Magazine article IAJRC Journal

The Story This Time

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

The Story This Time

Article excerpt

Jason Stein Quartet

The Story This Time

Delmark 2013

Jason Stein (b-cl), Keefe Jackson (ts, contra b-cl), Joshua Abrams (b), Frank Rosaly (d)

Background Music/Laced Case/Little Big House/Skippy/Badlands/Palo Alto /Hatoolie/Gallop's Gallop/Hoke's Dream/Work/Lennie Bird

As the notes to this disc make clear, the bass clarinet is not exactly over-used in jazz. Other than as a very occasional double in big band sax sections, the instrument has had only a handful of specialists in the history of the music. While a few curiosities occurred in the 1920s and 1930s - George McClennon, Andrew Brown (with Cab Calloway), Walter Livingston (with Ted Weems), and other occasional performances by players better known on other reed instruments - the bass clarinet did not make an appearance as a major solo color until Harry Carney began playing it with Ellington in the late 1940s. After that came Eric Dolphy, Herbie Mann and a few others.

Now we have Jason Stein, whose other primary instrument is rock guitar. Although he apparently did not start on bass clarinet until he was in his twenties, he has developed a flexible and highly accomplished technique that can go from a straight-ahead bebop sound ("Background Music" and Lennie Tristano's version of "How High The Moon" - "Lennie Bird") to some fairly avant garde rasps and screeches ("Hatoolie") which are nevertheless controlled and done by intent.

The quartet itself is the latest in a line of interesting, Chicago-based groups that Stein has either led or participated in over the last decade or so. …

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