Daniel Smith's latest release, The Swingin' Bassoon, is due for release in early 2007.

Daniel Smith's latest recordings, BEBOP BASSOON and THE SWINGIN' BASSOON are to be released on the Zah Zah label. Featuring a top US rhythm section (pianist Martin Bejerano, bassist John Sullivan and drummer Ludwig Afonso), the two CDs were recorded 'back-to-back' and up until now have been only available from Daniel's management where they were enthusiastically received by jazz critics worldwide.



Currently member of the Roy Haynes band. Performed with: Russell Malone, James Moody, Ira Sullivan, Marcus Printup and many others. Major jazz festivals including those of Playboy, Montreal, Aspen, Ravinia, Sedona, Big Sur, Lincoln Center, Bahia, Charlie Parker. Jazz clubs appearances include: Birdland, The Blue Note, Jazz Gallery, Sunset Club (Paris), Jazz Showcase, Dakota. Recordings on various labels.


Currently member of the Roy Haynes band. Performed with Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Mike Manieri, Louis Hayes, David Sanchez, Bill Stewart. Jazz club venues and festivals include: The Jazz Gallery, Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, The Knitting Factory, Smalls, Lincoln Center. Recordings on various labels.


One of New York's premier jazz drummers, currently with Spiro Gyra. Featured with Bob Berg, Ira Sullivan, Nestor Torres, Sammy Figueroa, Eddie Rivera, Hector Martianon, Donny McCaslin. Ensembles include CJB Concert Jazz Band and the Bop Brothers. Recordings on various labels.

Bebop classics including:
  • Sister Sadie [Horace Silver]
  • Blue Monk [Thelonious Monk]
  • Anthropology [Charlie Parker]
  • In A Sentimental Mood [Duke Ellington]
  • Killer Joe [Benny Golson]
  • All Blues [Miles Davis]
  • Up Against The Wall [John Coltrane]
  • Doxy [Sonny Rollins]
  • Stickey Wicket [Dexter Gordon]
  • Birk's Works [Dizzy Gillespie]
Hear samples from 'Bebop Bassoon ':
Daniel Smith's Bebop Bassoon : 'Anthropology' ................Anthropology (mp3)
Daniel Smith's Bebop Bassoon : 'Killer Joe' ................Killer Joe (mp3)
Daniel Smith's Bebop Bassoon : 'Sister Sadie' ................Sister Sadie (mp3)

Selections from the big band era, jazz standards, bebop, latin and blues

  • Well You Needn't [Thelonious Monk]
  • Hay Burner [Count Basie/Sammy Nestico]
  • Scrapple from the Apple [Charlie Parker]
  • St. Thomas [Sonny Rollins]
  • I'm Getting Sentimental Over You [Washington/Bassman]
  • Summer Samba [Marcos Valle]
  • Out of Nowhere [Eddie Heyman]
  • Mood Indigo [Duke Ellington]
  • Home At Last [Hank Mobley]
  • I Remember You [Schertzinger/Mercer]
  • A Night In Tunisia [Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli]


Bebop Bassoon (Guild/Zah Zah)
Release date
Spring of 2006 on GUILD/ZAH ZAH

Pre-release reviews below! More to follow over the next weeks.

Review of Daniel Smith's 'Bebop Bassoon' from 'CADENCE' Magazine

DANIEL SMITH, known as the 'Rampal of the Bassoon', has a heavy reputation in classical music circles for his accomplishments on the instrument. As his 'BEBOP BASSOON' album proves, he's also quite comfortable with the jazz language. This ten track disc (Smith, bassoon; Martin Bejerano, piano; John Sullivan, bass; Ludwig Afonso, drums; Sister Sadie/ Birk's Works/ In A Sentimental Mood/ Well You Needn't/ All Blues/ Up Against the Wall/ Home at Last/ I'm Getting Sentimental Over You/ Doxy). The album opens with a burning arrangement of Horace Silver's 'Sister Sadie' and moves through a variety of well-worn standards that are graced not only by Smith's uncommonly warm tone, but also by a superb band that plays fully on par with him. Sullivan and Afonso form a sharp, punchy rhythm team but it's pianist Bejerano (like Sullivan, a member of the Roy Haynes band) who provides equal interest here. His colorful, intelligent playing constantly engages the ear, and finds new things to say on old ground. Smith's sensitive phrasing and unusual sound (think baritone sax with the resonance of a tuba) complete a well-above-average quartet session.
- Larry Nai

Other reviews of Daniel Smith's 'Bebop Bassoon'

CD of the Month: Bebop Bassoon
"Daniel Smith spans classical and jazz, but here it is pure bop with a great ensemble of young lions. Smile, it's a bassoon"


"Daniel Smith's CD, 'Bebop Bassoon' is unique, imaginative and refreshing. It's getting good airplay here at the Jazz Café here at WRHU"
- Bob Levoy, Hempstead, Long Island, NY.


"...Very well played....I will stun my audience with a bassoon!"
- Jack Simpson, Jazz On The Beach - WUCF-FM Orlando, Florida & WFIT-FM, Melbourne, Florida.


"It is rather unusual for the lead in a jazz quartet to come from a bassoon. Daniel Smith opened our minds and ears to a joyful experience in this regard. He's teamed with pianist Martin Bejerano, bassist John Sullivan and Ludwig Afonso on drums. They are well polished on ten strong jazz classics. 'Blue Monk',' Killer Joe' and 'All Blues' are highlights. But again it is the swinging arrangements and unique sound of Smith on bassoon that makes this a worthy addition to your collection."
- D. Oscar Groomes
[O's Place Jazz Newsletter, Naperville, Illinois]


"Daniel Smith swings with hearty passion alongside acoustic piano intros that provide a terrific job in setting up standard jazz pieces such as 'Sister Sadie', Birk's Works', 'All Blues', and 'Doxy'. His virtuosity and the quartet's swinging background provide an interesting outlook for jazz. Ballads and blues work best for this sensitive artist and his deep-throated instrument. Best are the quartet's shared swingers that enfold all four voices with a heartfelt spirit. 'Killer Joe' drives with direct strength and allows all four artists to shine brightly. 'Blue Monk' sparkles with an easygoing ramble, John Coltrane's 'Up Against the Wall' taken at a moderate tempo allows Smith to exhibit the agility that he's proven on this instrument. Unusual for jazz, but swinging nevertheless, Smith's bassoon offers straight ahead anthems with distinction."
- Jim Santella,
L.A. Jazz Scene


"A double reed instrument to play bebop on must be most difficult. Who would've 'thunk it'- a bassoon playing bebop that sounds like an integral musical instrument belonging within the confines of this hard-to-play ouevre. What a pleasure to hear a new voice bringing up the bottom notes of KILLER JOE, BIRK'S WORKS, SISTER SADIE, and other standards for which Dizzy Gillespie and his compadres would be proud! The whole quartet seems made for this outing but one must also point out the outstanding play of pianist Martin Bejerano, a name to be reckoned with in the near future. Congratulations to Daniel Smith for bringing a new and exciting sound into the jazz fold."
- Bruce Tater
Jazz Host, KETR, Public Radio, Texas A&M University, Commerce, Texas.


"The bassoon is an instrument not normally associated with jazz, but in the immensely capable hands of Daniel Smith, it shines! Smith, a classically trained musician, has taken what many consider one of the most difficult instruments to play and blows on bebop tunes with ease. He is a musician with a bright future in the jazz scene arena."
- Steve Rubin, 'Stolen Moments', KZYX - KZYZ FM, Mendocino County Public Radio (NPR), California.


"Refreshing to hear. Bassoonist Daniel Smith is swinging and masterful on this recording, he and his group create textures and sounds not always familiar within jazz. A real treat for the ears. Track favorites include Blue Monk and In A Sentimental Mood."
- John Sutton, Host of the Jazz Excursion,


"Daniel Smith has created an unusual sound on an instrument that is
primarily used in the symphonic mode.
"Anthropology" The bassoon holds it's own on this fast tempo bop classic. Martin Bejerano's Powellesque piano solo goes right to the heart of hip. Dexter Gordon's "Sticky Wicket" is the final track on this CD and the bassoon solo is cool in it's own strange way. For those in search of a new sound..This is it. 3 Stars."
- John Gilbert, California Coast Jazz,


"A profound work of jazz for a very difficult symphony oriented wind instrument, The Bassoon - I will confess this is my first experience at hearing the bassoon as a prime solo jazz instrument - and I am left with a deep sense of respect on behalf of bassoon master Dan Smith at his being able to bring this reed into the realm of jazz. To say that Smith is imaginative, deliberate, adventurous and open minded is to understate my case. This is a study in melodic creation, arresting originality, warmth, and buttered tone from an artist with an instrument and the guts to explore the unknown."
- George W. Carroll, The Musicians’ Ombudsman.


Viewed by 250,000 people a year, Jazzman Records at is now featuring 'Bebop Bassoon'


"Bassoon? Bebop? Jazz? Since when? Daniel Smith answers those questions with this first-ever CD recording of straight-ahead bebop classics on what has, until now, been almost strictly a classical orchestra instrument. And for good reason. The highest notes on the bassoon are roughly equivalent to the middle notes on a tenor sax, which would appear to kill its chances for success in a jazz context. However, Smith succeeds in transcending those potential limitations, beautifully covering ten classics from such bebop masters as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Monk, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Coltrane and others, coaxing notes and progressions from the bassoon that probably wouldn’t fly in an orchestral setting. Liberated from the constraints of his classical training, and free to explore new dimensions of this strange-looking instrument, Smith may have single-handedly elevated the bassoon to new heights in the jazz genre. Backed by Martin Bejerano on piano, John Sullivan on bass and Ludwig Afonso on drums, Smith turns standards like “Killer Joe,” “Anthropology,” “Blue Monk,” and Horace Silver’s “Sister Sadie” into uniquely refreshing interpretations."
-- Dean M. Shapiro,


"A striking set of bebop classics played by classical bassoon master Daniel Smith. The music hereon includes compositions by Miles, Bird, Trane, Monk and other masters of the genre. The deep and sinuous sound of the instrument, a rarity in jazz, offers a different angle on pieces such as 'All Blues, 'Anthropology', 'Up Against The Wall'. Blue Monk, as well as Sonny Rollins' 'Doxy' and Dexter Gordon's 'Sticky Wicket'. Daniel is supported by the rhythm section of pianist Martin Bejerano, bassist John Sullivan and drummer Ludwig Alfonso. Daniel's virtuoso playing of the bassoon is challenged by the complexities of some of the pieces he plays and throughout he confidently displays his mastery not only of the instrument but also of the form. This CD is very worthy of your attention."
- Bruce Crowler /


"What a kick is this CD! It should appeal to both chamber jazz lovers and chamber music fans. Though recorded in NYC and mixed at Big Dog/Fat Cat Studios in Florida, it somehow fits that a Swiss CD label picked this unique session to release commercially.

Smith holds the claim to being the world's most-recorded bassoonist. He did all 37 Vivaldi bassoon concertos for the ASV label, and is the only bassoonist performing and recording in both the jazz and classical fields. Smith has been written up in papers and magazines worldwide, including The New York Times, and has been referred to as the "Gerry Mulligan of the Bassoon." Last year composer/arranger Robert Farnon dedicated his final work to Daniel Smith: a three-movement bassoon concerto titled "Romancing the Phoenix."

I recall fondly the jazz oboe excursions of Bob Cooper from the 50s, and the bassoon is really the same thing except going down an octave or so. The task of playing jazz on the bassoon is not an easy one, though. The instrument is the hardest member of the woodwinds to play (although the French horn is no picnic either). Playing concert music is difficult enough, but jazz phrases are much more difficult to play on a bassoon than on, say, a saxophone. Smith sounds like he has no trouble at all - but isn't that the secret of great performing ability - to make it look or sound like it's not difficult? Smith says in his introduction in the notes that he has to wear "two hats" - one keeping a conservatory-trained concept in place when playing with an orchestra or ensemble, and then switching completely to another way of thinking and playing in the world of jazz.

After a track or two of these jazz standards I began to get past the oddity of the bassoon in jazz and was just thinking of the soloist as being an unusual sort of bass clarinet or sax. Thoughts of the opening of The Rite of Spring came to mind hearing Smith's high register treatment of Horace Silver's Sister Sadie, and the low end comes to the fore in several other tracks, mixing beautifully with the drums and bass. For me the highlight track was Miles Davis' All Blues. What a different version of this classic which we've all heard so many many times! Smith sounds even more mournful than Miles! Hey, now I gotta pick up on this cat's earlier two CDs: Bassoon and Beyond, and The Swinging Bassoon. Groovy to the max!"
- John Sunier, Audiophile


"Daniel Smith has invested a lot of time and energy to bring the repertoire of the bassoon into ragtime, jazz and contemporary music. Smith has recorded such titles as Bassoon Bon Bons, Bravo Bassoon and The Swinging Bassoon, as well as performances of Gunther Schuller's “Concerto for Contrabassoon and Orchestra” and Steve Gray's “Jazz Suite For Bassoon and Orchestra.” As a result of his many and diverse bassoon recordings, he has received considerable media attention for his efforts. In 2005, composter/arranger Robert Farnon dedicated his final composition to Smith: “Romancing the Phoenix,” a three-movement bassoon concerto with rhythm section and symphony orchestra in a jazz setting.

In working with a jazz piano trio in order to adapt the bassoon to an all-jazz standards setting, Smith is extremely comfortable with the concept and the results, even if the instrument does not treat all of the titles equally. For example, on Thelonious Monk's “Blue Monk,” the mournful sound of the bassoon is just perfect to demonstrate how well the concept works. However, when he tackles Horace Silver's “Sister Sadie,” the funky classic sounds too artificial. The ballad and blues entries, like the Miles Davis “All Blues” or the Ellington piece “In a Sentimental Mood” are sympatico with the use of bassoon as a lead instrument—as is the case with such bebop classics as “Killer Joe,” the Parker/Gillespie tune ”Anthropology” and Sonny Rollins' “Doxy.”

In an interesting departure from this format, Daniel Smith provides an experiment in adapting Coltrane's “Up Against the Wall” to fit a piano-less group of bassoon, bass and drums. Otherwise, Smith is well supported by the trio of Martin Bejerano (piano), John Sullivan (bass) and Ludwig Afonso (drums)."
- Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz


"...As the most recorded soloist ever to play the challenging double reed, it was only a matter of time, it seems, before Daniel Smith ventured out of the classical bassoon repertoire. On Bebop Bassoon, the veteran instrumentalist interprets ten standards from the jazz canon, making the familiar tunes surprisingly fresh with his woody, resonant admirable project from an obvious jazz lover that will hopefully lead to greater acceptance of the bassoon as a serious jazz instrument."
-Matthew Miller All About Jazz


"You know from the first notes of the first track that this is not a typical jazz recording. What is that sound? A tuba at the top of its range? An oddly muted trombone? A bari sax under water? It’s a bassoon, a bassoon playing a great bop standard from Benny Golson, “Killer Joe.” Daniel Smith has given this long hollow tube a new purpose—to sing melody and improvise as if it was truly a jazz instrument. And so it becomes, as delightfully illustrated on Bebop Bassoon, released this month on Swiss-based ZahZah Records.
Dubbed the “Gerry Mulligan of the Bassoon” in jazz circles and the “Rampal of the Bassoon” in the classical realm, Daniel Smith is above all a versatile pioneer when it comes to this great double reed. With recordings and performances that stretch from Baroque to ragtime to bop, Smith has turned the bassoon repertoire upside-down and inside-out, resulting in a much greater appreciation of this unique and difficult-to-master instrument. Smith appears to be the only bassoonist today who is performing and recording both classical and jazz, although the first appearance of the bassoon in a jazz context goes back to the 1920s and Paul Whiteman’s orchestra. In the 1960s, both Yusef Lateef and Chick Corea incorporated some bassoon into their recordings, and saxophonists Illinois Jacquet and Frank Tiberi occasionally doubled on the bassoon. A few contemporary jazz artists exclusively play bassoon (Karen Borca, Michael Rabinowitz). Yet only Smith, who has enjoyed a highly successful classical career, has managed to actively span both genres, and particularly bring public attention to the bassoon as a solo jazz instrument as well as ensemble playmate.

I have plenty of good jazz ensemble recordings on my shelves, but none surpass Bebop Bassoon for pure fun. And none provide such an in-depth introduction to an unlikely instrument’s potential to bring yet one more new sound to jazz performance. I hope to hear a lot more from Daniel Smith’s bassoon “and beyond.”
- Andrea Carter, &

"Le basson est ordinairement associé à la musique symphonique. En faire un instrument soliste de jazz relevait donc de la gageure. Pari engagé et tenu par Daniel Smith, dont le répertoire habituel, du baroque à la musique contemporaine avec des incursions dans le ragtime et le « crossover », pousse ici un pseudopode vers le jazz. Plus précisément vers le bop et le hard bop dont il revisite les classiques signés Golson, Parker, Monk, Gillespie, Miles, Rollins, Coltrane, Silver ou Dexter Gordon, avec une incursion dans l’univers ellingtonien. Il est soutenu dans cette entreprise par un trio des plus homogènes d’où émerge le pianiste Martin Bejerano, particulièrement stimulant et qui se révèle soliste accompli. On appréciera la cohérence et le swing de son improvisation dans Sister Sadie où le batteur Ludwig Afonso se met aussi en valeur. Le bassiste, pour sa part, donne sa pleine mesure dans l’introduction et dans son chorus de All Blues. Quant à Smith lui-même, il fait preuve d’un bout à l’autre d’imagination et d’une musicalité qui, le premier moment de surprise passé, emporte l’adhésion. Mieux, les standards passés au creuset de son basson en sortent transformés au point d’acquérir des couleurs nouvelles"
- Jacques Aboucaya, Pour JAZZ MAGAZINE (France)


"What a great player!!!! 'Bebop Bassoon' ....It is excellent!
Will start including the music in July and the following months."
Peter Kuller, Jazz Presenter, Radio Adelaide 101.5FM (Australia)


"The bassoon is rarely heard in jazz. The big, deep-toned double reed instrument is much more at home in the classical world. When encountered in a jazz setting, it's usually in larger ensemble recordings, painting dark colors in the harmonies. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter's classic Alegria (Verve, 2003) is a good example of the more common usage in the genre.

Daniel Smith's Bebop Bassoon takes the instrument into uncharted territory--out front, with a piano/bass/drums rhythm section in support, like a Dexter Gordon outing. Smith makes the horn switch on a set of classic bebop tunes from the pens of bop masters Benny Golson, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington (not quite bebop, of course), Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Dexter Gordon.

You could say it's a way to get out of the comfort zone, but bassoonist Daniel Smith apparently isn't a “comfort zone” kind of guy. He has recorded the Complete 37 Vivaldi Concertos, a disc that was selected by the Music Industry Association as Best Concerto Recording of the Year, in addition to pushing his instrument's repertoire into ragtime, jazz and contemporary music.

Bebop Bassoon works surpisingly well, a unusual and idiosyncratic treat for the ears. Smith navigates the bassoon's rich, woody tone through saxophonist Benny Golson's slinky gem “Killer Joe,” making the tune sound as if were written for the instrument. He also plays Charlie Parker's “Anthropolgy,” Monk's “Blue Monk,” Miles Davis' “All Blues,” John Coltrane's “Up Against the Wall” and more.

You could give the disc extra credit for the novelty of the approach, but it doesn't need any. This is an excellent jazz outing--familiar territory traversed in style."
- Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz


"Until this recording, BEBOP BASSOON, this listener knew the name Daniel Smith only as related to his prodigious gifts as a classical bassoonist: his recording of the Vivaldi Bassoon Concerti is a stunning achievement and ranks him among the finest classically trained bassoonists today.

And then here comes BeBop Bassoon! Not being familiar with this aspect of Smith's gifts (I haven't heard his other jazz recordings) made listening to this unique CD a welcome discovery. Not only does Daniel Smith negotiate treacherous territory in the jazz idiom, he plays in such a centered fashion that the music feels as though it is coming directly from his soul. He is extremely well supported by his colleagues: Martin Bejerano on piano, John Sullivan on bass and Ludwig Afonso on drums. Each is a pro and seems to understand the dark sound of the bassoon playing jazz and find just the right equivalent of tone in their own instruments that makes this set of fine songs move into the pinnacle of jazz performance.

Works on the CD include favorites from Thelonious Monk ('Blue Monk'), John Coltrane ('Up Against the Wall'), Duke Ellington ("In a Sentimental Mood'), Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Charley Parker, Dexter Gordon, Horace Silver and Benny Golson. It is the cream of the crop and served with flavors you may have never tasted! Highly recommended."
-Grady Harp, June 06,


"This is a fascinating new recording, with Daniel Smith on bassoon, in numerous jazz works, that would otherwise feature trumpet or sax. He chooses the best of the best, pieces by Coltrane, Gillespie, Golson, Monk, (Miles) Davis, Rollins, Parker, and more. Daniel Smith showcases the bassoon, out of its more common, classical milieu, and he presents a new and refreshing sound.

Notable tracks:

#3 Blue Monk – Composed by Thelonius Monk. Martin Bejerano opens this track with a melodic solo, closely joined by Daniel Smith. Bejerano is fast rising in the jazz scene, with versatility and breezy blending. Bejerano and Smith switch and combine leads, while the melody meanders to a close.

#5 In a Sentimental Mood – Composed by Duke Ellington. In this song, one of my favorite tracks, Smith towers over the band with moody bliss. The clarity of the deep bassoon is noteworthy, and Ludwig Afonso, on prominent percussion, joined by John Sullivan, on bass, provide a strong, resonant backup.

#6 All Blues – Composed by Miles Davis. John Sullivan opens this well known Miles Davis standard. Smith carries the theme, while Sullivan plays a contrasting rhythm, before Bejerano turns it into a contemporary riff.

#8 Up Against the Wall – Composed by John Coltrane. This track is notable for an extended drum riff by Afonso, amidst Smith’s prominent and powerful bassoon lead. Coltrane’s piece is jumping and kicking and never sounded quite like this."
-Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower, June 6, 2006,


"I do not think I have heard anything like this before. Way back Yusef Lateef made a LP with all kinds of flutes and - I think - oboe - but never bassoon. I also think Dan Smith is the real thing. The record is well worth listening to. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to listen to my first bebop bassoon! Keep swinging!"
-Åke Grandell,


"Daniel Smith, bassoon, with Martin Bejerano, piano, John Sullivan, bass, Ludwig Alfonso, drums, Bebop Bassoon (Guild GmbH Zah Zah). Smith makes clear the challenge faced by the bebop bassoonist: he has few role models, the instrument is tougher than the sax, and "one would have to shed all preconceived notions as to how to play jazz on the instrument." Jazz could use a few novel instruments. Too many jam sessions are ruined by a glut of saxophones. So I welcome Smith's efforts, which include a bluesy "Doxy," a frenetic "Anthropology" and a surprisingly suave "Killer Joe." Smith's tone is light and fluid and his sidemen, especially blues-tinged pianist Bejerano, have an eloquent touch. Three stars."
-Mary Kunz Goldman,


Rating: 8 (out of possible 10)

...... ' Smith is himself a giant. One of the few top-line legit concert musicians to have gone right into jazz, as well as meeting other crossover challenges. He's not like any other musician I have reviewed, a gent who didn't know what not to play, and had his ideas of jazz come from glossies and general media rather that first-hand acquaintance. His playing brings out the best of the quartet.'
-Robert R. Calder


'A recording of “classic” Be-Bop tunes, but played on a very unusual instrument: the bassoon, which the talented Daniel Smith plays with great fluidity.'
-Bruno Pollacci, Anima Jazz (Italy)


"This guy has guts. What else can you say for a guy that takes the most unyielding of instruments, the double reed bassoon, and takes it on a journey of bebop and hard bop standards? And you thought Buddy Defranco had it tough with the clarinet? As a reed player myself, all I could do was listen in awe of the mastery of Smith. He just takes apart pieces like “Anthropology” and “Sister Sadie” as if they were nursery rhymes. Even as daunting a piece as Coltrane’s “Up Against the Wall” is deftly handled.This beast was definitely tamed by Daniel Smith."
-George W. Harris Jazz Weekly Review


"Thought you heard the last word on neo-bop, guess again. Bebop Bassoon! No, really. Sounds funny right? Actually it's not a totally unprecedented jazz instrument. Ken McIntyre did some fascinating lower double-reed work from time to time, and a quick Google search on jazz bassoon will take you to the website of sometime Bela Fleck and Paul Dresher sideman Paul Hanso--located at, where else,! Now along comes Daniel Smith, who ups the ante on all of them by putting out an album of covers of classic tunes by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and even Miles Davis's "All Blues" from Kind of Blue! You've gotta hear this to believe it. But IMHO, it's on Dexter Gordon's "Sticky Wicket" that Smith's alternative horn most fully commands center stage. So, what's next, bebop contrabassoon?"
-New Music Box from The American Music Center - FJO


"Starting about fifteen years ago the jazz community felt a resurgence of retrospective reflection on the jazz of the 60’s and the years leading up to that era of jazz expressionism. Perhaps the fervent attraction comes from the way the musicians expressed strong emotions and feeling, expressing their views and experiences of the world in which they lived, and their push to explore new forms of music (jazz).

Daniel Smith has been a part of this retrospective movement, with obvious study of the swing and be-bop era, and Smith is fluent in the language of that time. However, Smith is still pushing the boundaries today by his instrument choice- the bassoon! Granted this is not as boundary breaking as Miles’s Kind of Blue, but it does expand the roster of jazz instruments.

The fist question in the readers mind is probably; “What does jazz bassoon sound like?” The simplest answer; like a reed trombone. The sonic quality is rich and similar in range and shape as the trombone, but with a fuzzier reed sound and much more agility (similar to that of a saxophone).

Smith’s new release entitled Bebop Bassoon is a collection of ten well known standards that are designed to showcase Smith’s ability on the bassoon. As the most recorded bassoon soloist in the world, Smith’s repertoire ranges from Baroque concerti to contemporary music including jazz, ragtime and crossover. Presently Smith is the only bassoonist performing and recording in both the jazz and classical fields. Playing both worlds is a very challenging thing to do, and has only be successfully accomplished by a select few musicians- Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Eddie Danniels might come to mind the quickest.

Smith’s interpretation of Ellington’s beautiful ballad, “In a Sentimental Mood,” really lets the listener hear the sound of the bassoon and enjoy the wonderful colors and moods the instrument gives forth, that until now have been savored primarily in a symphonic setting. Pianist Martin Bejerano uses the hauntingly beautiful countermelody that Duke used with Coltrane, giving a nice addition to overall texture of the track

“Sister Sadie” is another highlight with Smith displaying the ability and agility of the bassoon with a nice solo over a swinging groove provided by bassist John Sullivan and Ludwig Afonso on drums. The arrangement is also worth mentioning, with an obvious nod to the great Gil Evans.

Bebop Bassoon expresses strong emotions and feeling, Smith and his cohorts seem to feel the urgency to express their views and experiences of the world in which they live, and Smith is pushing to expand the horizon of what is considered a legit jazz instrument. That said, Bebop Bassoon is a welcome addition to the saga of jazz and any CD collection."
-H. Allen Williams, Jazz Review


O's Notes: "This is a very unusual application with Dan Smith playing his bassoon on jazz tracks! Dan is typically a classical musician. He ventured into jazz some time ago recording Bebop Bassoon but holding up on the release until it was perfected. What we hear on the finished product is excellent starting with “Killer Joe” and moving through jazz classics. The accompanying musicians are tight as well forming a quartet. Bassist John Sullivan, Ludwig Afonso (d) and Martin Bejerano (p) provide strong support as well as some good solos of their own. We don’t need to excuse Smith as a jazz rookie at any time as he races through the changes on Parkers 'Anthropology' without skipping a beat. Take a listen hear, you’ll enjoy it!"
-D. Oscar Groomes,



















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