My name is Dan Kinzelman. I'm 36 years old and I am a professional jazz musician and composer. I was born and raised in the USA, but have been based in Italy since 2005.
On July 6 2018 my tenor saxophone disappeared during a train trip in central Italy. All my attempts to track it down with the help of the railway company and the police have been unsuccessful.
The instrument I lost was a Selmer Mark VI tenor, built in 1961, which I purchased in 1999 from its original owner. When I bought it, it was packed in its original case, and looked nearly new. There was even the original 1961 purchase receipt for about four hundred fifty dollars. Buying that instrument was a rite of passage for me, a milestone which marked the moment in which I decided to direct all my energy towards becoming a professional musician. Over the last few decades I have performed over a thousand shows throughout the world with it. It was the only constant in my musical life, and has always proved to be a faithful companion. Over time, an instrument like this begins to feel like a part of your body. Losing it was like losing an old friend. But it's time to move on.
The response of the jazz community has been one of overwhelming support. I have received a number of instruments on loan, and many of you asked if I would accept donations to help me get back on my feet. I have never been a huge fan of crowdfunding, but after much discussing with friends and strangers, I have decided to start a Gofundme campaign.
Here are the things I lost, and their approximate value if I were to buy them now:
1961 Selmer Mark VI Tenor in excellent mechanical condition - 6500 euros
Francois Louis tenor mouthpiece - 250 euros
Francois Louis ligature - 70 euros
Charles Bay bass clarinet mouthpiece and ligature - 400 euros
Walt Johnson saxophone case - 300 euros
Replacing all of this would cost about 7500 euros. This is a significant percentage of what I earn in a year of concerts and teaching and would be very difficult for me to pay for alone, but I'm not sure if I want to go down that road anyway.
The prices of Mark VIs have risen constantly over the last twenty years, and I think their current prices are hard to justify when compared to other vintage horns of similar quality. When I bought my Mark VI, I was in awe of the Selmer legend, but I was a very immature player and hadn't yet learned to control the instrument. Now that I have better skills and a clearer idea of where I want to go musically, I want to take this opportunity for change as a stimulus. I plan to take the next few months to try a range of different instruments, both new and old, and hopefully my next purchase will fit me even better than my last one.
This means I don't actually know how much money I will need. I have set a goal of 5000 euros. I believe this will be sufficient to get me an excellent instrument, replacement mouthpieces and a good case to protect it. I also expect to spend a good deal of money on repairs and setup to get the instrument tailored to my way of playing.
There is a chance I will spend more than this, but there is also a chance that it will cost me less, and for this reason I plan to donate any extra money to a charity, preferably music-related. I am looking for suggestions, so please contact me if you know of an interesting music-related charity or non-profit.
I have chosen to avoid the traditional reward-based crowdfunding model. I don't want to use this as a sales platform, and am instead asking for you to help me in any way you can, if you so choose. The only direct reward to you will be my gratitude and (hopefully) some degree of personal satisfaction. At the same time, I want to give something back to the music community. So here is my plan:
I have a number of unfinished and unreleased solo recordings made during the last ten years with a number of instruments, including my vanished tenor. Once I have purchased a new instrument, I want to make a record using some of this old music and a number of new pieces composed and performed with my new saxophone. I plan to make it freely available on digital platforms, but I will also press a limited number of physical copies. When it is finished, those of you who want a copy can contact me and I will send it to you (while supplies last). There will be no price, and no minimum donation, and I will not check the donor list to see how much you contributed. I want to give this music as a gift to whoever wants it. This will be my attempt to give something back to the community which has supported me, using an instrument that I could not have purchased alone.
I am also looking into setting up one or two concerts where listeners will have the possibility to make cash donations, but this is complicated, and details still need to be worked out.
As the campaign develops, and as I make purchases I will post occasional updates about how things are proceeding, what I have purchased, what instruments I am trying etc. Thank you to everyone who has already supported me with kind words and the loan of instruments, and thank you in advance to those of you will contribute money or share the campaign.
PURCHASED SO FAR:
Francois Louis 315 ML Tenor sax mouthpiece (used): 130 euro
Photos by Luciano Rossetti, Cristina Zuppa and Stefano Galli