All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

276

Got Bass Clarinet? Jason Stein Does

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
In the short history of jazz—only about 110 years—the bass clarinet has had an even shorter existence. Students of Charles Darwin's evolutionary studies might point towards the adaption of the instrument into the new jazz of the 1960s; or perhaps the branch of evolution studies called biogeography might explain that fertile locations spawn growth in the use of certain instruments. Nonetheless, the bass clarinet has only appeared in fits-and-starts throughout the jazz story. If the progenitor was Eric Dolphy, his children are David Murray, Ken Vandermark, Andrew DeAngelo, Marty Ehrlich and Gebhard Ullmann.



Add to that list the ever evolving Jason Stein. While the musicians listed above play the bass clarinet as one of many instruments in their arsenals, Stein has dedicated himself exclusively to the long, straight bodied clarinet with the curved neck. He has released two recordings, one a modern improvisational trio, the second an unaccompanied solo session.

Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore
Three Less than Between
Clean Feed Records
2009



Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore trio album follows A Calculus of Loss (Clean Feed Records, 2008). While Stein has retained drummer Mike Pride, he has swapped a cellist for Chicago bassist Jason Roebke. Stein, a New Yorker, has chosen to base his playing out of the fertile Chicago jazz scene, playing and recording with Ken Vandermark, oboeist Kyle Bruckmann, saxophonist Keefe Jackson and others.

The Chicago sound suits Stein's approach to music. The tracks here are mostly improvised, but melodies and satisfying patterns tend to emerge as each track unfolds. The opening track, "Protection And Provocation," could be an equivocal tribute to the great Eric Dolphy and his guttural vocalizations played over walking bass and snare drum. But if Dolphy is the starting point, Stein's new conception is the direction of this recording. The trio frees itself on melody on "Stevenesque," and Stein flexes his aggressive horn on "Laced Up With Air," where he goes toe-to-toe with Pride and Roebke. The drummer, probably known best for his take-a-few-prisoners punk/jazz drumming plays with a shrewd and discerning style here. When called to, he can match Stein's speed, as on "Izn't Your Paper Clip," but mostly he sticks to his role underscoring the music.

Stein's clarinet meets the rubbing bass of Roebke on "Saved By A Straw," breathing textured notes and occasional bird calls to match the tweet and rubbings of the bassist. Roebke, a member of James Falzone's Klang, Mike Reed's People, Places & Things, and bands led by Jeb Bishop and Jason Adasiewicz, is an in-demand player because he can both lay down a pulse to keep the momentum of the music moving forward and operate in the open atmosphere of sometimes minimal free improvisation.

This is a very satisfying recording.

Jason Stein
In Exchange For A Process
Leo Records
2009

Certainly Stein is required to deal with the music of Eric Dolphy on this solo bass clarinet recording. Since Dolphy's passing at the young age of 36 in 1964, there has been much advancement in the possibilities of the odd shaped bass clarinet, a mainstay of symphony orchestras and wind ensembles.

Dolphy's penchant for extended technique is not lost on Stein. While many of today's musicians utilize the bass clarinet for its bottom-end sound, Stein plays the upper register with a warmth and zeal one might find in Evan Parker's soprano saxophone work.

This is a laboratory of an album, experimenting with extended technique, sound and structure. Like the revelations heard in the solo trumpet work of Peter Evans, Stein brings new ideas and sounds to his chosen instrument. Quiet puffs meet metallic overblown notes in Stein's labor. He varies approach on each of the 11 tracks, painting different pictures of his sound world. Pops and clicks signal changes, while clear notes are reminiscent of the warm, smooth nature of this instrument.

Fans of solo recordings and meditative music will find much to contemplate here.


Tracks and Personnel

Three Less Than Between



Tracks: Protection And Provocation; Stevenesque; Laced up With Air; Izn't Your Paper Clip; Saved By A Straw; Future Lungs; Three Less Than Between; Augusta Gun; Most Likely Illiterate; Amy Music; Sad Crestwood Lungs.

Personnel: Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Jason Roebke: bass; Mike Pride: drums.

In Exchange For A Process

Tracks: For The Sake Of Edgar Pollard; For Ishan; History Histrionics; EP And Me; Hysterical Eric; Murray Flurry; Temparary Framing Of Dr. J; Handmade Chicago; For Peter; Fiction For C.G..

Personnel: Jason Stein: bass clarinet.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Bailey's Bundles
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Lucille

Lucille

Delmark Records
2017

buy
Hearts & Minds

Hearts & Minds

Astral Spirits
2017

buy
 

The Story This Time

Delmark Records
2012

buy
The Story This Time

The Story This Time

Delmark Records
2011

buy
 

A Calculus of Loss

Clean Feed Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read The Song Poetry of William Parker Multiple Reviews
The Song Poetry of William Parker
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 19, 2018
Read A Six-String Travelogue Multiple Reviews
A Six-String Travelogue
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Dot Time Legends Series: Is Every Night New Year's Eve Around Here? Multiple Reviews
Dot Time Legends Series: Is Every Night New Year's Eve...
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: June 16, 2018
Read Kasper Staub: Slow Music for Fast Times Multiple Reviews
Kasper Staub: Slow Music for Fast Times
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 13, 2018
Read The Rarest of Ivories: Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane Elias and Renee Rosnes Multiple Reviews
The Rarest of Ivories: Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Basic Beauty: Arthur Blythe on Columbia Multiple Reviews
Basic Beauty: Arthur Blythe on Columbia
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues" Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama" Multiple Reviews A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser" Multiple Reviews Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser
by John Eyles
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Jon Catler: Sacred and Profane" Multiple Reviews Jon Catler: Sacred and Profane
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "David Murray Octets on Black Saint" Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017