Sunday, January 16, 2011

Early jazz bassoon

"Running Ragged (Bamboozling the Bassoon)", recorded in 1929. The tune is either Eddie Lang (the guitarist) or the bassoonist (and saxophone player) Frankie Trumbauer. Wow, people have been playing jazz on the bassoon far longer than I would have guessed.


  1. Yep, Trumbauer was one of the earliest jazz bassoonists. You can hear him on a few tunes recorded by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, as well. He takes a short solo on "'Tain't So, Honey, 'Tain't So", recorded June 1928:

    Trumbauer loses out to Garvin Bushell for the earliest recorded improvised jazz solo on bassoon, though. Bushell recorded a handful of tunes with a group calling themselves the Louisiana Sugar Babes in March 1928, and he solos in "'Sippi" (sadly, not available on YouTube.

    But even earlier than that, the signer Ethel Waters recorded "Sweet Georgia Brown in 1925 with an unknown musician playing bassoon as the bass instrument (no solos, though). We've been there pretty much since the beginning!

    By the way, did I mention that I recently finished writing my dissertation on the bassoon in jazz? ;-)

  2. Wow, that is really interesting, thanks! I'd love to read your dissertation, if and when it's available.

  3. 'Sippi may not be on YT, but is is on the web, here (in RealAudio format).