Contrabass Digest

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list                           Sun, 9 Aug 1998            Volume 1 : Number 56

In this issue:


Date: Sun, 09 Aug 1998 10:25:08 +0100
From: David Bobroff <>
Subject: tunnel-effect

>For really amazing resonance, try a tall stairwell.

Or a 700 meter long tunnel.  I was in Lahti, Finland for a tunnel concert.
A brass group (4 tpt. 1 hn. 4 tbn. 1 tba and perc) played in a tunnel.
There is a week each summer there set aside for tunnel concerts.  The
tunnel has an 11 second reverb.  I was present at the rehearsal and the
concert.  The rehearsal was a bit boomy but once the crowd showed up it was
not a bad place to play.  The ring time after final chords was great.
There was a proper stage set up for the performers and plenty of seats.
Strange idea but lots of fun.

What does this have to do with contrabass stuff?  I was in Finland
attending "Lieksa Brass Week" with my contrabass trombone.

Also, in response to the comment about the square-bore cimbasso (sounds
like fun) I would point out that all of the articles I see about cimbasso
indicate that no such instrument ever existed.  Apparently it is a possible
misreading of the abbreviation for contrabasso.  In the most recent "Brass
Bulletin" there is an article which suggests that the instrument called for
was probably a three-valved F bass-trombone or a 4 valved Bb bass-trombone.

David Bobroff


Date: Sun, 9 Aug 1998 08:55:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Contra-bathroom technique

basement underneath the theatre department.  It was a dressing room,
>>fully tiled along with wall to wall mirrors so you could watch your
>>embrochure, etc.  Wonderful sound.
>For really amazing resonance, try a tall stairwell.  If you can find a
>cement/metal stairwell, several stories tall, you can obtain a *lot*
>of reverberation..........

When I could, I would stay late at night and get into the freight
elevator..  The top of the car was open, and it was 5 stories high, a
great place to explore the pedal range.  We also had an underground
tunnel connecting the music school and the new performance center, all
concrete, with about a 5 or 6 second reverb time.

Michael Grogg

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Date: Sun, 09 Aug 1998 17:51:46 -0400
From: Dave Robinson <>
Subject: Bass sax newbie

Hello everyone!  Time to introduce myself.  I subscribed to the list
months ago, on a tip from Jack Silver (thanks Jack!), but wanted to hold
off the introduction until I had time to go through all the digests so I
know what's been said and what questions I need to ask.

My name is Dave Robinson, and I don't play any contrabass instrument!
I'm a jazz trumpet/cornet player, but one of my musical passions is the
sound of bass and contrabass reed instruments, particularly the
saxophone.  I have assembled the most comprehensive collection of bass
sax and contrabass sax recordings on the planet, and have been writing a
discography of same since the late 70s.  I have documented the
recordings of well over 200 players on these instruments, and it seems
the list grows faster than I can keep up with!  I'm nowhere close to
finishing this book yet, but hope someday to finish and have it
published.  Meanwhile, you can read my article "Recorded History of the
Bass Saxophone" in the Jan/Feb 1990 issue of Saxophone Journal.

In recent years I've also been thinking about setting up the discography
on a web site-click on a name and you see all that player's applicable
recordings-but I have no experience in this area.  Maybe when I get
close to being ready, one of you good people could assist?

The Contrabass Mailing List is great.  I never knew there were so many
others interested in this subject.  Going through the digests has
yielded a number of names and recordings that are new to me-like finding
hidden treasure!  I'll be contacting a few list members directly with
some followup questions.

There's been some discussion on this list of Scott Robinson's CD featuring bass sax, contrabass sax and contrabass sarrusophone ("Thinking Big", Arbors Jazz 19179).  You can see it (and order it) at   I think it's great, but I'm biased-Scott's my brother!  I had the honor of doing the trumpet/cornet work on this date.  Scott doesn't have a computer, but a friend of his has set up a
web site for him, which includes photos of the two of us in the studio plus Scott with his contrabass sax:

I'll stop here for now.  I welcome any leads re obscure bass/contrabass
sax recordings, or unissued tapes.  Conversely, I'll try to answer any
questions on this topic, but please be patient with me as I can't always
get to my e-mail on a daily basis.


Dave R.

P.S.  I've never met Grant Green, but after combing through the digests
I must say we all owe him a big round of applause.  He is patient,
knowledgeable, personable, lucid - all the things a good list moderator
must be.  And it's obviously a lot of work.  Thanks Grant!!


End of list V1 #56

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