My recent review of Bosphorus Samba series cymbals (January 2013) mentioned that Cymbals Masters, LLC had, for several years, distributed Bosphorus in the U.S., but now Direct Music Supply is Bosphorus’ U.S. distributor. This status change occurred in 2012, when Cymbal Masters, LLC and Bosphorus had a parting of the ways. Despite the split, Cymbal Masters, LLC – a partnership consisting of Michael Vosbein, Bill Norman, Jeff Hamilton, and Stanton Moore – has not gone away. Instead, Cymbal Masters, LLC has introduced a new brand of handmade Turkish cymbals to the U.S. market, Crescent Cymbals. In the process, Cymbals Masters, LLC claims most of its former U.S. Bosphorus endorsers and dealers have also made the switch to Crescent. The artists with new Crescent cymbals in their bags include big names like Jeff Hamilton and Stanton Moore (not surprising, since they’re member/partners of Cymbal Masters, LLC) and other well-known players like Ali Jackson (Wynton Marsalis) and Daniel Glass (famed educator and current drummer for Brian Setzer).
With this en masse endorser/dealer switch, you might assume Crescent Cymbals are simply rebranded Bosphorus cymbals. (I confess I did before this review.) But that’s not the case. Although both Bosphorus and Crescent are handmade Turkish cymbals from B20 bronze, the similarities end there. Crescent Cymbals are made in a different factory by different cymbal artisans. Cymbal Masters, LLC dictates Crescent’s design specifications and controls all aspects of production. Michael Vosbein of Cymbal Masters says the philosophy with Crescent Cymbals is to provide a “certain palette of sounds,” in particular, a “dark complex resonance with lighting quick responsiveness.”
How does all this advertising speak translate into actual cymbals? Crescent currently offers seven series: Vanguard, Vintage, Classic, Eon, Primal, Hammertone (Jeff Hamilton’s signature line), and the Stanton Moore Signature line. I received a sampling of five 20" rides from the non-signature lines. Actually, these five rides derive from two cymbal templates. That is, the Vanguard and Vintage rides, Crescent’s thinnest rides, are almost the same cymbal. The difference is that the Vanguard is fully lathed; the Vintage is unlathed. Similarly, the Classic, Eon and Primal rides derive from the same medium weight template. The difference is that the Classic is fully lathed; the Eon is partially lathed with unlathed stripes on top and a fully lathed bottom; and the Primal is not lathed. The thinner Vanguard and Vintage models have smaller bells than the medium Classic, Eon, and Primal models.
All Crescent Cymbals are handmade from B20 bronze (80 percent copper, 20 percent tin, traces of silver) based on a propriety process. I asked what that “proprietary process” entails. I suppose this question is something akin to Plankton asking Mr. Krabs for the secret recipe for Krabby Patties. (See Sponge Bob if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) I got the answer one would expect: a rather elusive combination of words that did not tell me much. From what I can tell, like other handmade Turkish cymbals, Crescent has a similar main ingredient, B20 bronze. What is proprietary to Crescent is the manner in which its B20 cymbals are cast, rolled, lathed, hammered, etc. Enough windup: on to the actual cymbals.
Although Crescent is a new brand, the five rides I received exhibited excellent consistency and quality control. Each ride has smooth edges, even lathing, and expertly applied logos and stamps. Each is well balanced with no heavy spots. The lathed and partially lathed Vanguard, Classic, and Eon models have black Crescent logos, while white logos adorn the darker unlathed Vintage and Primal models. The design of the Crescent logo is non-offensive with its crescent-moon shape, but a bit plain for my taste. That minor nit aside, these cymbals look totally professional.