Daniel Smith: Bebop Bassoon (2006)
Ballads and blues work best for this sensitive artist and his deep-throated, double-reed instrument. As the spotlight turns in his direction for extended periods, however, the inherent weaknesses of the instrument take shape behind the scenes. Intonation problems arise from Smith's solo bassoon voice on Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," and his articulation becomes muddy on Charlie Parker's "Anthropology."
The best pieces are the quartet's shared swingers, which fold in all four voices equally with a heartfelt spirit. "Killer Joe" drives with direct strength and allows all the artists to shine brightly. "Blue Monk" sparkles with an easygoing ramble. John Coltrane's "Up Against the Wall," taken at a moderate tempo, allows Smith to exhibit the agility that he's proven on this instrument. Unusual for jazz but swinging nevertheless, Smith's bassoon delivers straight-ahead anthems with distinction.
Track Listing: Killer Joe; Anthropology; Blue Monk; Sister Sadie; In a Sentimental Mood; All Blues; Doxy; Up Against the Wall; Birks Works; Sticky Wicket.
Personnel: Daniel Smith: bassoon; Martin Bejerano: piano; John Sullivan: bass; Ludwig Afonso: drums.
Record Label: Zah Zah