Review: "If you enjoyed the tom-foolery and the fun and games of the previous Bassoon Brothers CDs...then you will be thrilled with the latest and craziest edition...this has to be my favorite. The combination of crazy and the sublime is, to me, a perfect personification of the crazy and sublime world of the bassoonist." Ron Klimko, International Double Reed Society, Bassoon Recording Reviews, Vol. 31 No. 2.
The Bassoon Brothers have been stirring up trouble since they began performing together in 1985. They have stolen material from string quartets, operas, symphonies and popular music, calling it their own with the unmistakable Bassoon Brothers stamp. Their first CD recording, Wanted for Low Down Playing and Bass Behavior on Crystal Records showed many of their musical crimes. They commissioned another known associate musical felon, a fellow bassoonist, Peter Schickele a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach, for some hot goods and more rip-offs. The Bros’s CDs have been the number one selling recordings of all solo or group bassoon recordings on Amazon.com. The irreverence they demonstrate and their theft of musical material continued with the release of their 2002 recoding entitled Captured. Their newest recording Escaped keeps up the pace on their indie label.
Due to the serious nature of their crimes, the Bassoon Brothers have spent some time in prisons in Oregon and California. Performing in prisons has become a passion for the group. They have shadowed the Oregon Symphony on northwest tours for years performing their purloined material in schools, and retirement centers and community outreach programs. The Bassoon Brothers pioneered the Symphony’s Bridgeport Brew Pub Chamber Music on Tap with every performance a sell out. The unusual criminal nature of the group caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal where their photo appeared with an article about the bassoons and brew connection, as did another article in the Seattle Times. HBO’s Dennis Miller Show featured a photo of them with the comment that they were the finalists in the Fifth Annual Amsterdam Bong Hit Festival. The same photo was a clue on ABC’s Jeopardy show. Answer: “What is a bassoon?”
What the bassoon does not have is respect. That’s why the Bassoon Brothers call it the Rodney Dangerfield instrument. Their mission is, first, for the public to quit calling it an oboe and, second, a call for more people to take the instrument seriously. They consider the bassoon to be an endangered instrument for lack of players. In the right hands, the “clown of the orchestra” is capable of great versatility and beauty as well as its role as a “belching bedpost”. In some reviews the Bros have been called role models for younger players, having given them material to enjoy the bassoon just for the fun of it. Through this approach they hope to attract more players to the instrument, which is their ultimate mission. As for getting respect, Vivaldi wrote thirty-seven concertos for the bassoon, more than any other instrument except the violin. Unfortunately, it’s been down hill ever since as a solo instrument.
The composer Michael Daugherty, known for his strange and off beat compositions has featured the bassoon in an early composition entitled Dead Elvis, calling for the bassoonist to dress as an Elvis impersonator. When Michael Daugherty began composing his biker bassoonist bash--Hells Angels for Bassoon Quartet and Orchestra, where did he draw some of his inspiration? From a Bassoon Brothers CD, of course. He wanted to see what we were doing, especially the jazzy capabilities of the instrument. The Bassoon Brothers performed Hells Angels in biker gear in May 2002 recorded Hells Angels for DELOS on the American Contrasts CD. The Oregon Symphony is the back up band.
The Bassoon Brothers are also affiliated with the bassoon section of the Oregon Symphony. Mark ( head de ranger) Eubanks, his side kick Baker City Bob (de Viper) Naglee, Evan (de kid) Kuhlmann and the de Bro's sole sister Bonnie Cox.
The Bassoon Brothers can be see on You Tube and have their own website www.bassoonbrothers.com to help promote the instrument and educate bassoonists through their entertaining tidbits about the ‘oondom and their popular advice column which receives questions worldwide from bassoonists, their parents, and band directors.