perfectly remastered digital version of the original analog. It is indeed a vinyl LP with some scratches. If you like Bobby Dukoff’s playing, I encourage you to buy some of his music in whatever form you now buy your music in. Yes, you can find it on Apple Music as well.

Listening to his tone, I don’t hear the sound that has become synonymous with Dukoff pieces from Miami. I hear the hand-made Hollywood pieces. I have only had the opportunity to play one Hollywood tenor piece, and it was certainly nice… And nothing like the more modern, vintage Dukoffs I play from the 60s and 70s.

Bobby Dukoff was a wonderful tenor sax player. This is something that often gets lost in the history of the name “Dukoff”. If you haven’t searched out his musical work, I encourage you to do so. He was one of the greats of the big band era, who made the transition to solo artist, and beyond.

© 2017, Helen. All rights reserved.

Helen

Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.

2 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Lieblinks: The Bassic Sax Blog | u1amo01

  2. HI Helen,

    You do mean Hollywood, FL, don’t you? 😉

    There are a great number of misconceptions about Dukoff mouthpieces, and I am glad you have made a start to exposing them.

    The early Dukoff pieces, an example of which is featured in this selection, were essentially Otto Link Florida blanks with exaggerated roll-over baffles.

    The mouthpiece blanks I am referring to have chambers that are shaped similar to A. Sax’s original specification and are cardioid in profile — they bulge slightly larger than the shank bore — but the Florida Links are significantly smaller in volume than the typical mouthpieces of the 1930s ( Conn Steelay for example) or the so-called New York Links.

    And when I use the word “baffle”, I am referring to that part of the mouthpiece approximately 3–6 mm after the tip rail. Too many idiots refer to a stepped chamber as “baffled” to be baffling.
    =o/

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