27,xxx 1938 Selmer Jimmy Dorsey Series II Alto Saxophone
1938 Selmer Jimmy Dorsey alto saxophone, s/n 27444. A couple years after Selmer began making the Balanced Action model, a limited run of saxophones was produced with the body tube of a Balanced Action and the bell and bow of a Radio Improved model. The most noticeable difference is that the bell keys are on the opposite side. This is considered a Series II version, that has stamped metal key guards.
Although the origin of these saxophones is somewhat murky, they are known as the Jimmy Dorsey model. Jimmy Dorsey requested saxophones for his band with the bell keys on the left. In fact, this saxophone is just three numbers away from Jimmy Dorsey's personal saxophone, which is 27447.
This model has been coveted by professional saxophonists since its inception for having extraordinary playing characteristics. The sound is absolutely gorgeous and centered, with more heft and presence than the earlier Radio Improved model. The response is focused and even from top to bottom.
This particular saxophone came from the estate of a longtime collector. The sax has been regularly maintained and the pads are still in great condition. Although the sax most likely does not have the original finish, the patina suggests that the lacquer is decades old. The engraving is still quite visible and striking. The sax comes in a 1960's Mark VI case which is a good fit for the horn.