People often say they don't know what to expect from a bass and bassoon duo - well, think melodic and groovy music. OoN with its unlikely combination of bass and bassoon (and nothing else!) creates beautiful melodic Chamber Jazz. Sometimes peaceful and meditative, at other times passionate, raging or groovy, the musical bandwidth these two instrumentalists cover on their respective 'tools' is surprising. Utilizing virtuous and unusual playing techniques as well as effects and harmonizers the musicians put the song first and musicality front and center.
When Paul Hanson and Ariane Cap met they found they had a lot in common: both had just returned from tours from outside the country and found themselves in new and unexpected life situations. They got together initially to 'just jam' but were immediately struck by the compatibility of their instruments as well as their similar approaches to playing. Both fans of unusual playing techniques and the use of effects they were both at home taking on various responsibilities of playing, be it accompanying, grooving, soloing or playing melodies. More than anything, however, they found kinship in loving a wide variety of styles of music, from Classical to Jazz, to Rock, Pop, Funk, and Fusion, and for being most concerned with beautiful melodies and accessible and moving grooves.
On Polaris the two do many of their own compositions, but also a Beatles cover and their favorite Jazz standard. They even go on some Jimi Hendrix infused adventures. A fresh and exciting sound that will delight, entertain and uplift you, make sure to expect the unexpected.
“People may be scared when they look at the combination and expect something atonal and avant-garde and out there, but we play melodies that sound like songs,” said Paul Hanson, world-renowned jazz bassoonist, saxophonist and Bay Area native.
OoN is Hanson and bassist Ariane Cap, an Austrian music educator, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Each has an impressive and diverse vitae; Cap has covered styles ranging from jazz, folk and flamenco to Celtic, African and punk while Hanson’s collaborations include Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jonas Hellborg, St. Joseph Ballet and rocker Eddie Money. Both have performed with Cirque Du Soleil.
“Both Paul and I are influenced by a lot of different styles of music,” Cap said. “When we write tunes it comes all together in a big melting pot. But what’s extremely important to us is groove and melody.”
“Half the fun is making that sound full with just two of us. We’re aural illusionists, I guess,” said Hanson, who described the band’s sound as melodic chamber rock. “There are a lot of technical musicians out there who try to show off. We’re trying to use some of those techniques but not try to show off.”
Hanson steps outside traditional bassoon boundaries with extensive improvisation, the bending of notes, and the use of amplification, effects processors and looping. Cap’s specialty is playing her six-string bass like a piano, using both hands to independently tap out notes on the fingerboard.
“I think the technique comes easy to me because I’m a piano player, and the way of approaching the tapping technique reminds me very much of the piano style,” Cap said. “When I got together with Paul it was just this compatibility of sound that was incredibly interesting to us.”
“She’s doing like three or four parts at once,” enthused Hanson, whose arrangements for piano or multiple instruments are often adapted by Cap. “I wrote a bass part, a keyboard part and a guitar part and she’s doing them all. I just take it for granted that she’s going to learn to play it, and she always does!”
“Most important to us is the music, though, and not the techniques,” Cap emphasized. “But since we bring unconventional tools to this band, the sound is fresh and new. It is also fun to watch!”
San Francisco Informer, June 2013, Keith Johnson