Visiting the hallowed plantation where Rico Reeds are grown-the ones I have blown for the past 30 plus years!!

Written by  on July 8, 2016

From a plaque big brother Simon saw in Hyeres lead us a couple years later to head for Hyeres.

We were met by a wonderful gregarious big in stature and character Le Monsieur Philppe Weichel the head of the Rico Reed Plantation.
He hailed from the Alsace spoke immaculate English with a self-deprecating sense of humour.
He started working in the wine industry and 8 years ago was brought in by D’addario to run this plantation and with that brought in a more organic approach.All rejected reeds some 2 to 20 percent of the crop are mashed and recycled by the roots of the rows and rows of bamboo cane.




This is part of the cultivation alongside Philppe’s addition from the wine world of some wild berry trees,then a lot of water,Cote D’azur magical sun and some mineral spray make this crop grow and grow.It has no Macbeth,nothing that can destroy it,it is resilent to any disease.



(All photos by Simon Archer

The timing of the harvest varies but often after a frost in November then the cane is stripped and those that make the grade are dried out in the hangers.
There is a continual re-evaluation process as the cane that is deemed to knotty are literally weeded out so not to contaminate the good cane.
Each cane has different properties.The thicker part at the top can be for baritone,the next part down tenor,then alto,soprano sax..
other canes are strictly depending on their width for baritone,tenor or even clarinet…
and how many reeds per cane?
I said hundred..the reality 10 to 12!!!
Once dry the good cane is cut by special one off machines indoors and the very best quality are sent to the USA to be branded into Rico,Rico Royale and all the other affliated brands.
Over a million reeds orginate from this plantation and another near the sea in Hyeres.
Thank you Philippe for an informative tour.
I shall never think of a reed in the same way.

He’s not forgot his roots he’seven growing some vines on site so Mr D’addario can have his own branded bottle of wine!

Lat week

mr blowout sax playing a bari sax

Written by  on February 12, 2016



This week had the loan of a quality baritone sax and had a thoroughly enjoyable creation.
Tell you what if Lisa can play and hold this I will take my trademark hat off to her!!
It sits perfectly in Motown songs.

Alternative and exciting live wild sax 2015 with thanks to Stuart Matson

Written by  on June 12, 2015

Moon Hooch (Check out their vids of them using a traffic cone with a baritone Sax…)

Too Many Zoos (these guys refused tons of big bookings cos they prefer busking! – good originals and quality covers)

Luck Chops Brass Band (another one form the busker circuit in New York I believe. Again, good originals, fun covers)

I presume you know Hot 8 brass Band etc but if you haven’t caught Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, then check them out – could be good for a future book on unto date brass tunes doing the circuit:

William and his bari play Night Train at his wedding reception

Written by  on October 14, 2013

A very talented student and player William Heath recently got married and at his reception mildly aided and defnitely abetted played a fantastic version of Night Train.Starting off with the more Jimmy Forrest lazy blues take and then upbeat with the James Brown take while reciting initially the incredible places both he and his wife have lived in globally.This and his performance quite rightly brought the house down.As William says’ music work helping me express myself better goes deep in my life.’
Great photos that really do capture the moment.