Both kinds, country AND western. Whoever can guess that movie quote gets a free reed. No cheating! But seriously, when you play the bassoon, you kind of get pigeon-holed into the “classical” music world. There is really no reason any of us HAVE to play a certain style of music. There are many artists that either dip their toes into another swimming pool of music and others that jump right in! As for me, I’ve gone wading a bit in some other pools and look forward to going deeper.
When I listen to music, there are A LOT of different styles I enjoy and I bet most of us are like that. But when I play bassoon, I’m somewhat trapped by the job. For instance, a good comparison to the Air Force concert band is a pops orchestra. There is a lot of variety there, but still really within the confines of a “classical” setting. The same goes with the woodwind quintet, although a smaller ensemble certainly has much more flexibility. I also play saxophone (not great!) and have had opportunities to perform with the jazz band. Jazz is a setting that I was exposed to through high school and college, so I’ve never been too afraid to bridge that gap with my bassoon. That’s usually happened in informal settings where I’m just playing music with friends. But you never know when a new opportunity may arise...
A good friend of mine, Jason Cale, (an amazing guitarist and singer/songwriter) asked me a couple of years ago to collaborate with him on an original song that would feature bassoon. Once we had finished the song, Jason was ready for us to perform this at his local gigs as part of his set. We’re talking bars and brewpubs. He also wanted me to play other songs with him on bassoon and sax. Some were original, some covers. I was nervous... I’d never played with a rock band on sax or bassoon and had to figure it out. Well.... I jumped in! Some things I did well and some things were terrible. I was lucky that Jason was always positive and encouraging. I’m still not great in this setting and have a lot to learn, but I’m not afraid to explore this now.
Fast-forward to today, and the Jason Cale Band’s new album ends with our collaboration. We played last Saturday night at the St. George Brewing Company for their CD release party and had a blast. Here are a couple of links that you can check out on YouTube. Also be sure to visit Jason’s website. His blues fusion band is the real deal, and you can download his album at jasoncalemusic.com
Hope you enjoy! ...J