Michael Rabinowitz

Gabrielle's Balloon

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There have been very few jazz bassoonists throughout jazz history. Garvin Bushell and Frankie Trumbauer occasionally played it in the 1920s, and in later years Illinois Jacquet, Yusef Lateef, and Frank Tiberi all made strong statements on the difficult instrument. But until the rise of Michael Rabinowitz, there were no major full-time jazz bassoonists. On his Jazz Focus set, Rabinowitz is joined by pianist John Hicks, bassist Ira Coleman, and drummer Steve Johns. The music (which consists of six standards and four originals) is essentially hard bop, with such songs as "Bernie's Tune," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," and "Have You Met Miss Jones" being given swinging and creative interpretations. The bassoon often resembles a baritone sax, although having a slightly different sound, and Michael Rabinowitz is quite fluent in the jazz vocabulary. Due to the scarcity of jazz bassoon records, this disc is not only an enjoyable set but quite historic.

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