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Playing loud, playing soft, and doubling


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I'm in the midst of several gigs. I'm playing multiple instruments with a good Pops orchestra, I'm playing tenor and baritone sax with a great R&B showband, and I'm playing who knows what with the "Klezmer Company Orchestra," a symphonic ensemble that combines traditional Jewish music with music of all kinds.

The Pops orchestra eliminated the second bassoon chair because of financial reasons. Yet the sometimes essential 2nd bassoon parts remain and I have been playing them on baritone sax with a semi-legit setup. I know that bassoon players will hate me, and I sympathize, but it has been a ball getting to play under the excellent first bassoon player as far as volume is concerned, and also trying to sound like a bassoon.

I've been using an old M.C. Gregory bari mouthpiece, similar to the mouthpiece Gerry Mulligan used. It allows me to play softly, down to nothing, with just enough "reediness" to blend with the bassoon. I've found the setup to be better than a strictly legit mouthpiece because it sounds more like a bassoon, and when the brass comes in, I still have a little power in reserve.

The same orchestra has me playing a featured solo with this week's artist, broadway star Gloria Loring. It's a middle of the road tenor solo, up front with Gloria, no problem. the rest of the gig is legit clarinet and bass clarinet.

The R&B gig is balls-to-the-wall bari and tenor sax in a great 4 piece horn section, with sophisticated charts in 7/8 time as well as the usual cookers. Interesting contrast, as I sometimes have rehearsals for both groups in one day. It's the Tommy Mitchell band, clip attached:


The Klezmer group is always interesting, and I get real bass sax parts occasionally, like the one in Bernstein's "Wrong Note Rag" from On the Town. The rest of the gig is whatever they throw at me. Clip attached. I'm on bari sax...

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