Vol. 5, No. 40

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Contrabass list Tue, 7 Apr 1998 Volume 1 : Number 40

In this issue:

Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 00:02:54 -0500
From: mdrubin@bga.com (M Rubin)
Subject: Bb Helicon FS??

I'm new here.
Anybody know where a fella can find a Bb Helicon?

Thanks kindly,
Mark Rubin
POB 49227
Austin TX USA 78765-9227
- Bad Livers
- Rubinchik's Orkestyr

Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 04:50:34 EDT
Subject: Re: Bb Helicon FS??

Try the company " Lark in the Morning " they have a website and also are helpful.


Date: Tue, 07 Apr 1998 15:12:02 -0500
From: "Jeffrey L. Shlosberg" <saxlaw@ibm.net>
Subject: Nuclear Whales concert at Mountain View

I just returned to Minnesota after a week in the San Francisco Bay area and noticed Grant's posting about the Nuclear Whales. Fortune smiled and we saw the ads for the concert in Mountain View. For those who have heard the music but never seen the group (like me), there is a lot more than meets the ears with this bunch of crazies.

The contrabass as played by Don Stevens is truly a sight (and sound) to behold. Even when it is not in use, it sits onstage in its custom stand like Poe's raven watching over the proceedings. When it is at work, it is an unmistakable presence - not overpowering, but rounding out the group's amazing sonorities. Don plays it either on its stand or (more often) with it strapped around his neck (or perhaps Don is strapped around the CB's neck?) frolicking and dancing about. He even limbos with it! While on the one hand, I loved hearing the contrabass, the downside is that when Don's playing it, Art will usually switch from bass to tenor, taking away the incredibly lyrical bass-bari combination that makes their sound so identifiable.

Much of the first half of the program was works from the new CD "Isotopia." This disc is a bit of a departure from their prior programming in that it is almost all original compositions done by Art Springs, the eccentric Bass Sax in the group. I would describe the style as a cross between jazz-latin, african and new age. Very listenable and well suited to the group's sound.

The second half of the program opened with "The Plutonium Plankton" - an ad hoc group of about twenty high school kids playing saxes with the Whales. They were marched on stage in the dark to the oompah of the contrabass, white gloves glowing in blacklight. As the lights came up, they segued into "Funeral March of the Marionettes" (the published quartet arrangement, I think) with the profile of Hitchcock projected on the backdrop. The other Plankton tune was a Brown Brothers "Oriental somethingorother". The kids did fine and the sound of twenty-some saxes on stage (and pretty much in tune) was unique. The remainder of the concert was filled with about eight of the early CDs' best tunes - "Burglars' Holiday" and "Casbah Shuffle" being among my favorites. Kristen Strom did a spectacular jazz turn on the alto in "Harlem Nocturne." "Stars and Stripes Forever" was the encore (piccolo obligato played by the sopranino and soprano in unison!).

I am happy to report that the group's energy level and musicianship is as high as ever. It was a great program.


Jeffrey L. Shlosberg            "It's NOT cut; it's NOT dried..." 
900 E. 79th Street Suite 301    -- Alan Arkin as Shel Kornpett, DDS 
Bloomington, MN  55420          -- "The In-Laws" - 1979 

End of list V1 #40

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