REVIEWS

SMOKIN' HOT BASSOON BLUES featured . . .

Daniel Smith's new CD,
Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues, is showcased on the
Jazz Clubs Worldwide website.

 

Bassoon and Beyond




















[ J ] = jazz concert
[ C ] = classical recital
[ J / C ] = combined jazz & classical programme

March 2010:

New York: Barge Music [J]

"A master of his instrument."

Daniel Smith : Barge Music poster“Premier bassoonist Daniel Smith, joined by a band of key players (Daniel Kelly-piano, Michael O’Brien-bass, Vincent Ector-drums), was able to swing even harder than imagined thanks in part to the choppy East River rocking the barge. There’s very little surprise in saying that Smith is a master at his instrument. He’s also funny, shooting out jokes and goofing around with the band. Only a confident veteran could easily handle something as distracting as a perpetually moving stage.

The evening started with Tommy Dorsey’s 'I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,' which served as a warm up for the rich interpretation of 'Killer Joe'. His band mates were stellar, sounding as if they played together for decades. As a unit, they were joyful to experience, from O’Brien’s expressions and energy, Ector’s cool drummer attitude, Kelly’s ever-nimble fingers, to Smith’s classic anecdotes. The music was enriched by the individual styles and personalities. Count Basie’s 'Hay Burner' was evidence of O’Brien’s gift of being a dream blend of jazz and classical technique rolled into one musician. Smith strove to assist those more familiar with his classical life by giving comparisons and analogies regarding jazz: “Basie is to Monk as Bach is to Bartok” and “Charlie Parker was a Mozart that comes along every century” - which may have soothed some concerned attendees. The first set closed with Lee Morgan’s “Mr. Kenyatta”. Bassoon and bass blended beautifully, taking away the longing for the trumpet. As is commonplace among bassoonists, the reed popped out and in true fashion, Smith popped it back in place and kept going, barely missing a beat.

The second set opened with Mercer Ellington’s 'Things Ain’t What They Used to Be'. Once again, witnessing the strength of O’Brien’s fingers as he played a bluesy solo was intriguing. His bow work on the challenging Parker composition 'Billie’s Bounce' was outstanding. Guest guitarist Sandro Albert had a colorful solo in Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas”. Ector’s fluid rhythms were a good match for Albert’s style. A patron whispered that Kelly had the same ability as Monty Alexander to make the piano almost sound like a steel drum. Taking a little time to listen during Horace Silver’s 'Sister Sadie' and the observation had some validity. The evening ended with Mingus’ 'Better Get It in Your Soul', and Smith’s fusion of the two worlds of music was complete.

Even if the bassoon were not one’s preferred instrument of choice, it would at least earn greater respect by the end of Smith’s performance. The most interesting observation of the entire evening was that the more intensely the band played, the more actively the barge rocked. While at times this proved to be a tad unsettling, the discomfort was tolerable due to the pleasure of the two sets. Besides, what’s a little motion sickness for the love of good jazz?}


-Layla Macoran, Jazz Inside Magazine March, 2010



Thame Concert Jazz Club, Thame, Oxford, UK. [ J ]

THAME (pronounced “tame”) is a charming old market town in the county of Oxfordshire, close to the Chiltern Hills and just 14 miles east of Oxford, UK. This week, the town was anything but “tame” when jazz bassoonist DANIEL SMITH and THE JONATHAN GEE TRIO appeared at JAZZ EDDIE’S CONCERT JAZZ event in Thame Concert Jazz Club.

Jazz bassoon? Well - why not?! As a bassoon player myself, I have the greatest admiration for Daniel Smith’s expertise and musicianship with this unique sounding beautiful instrument. As Daniel points out to the audience “there is no role model for the jazz bassoonist”. He gave an excellent demonstration of how to bend notes and made the comment that classically trained musicians and those who know nothing about jazz tell him he is sometimes out of tune when playing jazz bassoon. What Daniel actually does is bend notes and inflect like a tenor saxophone player. This is a foreign sound to our ears and heard “live” on stage is wonderful. Jazz HAS to be heard live. Listening to a CD can never ever replace the excitement of that moment when you hear and watch talented folk play right in front of you. That magical moment can never be repeated.
However, next best thing has to be owning Daniel’s latest CD “The Swingin’ Bassoon”. Buy it. Listen to it and then go and hear him play live.

The evening just got better and better. Daniel was superbly supported by Jonathan Gee on keyboard, Steve Rose on double bass and Winston Clifford on drums. The Jonathan Gee Trio have been working together for several years performing at jazz venues and festivals throughout the UK & Europe. They have played regularly at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London and supported many great players.

If jazz bassoonist Daniel Smith comes to play in your back yard - go and hear him. You’ve never heard anything like it before!

- Catriona M M Webster


Born in the USA, Daniel Smith, spent his early years listening to the great giants of jazz such as Count Basie in his home town New York City.

Classicallly trained, he has with this background, sucessfully crossed over seamlessly to the jazz world with his mastering of a cumbersome and somewhat ungainly instrument 'the bassoon.'

The audience was spellbound with the lovely lyrical and warm tonal quality daniel smith achieved from his deep voiced instrument playing great jazz standards. Indeed, I was so impressed with his new cd, he kindly gave me, that I played three tracks, something I have never done before.

Daniel was ably backed up with pianist Jonathan Gee on keyboards, Steve Rose on double bass and Winston Clifford on drums, who made an altogether delightful evening of jazz at Jazz Eddies great venue at Thame, Oxon, England.

-Dave Self, Radio Jazz Presenter & Producer / tvu . Blast 1386. (On the web) & Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio.

 

Festival de Jazz Música Creativa de Ciutat Vella 2002 (Barcelona) [ J ]




Barcelona_1


Barcelona_5

“With an unusual instrument for jazz, he captivated the audience in a crowded hall on both nights…the American artist Daniel Smith left an unforgettable impression in our City, the way only great stars can do!”

Daniel Negro
Director, Jazz Festival, Ciutat Vella

London:

‘THE GERRY MULLIGAN OF THE BASSOON’

Daniel was recently showcased at London’s prestigious jazz club ‘Pizza On The Park’ for two consecutive evenings. Billed as the ‘Gerry Mulligan of the Bassoon’, read below what critics had to say about his performances!

‘Mr. Jazz Bassoon...drew a bigger crowd than ever’

Daniel in full flight at the Pizza On The Park, London
Daniel in full flight at the Pizza On The Park, London


“Returning for his fifth engagement at London’s Pizza On The Park, Daniel Smith drew a bigger crowd than ever, so clearly word is getting around. The main thing to report is that his playing is also better than ever. Playing with a noticeable sense of style and ease, and confident in his abilities to make the bassoon into a real jazz voice, he keeps on growing in stature as a jazz artist. It has been said that Daniel Smith is to the bassoon what James Galway is to the flute or John Williams to the guitar. Soon it will not be necessary to make such comparisons. It will be “Mr. Jazz Bassoon” and it will be said of others that they are to their instrument what Daniel Smith is to the bassoon.”

Mel Cooper

Reviewer, Inflight Magazine


London:

‘Along the pathway to worldwide acclaim’

Terry Davis (bass), Matt Home (drums) and Daniel. Bruce Boardman was the pianist.
Terry Davis (bass), Matt Home (drums) and Daniel. Bruce Boardman was the pianist.

“If you’ve never heard a bassoon swinging, now’s your chance! Daniel Smith was showcased in two consecutive nights of jazz at London’s 'Pizza On The Park'. We caught the first night and can report substantial changes from when we last heard him a year or so ago. His playing is surprisingly more fluent on up-tempo numbers, he’s good at be-bop, and his tone has changed to a more hip sound. The programme included many tunes from the standards songbook. Perhaps the most satisfying of the evening was ‘Out of Nowhere’, where he stretched out in several choruses, playing a distinctive and continuous line of improvisation which was enthusiastically received by the crowd.

All in all, Daniel is progressing nicely along the pathway to worldwide acclaim. This was an unusual and satisfying evening which points the way to the continuing development of a unique talent - and sound - in jazz.”

Dick Laurie
Hot News

 


Edinburgh:
‘A unique and powerful voice in the world of jazz’

The quartet at Duff House, Banff
Daniel performing with some of the top jazz players in Scotland: Brian Kellock (piano), Ronnie Rae (bass) and Alyn Cosker (drums).
The quartet at Duff House, Banff again

“Even the most knowledgeable jazz fans in the audience at the Queen Charlotte Rooms were treated to something completely different – the bassoon as a lead instrument in a jazz band. The occasion was a performance by a genuine virtuoso, Daniel Smith. With a huge reputation in the world of classical music, he is now building a very deserved reputation as a unique and powerful voice in the world of jazz. A repertoire ranging from classic ballads to hard bop, all handled in his distinctive manner, with, of course, a very distinctive sound. To anyone who may doubt the suitability of such an instrument for this music, I can do no more than say: Go and hear him for yourself!”

Jim Welsh
Director, Edinburgh Jazz Projects


Banff (Aberdeen):
‘Complete command of the bassoon’
Daniel gets ready for action
Getting ready at Duff House for classical recital, accompanied by Graham McNaught on piano.
“Daniel’s complete command of the bassoon enabled his listeners to appreciate for the first time the versatility and sound of an instrument more frequently heard within the orchestra. Provided the Duff House audience with a delightful programme of music from Mozart to Gershwin.”

Charles J. Burnett
Chamberlain, Duff House Concerts


Glasgow:
‘Highlight of the festival!’

“Abandon all preconceptions of the limitations of the bassoon. In Daniel Smith's hands this is an instrument that plays upon the soul. His jazz concert was a highlight of the festival!”

Neil Baxter
Festival promoter, Glasgow 'City of Love' Festival

The quartet at Glasgow
The Tron Theatre band:

Dave Milligan (piano)
Brian Shiels (bass)
Alyn Cosker (drums)

The quartet at Glasgow again

 

JAMMING WITH JAMEY...


Daniel with Jamey Aebersold (3rd from left).





Daniel digs in!
Daniel Smith's appearance at Jamey Aebersold's Jazz Clinic in Richmond was one of the highlights of the evening. Playing alongside Jamey's top notch band (which also included pianist Dan Haerle and bass player Todd Coolman), Daniel was featured on two numbers and treated the audience to excellent solos on Sonny Rollins' Doxy and the Duke Ellington signature tune Take The 'A' Train (written by Billy Strayhorn).

 

LONG MELFORD [ J ]
One doesn’t automatically associate the bassoon with jazz music and to those of us more attuned to the instrument as Grandfather in Peter and the Wolf this Saturday evening concert was something of a culture shock – and a revelation! In the hands, literally, of world-acclaimed virtuoso Daniel Smith – who combines an extensive classical repertoire with his pioneering work in the field of jazz – the instrument had all the fluency this style of music demands. Favourite numbers from the pens of “greats” such as Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Count Basie and Miles Davis all got the treatment from Daniel with his talented colleagues – Steve Smith (UK) on drums, Russell Swift on bass and Sean Whittle at the piano. Daniel talked about the instrument and demonstrated very convincingly that a bassoon can be the equal of a clarinet or saxophone in this medium. This ensemble gave us jazz music of the very highest order in a most enjoyable and memorable evening.
-Ken Nice, Asst. Treasurer, Melford Music, 15 August 2006

WOLVERHAMPTON MUSIC SOCIETY
As James Galway is to the flute, so Daniel Smith is to the bassoon! Ranging in the course of two hours from the formality of baroque to an exciting jazz session, interspersed with helpful but uncondescending details about this shamefully underestimated instrument, the recital was a revelation in every way. Thanks, Daniel, for reminding us what true joy can feel like.
- John Higgs Trustee, City of Wolverhampton Music Society

CHESTER MUSIC SOCIETY [ J / C ]
In the hands of Daniel Smith. the bassoon took on a new character. Backed by the talented and enthusiastic members of BASSOON AND BEYOND, he proved that great jazz is enhanced by this unusual combination. For those with preferences for classical playing, the concert was an opportunity to hear it performed by a superb classical bassoonist. Our audience comments were very favourable and we hope to have the chance to hear this wonderful artist again in the future.
- Geoffrey Hallett, Honorary Secretary

WEST WIGHT ARTS ASSOCIATION [ C ]
Our Christmas concert programme was something very special and fulfilled our goal that "West Wight Arts brings the Wigmore Hall to the Isle of Wight.'' As befits a musician of such experience, Daniel Smith's witty and informative introductions and his varied programme of classical selections fulfilled our every expectation in this respect. It was a wonderful and successful evening of music and gave our patrons an appreciation for this most difficult and unusual of instruments.
- Keith Brettell, Hon. Treasurer

HARLINGTON FESTIVAL [ J ]
Daniel Smith is clearly a very talented musician who has developed a new role for the bassoon as a solo instrument. A capacity audience heard music from many styles, including be-bop, swing, blues and ballads and composers ranging from Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins to Duke Ellington. His quartet was most interesting to watch and listen to; clearly having fun and responding to each other's individual musical talents.
- Michael and Vivien Powles

MACCLESFIELD MUSIC SOCIETY [ J / C ]
With Daniel Smith, the bassoon as a solo instrument becomes something magical. His varied classical programme for the first half of the concert, with timely introductions, was an eye-opener and a delight. But a bassoon playing jazz? Can this be true? Indeed it was, with the unique sound of the instrument bringing a new dimension to the world of jazz while raising the tempo of the second half of the evening in more ways than one! The audience loved it!
- Shirley Jarvis, Concert Secretary

LYTHAM ST. ANNES MUSIC CIRCLE [ J / C ]
In an evening of music divided between classical and jazz, our audience was treated to a broad spectrum of music, ranging from Elgar, Mozart, Verdi and Vivaldi and onto many exciting jazz pieces. In the jazz segment of the programme, Daniel Smith's bassoon triumphantly led his quartet with infectious, foot tapping and brilliant music. Improvisation at its best; a visible joy for the audience with wide-ranging selections from blues to Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker
- John Simpson, President

SOWERBY MUSIC SOCIETY, North Yorkshire [ J / C ]
Splendid jazz arrangements matched by the immaculate playing and glorious tone of Daniel Smith's bassoon in a wide and varied programme of classical and jazz. BASSOON AND BEYOND was a joy and a revelation. This was not just an evening for the jazz connoisseur, it was an evening for music lovers of all kinds and ages. And love it they did!
- Martin Hooper, Concerts Secretary

ABBOTSBURY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Dorset [ C ]
An enthusiastic audience filled the beautiful 16th Century church of St. Nicholas where Daniel Smith entertained them with a strikingly diverse programme. As well as displaying an extraordinary command of his instrument, he communicated his enthusiasm with explanations for each piece of music. Daniel Smith's performance demonstrated the astonishing range and power of the bassoon, which in his hands took on a rare individuality and charm.
- Francesca Radcliffe, Chairman

AYLSHAM CONCERTS, Holt [ J ]
Aylsham Concerts introduced another 'first' with Daniel Smith and BASSOON AND BEYOND. The audience was treated to a concert of first-rate jazz and an illuminating insight into the musical capabilities of the bassoon. It was a joyous introduction to an unusual combination and we plan to have the pleasure of a return engagement with Daniel Smith soon.
Derek Ardern, Chairman

STRATHDEE MUSIC AT ABOYNE [ J / C ]
After hearing outstanding classical artistry during the first half of the programme, the concept of then hearing amplified bassoon performing jazz had people shaking their heads in uncomprehending disbelief. Daniel Smith, the acclaimed bassoonist from New York expanded our aural experience with a display of virtuosity which really had people talking afterwards. Hearing a bassoon swing with this truly great musician, implausible though it might sound, was just amazing.
- Owens Jenkins, Deeside Piper

BOSTON CONCERT CLUB [ C ]
An interesting and entertaining evening last Tuesday when the American bassoonist Daniel Smith gave a recital for the Boston Concert Club. Daniel has a mission to make his instrument better known, something I applaud. The programming combined works composed for bassoon and piano, transcriptions from other instruments with piano, and also arrangements. We were informed about the instrument between pieces in a friendly fashion and there was generous applause at the end with an encore to follow
- Brenda Lane, Boston Standard

THE QUAY THEATRE [ J ]
It was a privilege and a great pleasure to have Daniel Smith with BASSOON AND BEYOND on our series. Delightful jazz arrangements complemented the virtuoso playing of Daniel Smith and his talented accompanists. One of our patrons, a jazz enthusiast for over 40 years, said that it was the most enjoyable evening of music he had ever experienced, to which I agree.
- Richard Way, Director

PIZZA ON THE PARK, London [ J ]

With his quartet BASSOON AND BEYOND, Daniel Smith gave an elegant performance at Londons ‘Pizza On The Park’, showing that the bassoon can not only make convincing jazz but that it can make sounds of great beauty. His musical voice is fluent and he has obviously listened much to Getz, Rollins and Coltrane. His formidable technique means that he can take up-tempo numbers confidently and has some pretty furious runs to display. Go and hear him! This is a unique voice in jazz.
- Dick Laurie, HOT NEWS

‘Bassooner The Better' Daniel Smith, the internationally recognized virtuoso of the instrument. is bringing the bassoon into greater prominence with his jazz quartet BASSOON AND BEYOND. His deep, doleful tone brought a new dimension to many familiar jazz classics, while making full use of his dexterity, delivering impressive runs on such up-tempo pieces such as 'A Night In Tunisia' and a fascinating rendition of' ‘Blue Monk'.
- Keith Howell, JAZZ EXPRESS

Bassoon virtuoso Daniel Smith can make his difficult instrument dance like Gerry Mulligan's baritone sax; backed by his acclaimed jazz quartet BASSOON AND BEYOND and the talented members of this group on piano, bass and drums.
- Jack Massarik, LONDON EVENING STANDARD

'Gigs Not To Have Missed'. Acclaimed bassoonist Daniel Smith was making jazz history with great renditions of Horace Silver's 'Sister Sadie and 'Peace' in his repeat engagement at London's ‘Pizza On The Park’. Looks like a rocket launcher but sounds like Gerry Mulligan.
- Jonathan Abbott, BOZ

See the reviews and photos of Daniel's last visit to Pizza On The Park


WESTERN MAIL, Wales [ J ]
In it's third year, the Aberystwyth Jazz Festival is making a name for itself in the jazz world - the arrival of talented bassoonist Daniel Smith confirms the fact. Smith is well known for his jazz arrangements of traditional Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish tunes.
- Elaine Jenkins

ABERDEEN PRESS AND JOURNAL [ J ]
'Bassoon bravado backed by red-hot jazz playing' Daniel Smith's performance for Strathdee Music at Aboyne certainly shook the dust of any preconceptions the audience might have had. We were in another world as Daniel and his quartet gave us a selection of fantastic jazz classics. Smith's bassoon encompassed the smooth sounds of jazz trombone and sax meshed in with his own special sound.

DEESDIE PIPER, Aberdeen [ J ]
‘Don't knock the bassoon ever again!’ The concept of amplified bassoon performing jazz might have some people shaking their heads in uncomprehending disbelief. Daniel Smith, the acclaimed bassoonist from New York, expanded our aural experience with a display of virtuosity which really had people talking afterwards. Hearing a bassoon swing with this truly great musical pioneer, implausible though it might sound, was just amazing.
- Owens Jenkins

THE REGISTER , California
‘Gunther Schuller's contrabassoon concerto daringly offered by Daniel Smith...challenged the audience with as uncommon a performance as they'll ever hear...musicianship which is of the highest order...’
- Bill Akers

DILIGENTIA HALL, The Hague, Netherlands [ C ]
‘Bassoon recitals are rare and Daniel Smith demonstrated that he thoroughly had this unruly instrument under control. Mozart's second bassoon concerto (attributed to) sounded very pure and in full command’
- Kunst, Het Vanderland.

DILIGENTIA HALL, The Hague, Netherlands [ C ]
‘A bassoon recital we do not hear often in our country, Diligentia (Hall) had the honor. The expressivity of the bassoon came through especially in the 'Romance' of Elgar and in the 'Six Etudes' of R. Vaughan Williams. Smith showed fine expertise.’
-Besier, Het Binnenhof

THE ATALIER, Brussels, Belgium [ C ]
‘From the first measures, one is struck by the singing quality of the bassoon. This truly was an accomplishment of dynamism, of gaiety, and of enthusiasm. The performance was a special treat.’
-Genia

TELEROMA, Rome, Italy [ C ]
‘Daniel Smith has appeared as soloist in many Italian cities, obtaining great success on the part of the public and the press. He possesses a very beautiful tone, has innate musicality and complete mastery of his instrument, impeccable rhythm and exceptional interpretative qualities. It is with great pleasure that I write these comments about this noted American bassoonist.’
Prof. Michele Incenzo,
Primo Clarinetto, Orchestra Sinfonica Accademia Nazionale S. Cecilia

TELEROMA, Rome, Italy [ C ]
‘An impressive performance by bassoonist Daniel Smith, soloist in the Carl Maria von Weber Bassoon Concerto. Performed with the Rome Festival Orchestra, conducted by Edgar Braun.’
-International Daily News

RYEDALE FESTIVAL [ J / C ]
‘We always try to provide unique musical experiences at the Ryedale Festival and the sound of Daniel Smith's jazz bassoon was certainly that! The audience was delighted with the classical and "crossover" into jazz; this foot tapping event was the talk of the festival.’
- Malcolm Layfield, Ryedale Festival Director

 

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