Michael Rabinowitz: Uncharted Waters

You know a guy like Michael Rabinowitz has a corner on the  market when his web site is “jazzbasoonist.com.” What other instrumentalist would ever lay claim to that monicker? The major barriers to entry for any aspiring jazz bassoonist have to be 1) dexterity and 2) dynamics, and Rabinowitz handles both hurdles like Carl Lewis.

He teams up with Rusian Khai/b and Nat Harris/g for a pair of trios that are sublime and rich. The reeds are warm on “When Sonny Gets Blue” and the team bops with delight as Harris and Rabinowitz veer around Wes Montgomery’s “So Do It.” Drummer Vince Ector adds extra muscle to pieces like the modal title track, the driving “Kiki’s Theme” and a thunderous read of the classic “Caravan,” and all the while the double reeds are able to go from vibrant staccato as on “How Insensitive” to  almost sax like in richness on “Harold’s Blues.” No longer a novelty, the bassoon is an instrument for all occasions in the hands and embouchure of Rabinowitz.


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