Daniel Smith: Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues (2014)

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Daniel Smith: Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues
All those who can resist reviewing—or reading a review about—a jazz / blues quartet led by a bassoonist, please raise your hands. No one? Very well, then, let us proceed. The bassoonist in question is Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith

bassoon
, and while his name may be unassuming, it would be good to report that there is nothing ordinary about Smith's prowess on his chosen instrument. Alas . . .

Perhaps the choice of music is partly to blame, but whatever the reason, Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues never really takes off, nor does Smith's unwieldy bassoon generate much heat. In fact, it is his backup crew—pianist Robert Bosscher, bassist Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien
b.1975
bass, acoustic
, drummer Vincent Ector and guests Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson

guitar
(guitar), Neil Clarke (percussion) and Greg Lewis
Greg Lewis
Greg Lewis

organ, Hammond B3
(organ)—who lend the session much of its enthusiasm and energy. Props should perhaps be given for even trying to play jazz on a bassoon, but if one is to do so he should at least have something appetizing to bring to the table. Not only are Smith's jazz licks indifferent and unsteady, he seems quite often to be playing out of tune (it's hard to imagine that would be deliberate).

There are two more guests, violinist / violist Efrat Shapira and vocalist Frank Senior
Frank Senior

vocalist
, who sings passably on Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
' "What'd I Say" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So." Shapira takes nice solos on Phil Woods
Phil Woods
Phil Woods
b.1931
sax, alto
' "Eddie's Blues" and Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
1935 - 1974
piano
' "Moanin.'" Other numbers, almost mandatory for a blues session, include Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
1920 - 1980
sax, tenor
's "Night Train," Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
' "Better Get Hit in Your Soul," Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's "C Jam Blues," Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
1925 - 2005
organ, Hammond B3
's "Back at the Chicken Shack" (showcasing Lewis) and Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
's "Senor Blues." Nat Adderley
Nat Adderley
Nat Adderley
1931 - 2000
trumpet
wrote "Hummin,'" Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
"Blue Seven," Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
"Mamacita" (which rings down the curtain with Smith again playing befittingly off-key).

There is at least one other bassoonist who has tried his hand at playing jazz. His name is Errol Buddle, a multi-instrumentalist who was an integral part of the splendid Australian Jazz Quintet back in the '50s. Now there's a guy who could really play jazz bassoon. As far as can be determined, Buddle is still alive and going strong as he approaches his eighty-fifth birthday. A pity he couldn't have been present on Bassoon Blues, as that would have helped it live up to the name Smokin' Hot.

Track Listing: Night Train; Hummin’; Better Get Hit in Your Soul; Back at the Chicken Shack; What’d I Say; Blue Seven; Senor Blues; Hallelujah I Love Her So; C Jam Blues; Eddie’s Blues; Moanin’; Mamacita.

Personnel: Daniel Smith: bassoon; Robert Bosscher: piano; Michael O’Brien: bass; Vincent Ector: drums. Guest artists — Ron Jackson: guitar; Efrat Shapira: violin, viola; Neil Clarke: Latin percussion; Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis: jazz organ; Frank Senior: vocals.

Record Label: Summit Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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