Simon Bates chooses Marca Reeds


As one of the UK’s busiest and most popular saxophonists, Simon Bates performs exclusively with Marca reeds, made in the Côte d’Azur region of France.

Simon Bates is one of the UK’s busiest and most popular leading session players. Performing and recording a variety of musical genres from jazz, blues to hard rock are often all in a day’s sitting. Simon’s number one choice from the vast selection of Marca reeds, is the Unfiled Jazz Series strength 3, chosen specifically for its versatility, performance and sound.

Marca offer a comprehensive range of cane reeds for all models of saxophones, from the low Bb of the bass sax to the upper altissimo registers of the soprano. These include the Superieure, Jazz, American Vintage, Premium, Excel, PriMo and Paolo De Gaspari Series.

Having appeared live on countless TV shows, recorded with a wide variety of bands and musicians and performed in some of the world’s prestige venues, including London’s Ronnie Scott’s Club, The 100 club and the Royal Albert Hall, for Simon, versatility within a high quality, professional saxophone reed is paramount.

“As a session player I have to fit into all sorts of different moulds, from jazz to country, R&B to blues and rock, and Marca deliver every time,” Simon explains. 

As a Musical Director and saxophonist for a host of stars including Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Dizzee Rascal, Jason Donovan, Elvis Costello, Jamie Cullum, Bette Midler, Shane MacGowan, Sister Sledge, Lulu, Rick Wakeman, The Sugarhill Gang, Chaka Khan, Emma Bunton, Seal, Eddie Floyd, Billy Ocean, Darius Campbell and Carleen Anderson, Simon has also featured in countless adverts, film scores, theme tunes and pop recordings.

Primarily a sax player Simon is often a session clarinetist, where the Marca Reed Excel Series strength 3, has proven invaluable.

“I also play clarinet when called upon,” says Simon, “And again, Marca is my first choice. I love Marca for their consistency, once you have found your voice on the reed, you don’t have to worry if the next one out the box is going to sound the same. I know the first one will perform as good as the last one, and the ‘blow-in time’ is almost immediate.”

Clarinet and saxophone players the world over have been enjoying the benefits of Marca reeds for their strength, consistency, resonance and brightness.

Marca have reeds for all musical styles, from jazz and pop, blues to rock, crafted from the finest, wild French cane grown in the Côte d’Azur region of France. Painstakingly selected and aged for optimum quality, Marca reeds have been designed, developed and manufactured in France since 1957.

Available in packs of 5 or 10 with strengths from 1.5 – 5, Marca pure French cane reeds are available for alto, bass, contrabass, Bb and Eb clarinets, alto, soprano, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones.

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