The Story of a Legend

In 1924 – 1930 Conn produced the saxophone "New Wonder", better known as the "Conn Chu Berry". The instrument bribed with a big, dark sound, sonorous tone and a lot of swing. It represented in a perfect way the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s sound.
One of the main issues of this instrument type is that the tone holes on the body are in a line and not as in today's saxophones "balanced". That makes the instrument difficult to play.
Another problem is the position of the tone holes on the bow and bell. The Cis with his long arm and the H/B-side displacement making it impossible to easily play a Cis/GIS connection.

So, there's this saxophone with a wonderful sound, but somehow clumsy mechanics. In 1992 the BLASHAUS decided to change that: keeping the sound and adding comfortable, new mechanics:

BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl"

The aim was to enable the saxophonist to change between a Chu and Mark 6 and there specific tones without any problems.

Renato Fontana, at that time managing partner in DAS BLASHAUS has created a true design piece. Named Conn Chu Berry Black Pearl a small series of 5 pieces was built. The body was cut and soldered together in a "balanced" way. Then it was possible to add a modern mechanism to be set up and adjusted.

The success was overwhelming:
the legendary Conn Chu Berry BLASHAUS
Converted "Black Pearl" was born!

The instrument attracted great interest: David Murray has been interested and was very much in favor. Jerry Bergonzi, Michael Brecker, James Carter, Christoph Lauer and many other saxophonists tested the instrument and loved it. And it is still one of James Carter's favorite instruments.
In Switzerland Peter Landis, Marc Stucki and Bertil Lambert are playing a BLASHAUS "Black Pearl".

David Murray with BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry «Black Pearl»

1992 – BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl"

Conn – Chu Berry

1992 – BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl" gold

2010 – We proudly present:
BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl II"

The Black Pearl tenor saxophone is a sensational, excellent playable instrument, developed based on the legendary Vintage Conn Chu Berry corpus. Thanks to its balanced mechanics the Black Pearl has a handling comparable with today's saxophones.

The Chu Berry has a bold, broad, sonorous sound with a lot of soul and swing. It responds easily and has amazingly stable intonation for saxophone from the 20s. The overtone structure is flatter than the Selmer saxophones and typical of the American vintage sound.

The main goal of the Black Pearl is the fusion of the legendary Conn sound with excellent playability. Thanks to a detachable bell with plug and locking ring it offers a high level of serviceability.
The design is a contemporary interpretation of the vintage Chu look. The surface is matt brushed silver patina that emphasizes its vintage character. The copy of the Selmer Reference mechanism with its small ribs stiffens the instrument in a positive way and give it more assertiveness.

The combination of today's handling and vintage sound are a great source of inspiration for every soloist.

The BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl II" Tenor Saxophone is the dream instrument, for Conn sound fans that do not want to renounce a modern handling.


it is like the best of both worlds

BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry Black Pearl II

The fusion of wonderful vintage sound with perfect handling

Nearly 20 years after the legendary first BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl" we've done it again.

The fusion of wonderful vintage sound with perfect handling

Martin Suter: "The idea has never really left me, and I wanted to incorporate all my experience of the last twenty years in a new model."

The new Black Pearl II is convincing in every aspect:

  • Original Vintage Conn Chu Berry Body
  • Balanced tonehole arrangement
  • Selmer Reference mechanics copy
  • Detachable bell with plug and locking ring
  • Removable key guards with adjustment screws
  • Black satin silver surface on body mechanics
  • Vintage sound and perfect handling.

BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl II" Bariton

Is it possible to build an instrument that has the wonderfully broad, sonorous sound of a Conn Chu Berry baritone and the virtuoso, smooth playability of a modern Selmer saxophone?

Yes, it's possible. The BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl II" Baritone is such an instrument. Based on the legendary vintage Conn Chu Berry body and equipped with modern mechanics, it is perfectly playable.


BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl II" Bariton

Thanks to a detachable bell with plug and locking ring it offers a high level of serviceability.

Martin Suter:
"I wanted to merge the sound of Gerry Mulligan with the agile, fast play of Pepper Adams."

BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry Black Pearl II Bariton

A contemporary interpretation of the vintage Chu Look

The Black Silver surface emphasizes its vintage character

The new Black Pearl II Bariton:

  • Original Vintage Conn Chu Berry Bariton Body
  • Balanced tonehole arrangement
  • Selmer Reference mechanics copy
  • Detachable bell with plug and locking ring
  • Removable key guards with adjustment screws
  • Black satin silver surface on body mechanics
  • Vintage sound and perfect handling.

BLASHAUS Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl" as Movie Star

Kansas City, 1934: The time of the great depression. The Mafia and corrupt party bosses. They meet at The Hey Hey Club to alcohol, gambling, and not least a great Battle of Jazz. There are Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker and many others. They play with and against each other in a unique live jam session. Jazz at its finest!
Played by the best jazz musicians of the nineties: among others, James Carter, Joshua Redman, Don Byron, Jesse Davis, Ron Carter and David Murray. Superbe soundtrack!

Present is also a legend of a different kind: the BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl", played by James Carter.

Kansas City by Robert Altman has been awarded by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association 1996 for the best music.

* Geri Allen (piano)
* Don Byron (clarinet and alto saxophone)
* James Carter (tenor saxophone)
* Ron Carter (bass)
* Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
* Tyrone Clark (bass)
* Olu Dara (trumpet)
* Jesse Davis (alto saxophone)
* Curtis Fowlkes (trombone)
* Clark Gayton (trombone)
* Craig Handy (tenor saxophone)
* Victor Lewis (drums)
* Kevin Mahogany (vocals)
* Russell Malone (guitar)
* Christian McBride (bass)
* David Murray (tenor saxophone)
* David „Fathead“ Newman Jr. (alto saxophone)
* Nicholas Payton (trumpet)
* Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone)
* Mark Whitfield (guitar)
* James Zollar (trumpet)

Video:
James Carter - I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone

 James Carter - I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone

James Carter playing his BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl" at the Fujitsu Concord Jazz Festival in '97.

Watch video on YouTube ...

Video: "Moten Swing"
James Carter and the Kansas City Band

James Carter and the Kansas City Band "Moten Swing"

James Carter plays in the movie Kansas City on his BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry "Black Pearl" tenor saxophone.

Watch video on YouTube ...

James Carter in a Jazz Weekly interview

James Carter in a Jazz Weekly interview about the BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry «Black Pearl»:

Jazz Weekly :
You have a favorite?

James Carter :
Yeah, I have a couple, quite a few favorites. One I used on the Kansas City Soundtrack and on the movie. That is one favorite of mine. It is a 1926 Conn that has modern Selmer mechanisms on it and so it is like the best of both worlds. You‘ve got modern key work with old metal. It is not like this alloy stuff that is out here now. It is a very special axe. There was only five made in the world...

James Carter with his BLASHAUS Converted Conn Chu Berry «Black Pearl»