It's time to take the bassoon seriously —
Blown away: Daniel Smith is the Elvis Presley
of the bassoon.
Like the King himself, who took a then-obscure
style and turned it into the world's most popular forms of music,
Smith is single-handedly bringing the obscure woodwind into its
long-deserved, though long-deprived, spotlight (minus the seductive
"I consider myself a revolutionary,'' he
said last week, before kicking off a regular first Tuesday of each
month run at Puppet's Jazz Bar in Park Slope. "Not many people
have heard the bassoon the way I play it."
You could have stopped that sentence at the word
"bassoon," But Smith, who has been playing the music world's
least-appreciated instrument for 45 years, is trying to change that
too, by crossing the line from classical to jazz.
In some songs, his bassoon sounds like a trumpet.
In others, a sax. In all songs, it sounded amazing.
No wonder Puppets owners Jamie Affoumado and
Marty Fagin booked Smith for an open-ended run.
"We're incredibly pleased," they said.
"We love the instrument. And it looks like he could bring in
a crowd: Oddly given his gifts, the bassoon was not Smith's his
first love. He began with the flute and saxophone, but - as with
most people who've tired of the meaningless one-night flings - he
eventually settled down with his bassoon.
"I took it up to make a living:' he said.
"Began playing classical, but eventually I just drifted into
He stated that the bassoon is the most misuunderstood
instrument of the music world.
"Actually, it's one of the most difficult
instruments to play:' said Smith, whose 20th album, "Blue Bassoon"
will be available next month, "Where the confusion might be
coming from is that almost everybody, musician or otherwise, can't
imagine the bassoon as a viable jazz instrument, which I am proving
- Thomas Nocera, The
Daniel Smith's Bassoon and Beyond at
Puppet's Jazz Bar (481 Fifth Ave. between 11th and 12th streets, (718)
499-2622), first Tuesday of each month, beginning August 4, 9pm -
For info, visit www.puppetsjazz.com.