Daniel Smith has invested a lot of time and energy to bring the repertoire of the bassoon into ragtime, jazz and contemporary music. Smith has recorded such titles as Bassoon Bon Bons
, Bravo Bassoon
and The Swinging Bassoon
, as well as performances of Gunther Schuller's "Concerto for Contrabassoon and Orchestra" and Steve Gray's "Jazz Suite For Bassoon and Orchestra." As a result of his many and diverse bassoon recordings, he has received considerable media attention for his efforts. In 2005, composter/arranger Robert Farnon dedicated his final composition to Smith: "Romancing the Phoenix," a three-movement bassoon concerto with rhythm section and symphony orchestra in a jazz setting.
In working with a jazz piano trio in order to adapt the bassoon to an all-jazz standards setting, Smith is extremely comfortable with the concept and the results, even if the instrument does not treat all of the titles equally. For example, on Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," the mournful sound of the bassoon is just perfect to demonstrate how well the concept works. However, when he tackles Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie," the funky classic sounds too artificial. The ballad and blues entries, like the Miles Davis "All Blues" or the Ellington piece "In a Sentimental Mood" are sympatico with the use of bassoon as a lead instrumentas is the case with such bebop classics as "Killer Joe," the Parker/Gillespie tune "Anthropology" and Sonny Rollins' "Doxy."
In an interesting departure from this format, Daniel Smith provides an experiment in adapting Coltrane's "Up Against the Wall" to fit a piano-less group of bassoon, bass and drums. Otherwise, Smith is well supported by the trio of Martin Bejerano (piano), John Sullivan (bass) and Ludwig Afonso (drums).
Personnel: Daniel Smith: bassoon; Martin Bejerano: piano; John Sullivan: bass; Ludwig Afonso: drums.