Bassoon music like you’ve never heard before
October 7, 2009 - By BRIAN FERRY firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in Warren County School District music programs and some members of the community at large got a rare opportunity on Tuesday.
They got to see a Bassoon in the Wild.
"This is part of our community outreach for the Warren County Summer Music School," the school's director, Ann Mead, said.
More than 700 students from middle and high schools district-wide walked or were bused to the theater for a 45-minute performance Tuesday afternoon. Bassoon in the Wild also put on a free performance for the public Tuesday night.
"We like to bring in visiting artists to expose the students to music they've never experienced before - in this case jazz," Mead said.
And a very unusual example of jazz it was.
The bassoon, a four-and-a-half foot long, double-reed woodwind instrument, isn't what most people think of when they talk jazz.
However, bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz wasted no time showing what the instrument could do. He played long, fast, and intricate runs on his opening piece for the students.
Diana Herold on vibraphone, Grisha Alexiev on drums, and Joe Fonda on bass accompanied Rabinowitz.
"We're very excited and very pleased to be able to collaborate with the Logan Wintergarden Series at Penn State Erie," Mead said.
Penn State's Director of Instrumental Ensembles Dr. Gary Viebranz was at the theater Tuesday. "I'm here to enjoy the afternoon and evening performances of Bassoon in the Wild," he said. "They're a fun group - truly unique."
The Warren County Summer Music School is celebrating its 20th year.
The 2009-2010 Arts and Education Program will continue on Nov. 2 with Julius Caesar by DeSales University's "Will Power Tour."
Mike Rabinowitz fares better, subsuming bassoon discreetly into the fabric of a mellow improvisatory trio on The Four O'Clock Session. He limns melody with pianist Patrick Bebelaar ("Remember Prakash"), drones unison lines with Joe Fonda's bowed bass ("Keep Holding") or leaps about from treble lead to running gruff counterlines ("Scheherazade's Dream"). On his rare steps into full limelight, he opens a quiet "Discussion" then rebuts some arguments; his tart, adenoidal solo leads "Stop Talking"; he skitters along with rakish piano on his own boppy "Now."
Fred Bouchard 2/10
"If you appreciate jazz but don't know what a bassoon is, this album will blow you away. I am a professional bassoonist...Oregon Symphony and Bassoon Brothers Quartet...and Michael is one of the most amazing bassoonists I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. His arrangements are terrific and if you are a jazz enthusiast, you will truly enjoy this recording. It deserves six stars!"
Robert W Naglee- Customer Review of Bassoon on Fire, Amazon.com
Rabinowitz plays this music with confidence and authority...his phrasing is remarkably fluid and rhythmically on target"
"Michael Rabinowitz merits a place in jazz history...he's evolved into an astonishingly forceful presence"
Neil Tesser - Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader
"Other guys have tried jazz bassoon"Shank said of Rabinowitz,"but he really knows how to play."
"...Ten soloists.battling huge sounds on every side, were adept, and four in particular shone:the trumpeters Soloff and Brecker; Michael Rabinowitz, who played five lyrical choruses of the blues on his bassoon, and Jerome Richardson..."
Whitney Balliett, New Yorker
"He's a hero"
"Epitaph" turns out to be a perfect title since it defines Mingus as an
original synthesis of the past, present and future of music ....
There are solo opportunities for strangers to jazz like the oboe
and bassoon (the latter wielded brilliantly by Michael Rabinowitz in
Richard S. Ginell of Variety Music
"Mingus would have enjoyed working with this superb band, especially the evening's best soloists; Watson, Marsalis, Walrath, Abercrombie, Hicks, Rosenberg and bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz."
The Washington Post