Vol. 1, No. 16

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| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
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Vol. 1, No. 16 10 July 1996

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pressed for time today, so I'm just going to dash this out. Forgot one of Francis's posts yesterday, we'll start with that.

From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>

Subject: Discography & Other Matters

Date: Tue, 09 Jul 96 09:00:00 BST


I've got most of the 'bibliographic' details on the CDs for the discography and I'll post them this afternoon if I have time. I'll add comments a bit at a time.

I thought that the organ at Altlantic City (listed in Guiness Book of Records as the biggest in the world) had a true 64 foot pipe.

You remember that I asked about some pieces by Braxton and Chick Corea for Sopranino? and piano wanting to know due to some liner note confusion whether it was sopranino or soprano, well here are the details of the pieces.

|___ JNK N508-10

4* (4G) * The asterisk should be a degree sign

Both are from 1971 and in Complete Braxton 1971 on the Arista label. Can you find out any more for me using this info.?

Any luck with the Hustis Horn recording on Crystal? If it's any help I could always send you Crystal's 'Phone and/or 'fax numbers. I eagerly await the Rascher CD.

Are you planning to buy a Contrabass ad Ancia? They are supposed to be really LOUD!

If you like the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust recorder Quartet they have a great new CD out - Pictured Air - which includes some LOW recorders. I haven't hear all of it yet but the first track sounds great.

Did you want a tape copy of the PATA Music CDs? They are pretty impressive.

Francis Firth



Haven't yet found the Hustis recording: still hunting around. I've located both copies of the Rascher, so I'll be ready to send one as soon as I find the Hustis.

I'll check through my old Braxton & Corea LPs to see if I can shed some light.

The reed contra sounds interesting, but I think I've exhausted my budget for the time being, probably for the rest of the year. Especially since my wife has decided its time to sell our house and find another. Not a particularly bad idea, given the housing market here at the moment, but not one of my favorite things to do.

Just realized I sent out the Digest without your post. Sorry about that! I got the discog., and overlooked the earlier post. Shall I put it into the next digest?

If the PATA is that good, I think I'll order a CD direct. Is the flute prominent (you know which one I mean)?

The Loeki sounds like a good one to look for. I'll keep an eye out.

Dashing back into a pile of work...


From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>

Subject: Re: Jazzophon, Discography & Other Matters

Date: Wed, 10 Jul 96 08:46:00 BST


Needless to say, I have heard of the Jazzophon. It features in a book I have that you would almost certainly find interesting and which I ordered direct from Verlag Erwin Bochinsky GmbH & Co. KG, D-60329, Frankfurt-am-Main, Muenchener Strasse 45, GERMANY.

Tel.: (0)69-239521

Fax: (0)69-233301

The book is:

DULLAT, Guenter: Fast vergessene Blasinstrumente aus zwei Jahrhunderten; Vom Albisiphon [an early very wide bore bass flute in C used in their later operas by Puccini and Mascagni] zur Zugtrompete [the English Instrument used in 19th century by Henry Bishop and others].

This book has a photograph or patent drawing on every right-hand page with details, bibliography, notes, etc. on each left hand page. It is arranged alphabetically like a dictionary. It includes things such as Contrabass ad Ancia, Sarrusophone, Jazzaphon, Heckelphone, Albisiphon.

I'll try to send you a scanned version of the Jazzophon page tomorrow if I remember and if that's not possible I'll send some details.

A couple of further details for the Discography:

Hamiet Bluiett: Sankofa/Rear Garde Soul Note 121238-2 (CD)
The tracks with contralto clarinet are: Daddy Banks/Grandaddy Song & Sunrise/Sunset (unacompanied).

The Paul Winter Sarrusophone-featuring CD is:
Paul Winter: Callings. - Living Music LD0001 (CD)
Paul Winter E Flat Contrabass Sarrusophone; Nancy Rumbel C Contrabass Sarrusophone
The track should read Blues' Cathedral not Blues Cathedral




Somehow, I knew you'd come through with the jazzophon. I would like to see the image, and hear more about it and the albisphon.

Thanks again,


From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>

Subject: Re: Discography & Other Matters

Date: Wed, 10 Jul 96 10:01:00 BST


Some more items:

Bass Horn in CC
Prunes/ Roger Bobo and Froydis Ree Wrekre. - Crystal C126 (Cassette - LP S126 deleted)

This includes: Roger Kellaway: Sonoro
Dance of the Ocean Breeze
These are both for Horn, Bass Horn and Piano.
The bass horn is clearly heard throughout.
According to famous horn player Hans Pizka the bass horn is more of a tuba in horn form (and Roger Bobo is a famous Tuba player) but on this recording it blends well with the horn and does sound hornlike.
Romantic style music and easy to listen to it shows off the instrument well.

Contralto Flute in G and Contrabass Clarinet in BB Flat
Music by Luigi Nono. - Dischi ricordi CRMCD 1003 (CD)
This includes: A Pierre dell'azzura silenzio, inquietum for Contralto Flute, Contrabass Flute and Electronuc the former 2 played by Roberto Fabbriciani and Ciro Scarpone.
This is typical Nono. Avant-garde and difficult to listen to, but also meditative and austere.
The instruments are almost totally transformed or overwhelmed by the electronics and so this is not a good recording to hear what the instruments sound like.

Bass Saxophone
Spencer Clark: Sweet & Hot. - Audiophile AP-131 (LP)
This is the one of only 2 Jazz recordings I know of dedicated to Bass Sax. The performer was a devotee of Adrian Rollini, the famous Dixieland Bass Saxophonist who played with Red Nicholls, Joe Venuti, Fred Elizalde and others.
This LP tends towards slower numbers and the Sax sound is mellow (almost like a tenor in some ways) and clear. Quite a nice LP.

Bill Laswell & Peter Broetzman: Low Life. - Jimco JICK 89060 (also on Celluloid) (CD)
On this Bill Laswell plays electric basses and Peter Broetzmann a Conn Bass Saxophone throughout.
The style is free jazz and the saound is very raw, loud, poweful and disturbing. The saxophone may be clearly heard but it is often overblown, uses growlings, shrieks, split notes so if you want to hear 'straight' bass sax this is not for you. On the whole though it's pretty strong stuff and recommended.

Peter Broetzman also palys some unaccompanied bass sax solos in the same style on his other albums. 2 of them on the Free Music production label (FMP) are No Nothing, & Nothing to Say.

Klas Torstenssen: Licks and Brains Triptych. - Composer's Voice CVCD 13 (CD)
This includes Solo for Bass Saxophone played by Leo van Oostrom.
The style is avant-garde with many breathing sounds, tongue slaps,key clicks, etc.
The composer says that it is supposed to sound a bit like someone picking up the instrument and learning how to play it to 'normal' sax sounds only emerge about half-way through the piece.

Iancu Dunitrescu: Astree Lointaine for Bass Sax & orchestra. - Edition Modern ED MN 1004 (CD)
played by Claude Delangle with the orchestre RTV de Roumanie directed by Jean Louis Vicards?
The bass sax is not always audible over the top of the orchestra. When it is it is almost continually playing multiphonics and altissimo register notes. An avant-garde piece this is quite interesting and shows off the new techniques well but is not a 'typical' bass saxophone sound.

Francis Firth


Sarrusophone update: I went back to the repair shop with a bundle of reeds on Monday. As I suspected, the bass sordune reeds work just fine on the Bb bass sarrusophone. They also seem to fit the BBb contra, although its hard to tell if they'll really work until the keywork is done (too leaky to check the low register). The tenor sordune reed also fits the Bb bass bocal. There's a distinct difference in the sound of the Bb bass, depending on the reed (or mouthpiece). The larger reed definitely plays easier, while the smaller reed sounds more bassoonlike. The single reed mpc makes the horn sound much more sax-like.

Some day I'll put sound clips on the web page, and you'll see what I mean.

-Ran across another CD with sarrusophone. At least, it says it has sarrusophone on it. The CD is "Invisible Men" by Anthony Phillips, and track 10 ("Guru") has a credit for "R. Bernascone: Sarrusaphone". However, the track is full of saxophones and synthesizers, so its difficult to figure out where the sarrusophone is, or even which variety is used.

I think that it doubles the electric bass in the opening 8-bar riff, which repeats here and there throughout the song. On headphones, it seems just perceptible as a difference in bass timbre. The CD is BP211CD on Virgin (1984, rereleased 1990), if anyone is interested.

-Also ran across mention of sarrusophones in a composition by Holbrooke, "Apollo and the Seamen", which apparently calls for alto and EEb contra sarrusophones (along with a few other less-common instruments). Has anyone heard this piece? Is it an opera?


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