Bassoon in the Wild
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Bassoon in the Wild

Fair Lawn, New Jersey, United States

Fair Lawn, New Jersey, United States
Band Jazz World


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"If you appreciate jazz but don't know what a bassoon is, this album will blow you away. I am a profeessional bassoonist...Oregon Symphony and Bassoon Brothers Quartet...and Michael is one of the most amazing bassoonists I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. His arrangements are terrific and if you are a jazz enthusiast, you will truly enjoy this recording. It deserves six stars !"

Robert W Naglee- Customer Review of Bassoon on Fire,

"Michael Rabinowitz merits a place in jazz history. He's evolved into an astonishingly forceful presence."

Neil Tesser - Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader

Rabinowitz plays this music with confidence and authority...his phrasing is remarkably fluid and rhythmically on traget"

Cadence Magazine

"Michael Rabinowitz merits a place in jazz history...he's evolved into an astonishingly forceful presence"

Neil Tesser - Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader

"Other guys have tried jazz bassoon"Shank said of Rabinowitz,"but he really knows how to play."

Bud Shank

"...Ten soloists.battling huge sounds on every side, were adept, and four in particular shone:the trumpeters Soloff and Brecker; Michael Rabinowitz, who played five lyrical choruses of the blues on his bassoon, and Jerome Richardson..."

Whitney Balliett, New Yorker

- website

"Ocean Eyes Review"

Review from L.A. Jazz Scene June '04

Ocean Eyes

The vibraphone, acoustic bass and light drum foundation give this delicate ensemble a distinctive touch that resembles the Modern Jazz Quartet. Here, however, the group's lead voice is a deep, perky instrument that usually remains in the background: the bassoon. Michael Rabinowitz places this unique instrument, one usually found only in an orchestra context, into a modern jazz setting, quick and fluid, he marries bassoon melodies with the vibraphone's distinctive harmonic timbres for a mellow outing. The quartet swings too.
Vibraphonist Diana Herold, bassist Joe Fonda and Drummer Grisha Alexiev support Rabinowitz with a natural approach. "FMB" in particular, places the quartet in a charged straight-ahead alliance with swing. The leader's bassoon punctuates with machine-gun like intensity. Elsewhere, as his ballad "For Meryl," Rabinowitz shines with a vocal-like presence. "Ocean Eyes" moves with a lilting, bolero rhythm through exotic worlds. The bassoon just can't help being exotic. The leader's composition, however, takes the listener, suite-like, on tour of various places.
Rabinowitz, 48, has worked in New York with avant-garde ensembles and with several larger mainstream jazz orchestras. With his quartet, he's tuned into straight-ahead jazz. The bassoon is , by nature, mellow and smooth. In Michael Rabinowitz's hands, however, the instrument serves up improvised adventures with interest.

- Jim Santella

- LA Jazz Scene


Bassoon in Orbit

Ocean Eyes listen at



Their arrangements emphasize the ability of the bassoon to accompany as well as lead. Their programs include jazz standards, originals, Brazilian, be-bop, rhythm and blues. When they play, the bassoon, vibraphone, bass, and drums breathe as one. Special attention to dynamics is given.

Individual Bios are as follows:


Graduated from SUNY at Purchase in '78 after studying with Donald MacCourt and receiving a BFA in performance on bassoon. Over the last 30 years he has recorded five CDs as a leader and appeared on over 20 recordings as side men. His concentration and goal has been to bring the bassoon into the world of jazz and improvisation. This past year Michael has gained notice as a member of saxophonist Chris Potter’s tentet and recent release of Song for Anyone. He has traveled the world as a soloist in The Charles Mingus Orchestra, his own quartet Bassoon in the Wild and as guest of Igor Butman in Moscow. Last March he traveled to France to collaborate with oboist Jean Luc Fillon in France funded by a grant from FACE. Over the years Michael has been a familiar face at IDRS conferences, and other bassoon related events. He has been an inspiration to bassoonists & oboists worldwide in encouraging the use of improvisation to gain more joy and meaning in their creative expression. He has been endorsing Schreiber Bassoons for the past 8 years. His website is

DIANA HEROLD - vibraphonist, marimbist, percussionist
Diana Herold received her two graduate degrees from the New England Conservatory and Rice University respectively.

Equally adept at performing both improvised and non-improvised music, Herold has worked with composers and musicians such as Yo Yo Ma, Lou Harrison (with the Mark Morris Dance Group), Anthony Davis and Buddy DeFranco. She has performed as a featured soloist and as a percussionist with several larger new music groups and orchestras, including the Discovery Orchestra, the BMI Orchestra, Muhal Richard Abrams, Butch Morris, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

Her performances have taken her throughout Europe, Central America, the United States, and Canada (where she attended the Banff Centre for the Arts).

She can be heard on recordings with They Might Be Giants, Tony Trischka, Sam Rivers, Fred Ho, Rob Henke, and Chuck Clark. Diana leads her own jazz group featuring her own compositions.

Grisha Alexiev has been playing drums and writing music for 28 years. His performance experience with such varied artists as Archie Bell, Ken Werner, Sinfonia of Auckland (New Zealand), Sam Rivers, Randy Weston, Marty Ehrlich, Julius Hemphill, John Cage, Arnett Cobb, Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, and Richard Stoltzman, has given him a unique and impressive style. As a composer, Alexiev has been commissioned by dance companies and is recorded on The Jazz Club and Mapleshade Labels.

In 1990, while a student at New England Conservatory of Music, Alexiev was honored with the Presser Award, a grant given annually to the most promising student at each of the conservatories in the United States. In 1994, he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Performance Grant, and he has received several Meet the Composer Grants since 1996.

He is co-founder (with Neal Kirkwood) of the Discovery Orchestra, (with Sam Bardfeld) The Atomic Strings, and leads his own 11-piece group, No Western Shirts.

JOE FONDA - bass
A native of Amsterdam, New York, Joe Fonda received his musical training from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied composing and arranging.

He is the organizer and producer of the Joe Fonda Ensemble which has performed throughout the United States, and is the recipient of many grants from Meet the Composer Foundation.

In March and April, 1999, he performed with Brenda Buffalino and Company at Town Hall in New York; toured Europe with the Fonda/Stevens Group; and toured Portugal with Carlo Morena and Jeff Hershfield. In Spring, 1998, he toured with the Fonda/Stevens Group in Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland.

He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, and at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey. As a bassist, Joe has performed all over the world with ensembles and orchestras; and he has more than 25 recordings to his credit.