Powell Flutes has announced plans to introduce a saxophone "Made in the USA" during the opening reception of its E. K. Blessing division.
According to Powell owner, Steven Wasser, the United States represents 50% of the world saxophone market, but none of the saxophones available for sale in the United States are made here.
The design of Powell's Sonaré saxophone is described as the brain child of Mike Smith, jazz sax player from Chicago. Smith plays with the Frank Sinatra Jr. band, and for many years handled artist relations for Keilwerth brand saxophones.
Wasser explained the status of the project: "This project began nearly two years ago, and all our body tooling has already been made. Our initial plans were to outsource the keywork, but that all changed when we purchased E. K. Blessing. There is a pool of talented instrument makers available to us in Elkhart, Indiana which will help us get this project off the ground. In addition, a German company who made saxophones for a short period of time was willing to sell us over $500,000 of high quality German sax tooling. This will allow us to produce all our keys in Elkhart, rather than outsourcing."
The initial, limited production run will be aimed at professional saxophone players. The acoustical design is based on ''a highly respected American model'', the company says without mentioning which one, and shouldinclude unique improvements on this design. Prototypes are anticipated to be ready in time for NAMM 2011 in Anaheim, CA, this coming January, with limited production expected to begin next spring.