Back From New York

garyI went to New York City over the weekend and had an awesome time. I met up with an absolute monster Bari player, Gary Smulyan and great technician, John Leadbetter.

Gary is my Jazz Bari hero and graciously agreed to give feedback on our 12.5M Wilmington necks.  It seems rude to introduce Gary because he’s a monster and everyone already knows who he is. Check out his links below.

groupWe met up at John Leadbetter’s shop, JL Woodwind Repair, in Manhattan right near Times Square. I needed someone I could trust to fit The Wilmington Necks to Gary’s horn.  John is a tremendous player and technician, and it was awesome to be able to work with him.  He’s been using the pads that we make for years and I’ve really enjoy seeing the excellent work he’s doing over the years.  John also has his own JL Woodwinds line of saxophones, anything John does is worth checking out, so check those horns out!

I brought a standard Wilmington 12M and a 12.5M so Gary could compare the two.  John fit the necks and did some work on Ralph Lalama’s horn while we were there.  Gary liked the 12.5M neck best and of course he sounded amazing playing it! It was a humbling honor. Gary agreed to hold onto the neck and said he would use it as his primary neck and keep us all posted! Success!


johnLater that night, I got to hear both Gary with his new neck and Ralph live and in full effect at the Village Vanguard, a hip little place with a huge reputation for great jazz.

It was a whirlwind of a trip and my only regret is that I didn’t schedule enough time to get to talk shop and hang with John.  I look forward to visiting again soon, and thanks for letting me make a mess of your shop!

Be sure to check out JL Woodwind Repair if you make it to NYC or go online at

Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.