[10 September 2007]
The main drawback of jazz bassoonery is that it doesn’t really match the human voice’s expressive potential. The expressive capacities are restricted. Still, Daniel Smith’s “Mood Indigo” is nicely detached and quirky like one of the bassoon one-offs Illinois Jacquet (which bassoonophils might persuade Prestige records to collect). There’s some perhaps unavoidable suspect pitching with “Home at Last”. (Well done to whoever found this composition and printed due praise of its creator, Hank Mobley.) The solos on bass (bowed) and piano make it apparant why Martin Bejerano and John Sullivan have regular sessions with Roy Haynes. On drums is the admirable Ludwig Afonso. Bejerano and Sullivan set things up nicely for Smith’s entry on “A Night in Tunisia,” and take over most of the number beautifully. The Jazz bassoon does sound less odd after a while. Coming off surprisingly well is Smith version of Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t”. (Maybe he’s listened to records of John Coltrane playing Monk.) Smith knows what he’s doing, he’s inside the music (hence nice choices like Sammy Nestico’s “Hay Burner”) and if you don’t like what he does, well, blame the bassoon!