Crossover Bassoonist Daniel Smith Interviewed at AAJ
The bassoon is an instrument that isn't a total stranger to jazz. Some have doubled on bassoon at times, but even that isn't often. Others have incorporated it into their compositions and arrangements. (See Michael Rabinowitz tear it up as part of the Mingus Orchestra some time). But it's reaching new places and new audiences with the arrival," as it were, of Daniel Smith, a Brooklyn-born musician who reached acclaim with the instrument in the classical world and is taking it strongly into jazz.
He says, in spite of the accolades he received as a classical musician, learning the intricacies of jazz (an arduous task, he admits), he now enjoys its challenges and its potential more than he does the classical side.
For me," he says, it is jazz and improvisation that I find much more rewarding. There is simply no limit as to how high your skills can take you with constant improvement via a lot of hard work and focus. And you are always caught by surprise with new ideas which suddenly pop out and catch you by surprise."
His playing in jazz is still developing, he says, but progress can be seen in the growing audiences for his gigs in the U.S. and Europe that are enjoying the music of his jazz quartet, and can be measured in a pair of recordings Bebop Bassoon (2006) and Swingin' Bassoon (2007) on the Zah Zah label that, between them, cover a wide variety of standards and styles, from Miles and Monk to Basie, Duke, Bird, Dizzy and more. With him is his trio of Martin Bejerano on piano, John Sullivan on bass and Ludwig Afonso on drums. The disks have gotten some attention. Both are heard world-wide in many countries stretching from North to South America, all of Europe, Asia and as far as Moscow," he says.
Veteran AAJ contributor RJ DeLuke spoke with Smith about his jazz recordings, his feelings about the bassoon, which is known for its warm, dark timbre, and other musical topics.
Check out Daniel Smith: Bassoon Reaching New Places at AAJ today!