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Rooster_Ties

Jazz bassoon?? - Michael Rabinowitz

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Check out the sound samples from this guy's albums (his name is Michael Rabinowitz, see links down below for sound samples, AMG entry, and AMG reviews), and, both his albums have John Hicks!! Sounds pretty interesting to me - both on paper, as well as the sound samples. Anybody have either of his albums?? Thanks!!! -- Rooster T.

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Source: www.ejazznews.com: Improvising Bassoon <-- LINK

Improvising Bassoon

Posted on: May 05, 2003 - 08:54 AM by editor

Dear Friends:

Recently, I taped my next one-hour show for the "Jazz From the Archives" series. Presented by the Institute of Jazz Studies, the series runs every Sunday on WBGO-FM (88.3).

The bassoon is a fiendishly difficult woodwind instrument, and one could probably count the number of improvising bassoon players in jazz history, beginning with Garvin Bushell and Frank Trumbauer in the 1920s, on little more than the fingers of both hands. More often than not, these players have been saxophonists who "double" on the instrument.

What sets Michael Rabinowitz (b. 1955) apart from the majority of jazz bassoonists is that he counts the bassoon as his primary instrument. Rabinowitz has been on the New York City jazz scene for more than twenty years, and he now has an international reputation as a unique, first-rate improviser.

We'll sample from his recordings with the Charles Mingus Orchestra, the Bill Kirchner Nonet, and his own groups.

The show will air this Sunday, May 11, from 11 p.m. to midnight, Eastern Daylight Time.

NOTE: If you live outside the New York City metropolitan area, WBGO also broadcasts on the Internet at www.wbgo.org.

Best, Bill Kirchner

www.jazzsuite.com

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Main AMG bio of Michael Rabinowitz here: LINK

AMG review of his first album (from 1995, with John Hicks), called: "Gabrielle's Balloon" <-- LINK

Sound samples at bn.com: LINK

AMG entry (no review) of his second album (from 1996, also with John Hicks), called: "Bassoon on Fire" <-- LINK

Sound samples at bn.com: LINK

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Any other jazz bassoonists I should know about??? The only one's I can think of are sax guys in Sun Ra's band, who doubled on bassoon. Too lazy to try and find their names right now, but I know I've got more than a couple Sun Ra albums/CD's that have bassoon, not just as a background instrument, but full-blown bassoon solos.

Any more jazz bassoon soloists I should know about?? - especially any guys who recorded after 1950, or after 1960???

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Rabinowitz is a killer! The only other bassoonist worth worrying about is Ray Pizzi.

I believe the only bassoonist with Sun Ra was James Jacson. That was the main axe he played with the band. But he wasn't a player like MR or RP (and they wouldn't have fit in with the Arkestra anyway).

Mike

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And don't forget Karen Borca and her work with Cecil Taylor and Jimmy Lyons.

Her AMG entry:

The number of full-time bassoonists who've played free jazz at the highest level can be counted on the fingers of one hand — maybe one finger. Outside of Karen Borca, it's difficult to name another (Makanda Ken McIntyre played bassoon occasionally, but it was not his best instrument). The dearth of jazz bassoonists is hardly surprising, given the difficulty of the horn; it may seem like an elongated oboe, but the bassoon is actually an instrument with a sometimes puzzling technique all its own. Borca is best known for her work as a member of the Cecil Taylor Unit. Her husband, the late alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, happened to be Taylor's most enduring musical partner, but the excellence of Borca's playing made questions of nepotism irrelevant. Borca has an impressive facility; she plays with the litheness and imagination of a first-rate free jazz saxophonist. Besides her work with Taylor, Borca also played in Lyons' bands until his death in 1986. In subsequent years she became a fixture on New York's Lower East Side free jazz scene, playing in bands with bassist William Parker, saxophonist Marco Eneidi, and drummer Jackson Krall (all, it should be noted, Taylor sidemen at one point or another). Borca has also led her own band, most notably at a Lyons tribute concert during the 1998 Vision Festival in New York City. — Chris Kelsey

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THE man on jazz bassoon is Illinois Jacquet. (I'm just certain that tenor sax thing was just a dalliance.)

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There are others who'll know far better than I, but I think Joseph Jarman or Roscoe Mitchell must have picked one up at some stage. Come to think of it, does Jarman play a bit of bassoon at the opening of side II of 'People in Sorrow'?

I guess Rahsaan must have played a bit at some stage..!

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I can't think of basson withouth thinking of a mid-50s RCA album by bassonist Stuart McKay called REAP THE WILD WINDS that is jazz only in the most extreme foo-foo "West Coast" manner, but which features a version of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" that is delightfully bent, including a vocal chorus that displaces the lyric by beginning it with the words "Take Me" on beats 5 & 6 (of a 6/8 bar ; it'd be beats 2 & 3 if you're counting 3/4) with a iii-ii pickup. The result is that the lyric finishes in a definitive "drop the other shoe, dammit!" place. Try it at home (if that description is too technical, just try singing the usual melody, only begin it with the the word "Out" rather than "Take", and you'll end up the same way). Thanks to the late Buzz Mezzner for making that one of the many of his albums he brought (and left) to his band directing gig. Music education indeed!

Haven't heard Rabinowitz, but if he's comparable to Pizzi, then he MUST be a freak! (that's a compliment...) Frank Tiberi plays a bit of bassoon too, or did anyway. And whoever it was played the bassoon on "Saeta" has my undying admiration. I've never heard such soulful music out of the instrument in a "concert" setting.

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Lindsay Cooper - first got noticed playing bassoon with the avant-rock band Henry Cow who had a very free-jazzy side. She also played with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra and smaller bands in the early 80s. I think she worked more on the modern classical side as a rule.

I think I read somewhere she was wheel-chair bound. A pity. I always liked her contributions to Henry Cow and her Westbrok contributions were very distinctive.

Listen to Henry Cow's 'Unrest' for some great basoon in a jazz-ish context.

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There are others who'll know far better than I, but I think Joseph Jarman or Roscoe Mitchell must have picked one up at some stage. Come to think of it, does Jarman play a bit of bassoon at the opening of side II of 'People in Sorrow'?

Jarman got a bassoon in the summer of '67. That fall he played it on Lester Bowie's "Numbers 1 & 2. He used it for a few years, but it seems to disappear in the '70s.

No mention of Lateef yet?

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Ken McIntyre played the bassoon quite nicely.

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Any other jazz bassoonists I should know about???

Yeah, there is a bassoonist you need to check out by the name of Paul Hansen.... The cat is BAD!!! :excited:

I played a couple of jazz gigs with him in San Francisco in the late 80's. Paul

plays great tenor sax as well and is an outstanding improviser. Back in the 80's he was a member of Peter Apelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble, a large eclectic band of about 14 people with a sound somewhere between Sun Ra, Fela, Hermeto Pasqual, and with some of the nasty grooves of early James Brown. Check this band out. They have 2 Cds out that are definately worth a listen!

More recently Paul Hansen has been featured on tours and recordings with Bela Flek. Again, the cat is BAD!!!

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