Reviews

Reviews

"..Over the past decade, Hanson has brought the double reed instrument into areas where it's seldom, if ever, gone before, combining a commanding improvisational sensibility with funk, classical and world music influences.
Playing without electronic devices, Hanson produces a sound so full, lithe and flexible that it's easy to forget the mind-boggling intricacies of the instrument that's producing it. When he alters his sound electronically, the bassoon can take on eeire, jaggedly distorted or ethereal timbres. It's hard to overstate just how unlikely a quest Hanson has undertaken in transforming the bassoon from a symphony orchestra instrument into a viable workhorse for extended solos."
-Andrew Gilbert, DOWNBEAT Magazine
"Not too often, musicians come along and invent their own instrument. More marvelous it is when someone takes an instrument you thought you knew, and tilts it just so - dazzling us with new reflections. Those folks are rare: Django Reinhardt, Lester Young, Bobby McFerrin, Edgar Meyer, Paul Hanson. All the adjectives are true, Paul plays at the very highest level surpassing most anyone's conception and ability on one of the most unforgiving instruments - ever. Think of playing Pagannini on the ocarina-or winning the Kentucky Derby on a camel."
-Darol Anger, violinist, co-founder of the Turtle Island String Quartet

"The incredible bassoonist Paul Hanson..blew the entire audience away. The bassoon isn't supposed to be able to be played so fast but Hanson did it, digging deep into the changes, combining awesome technique and precise articulation with hot fire."
- Glen Dour, California JAZZ NOW magazine

"Hanson's solos were strikingly agile; when 'unplugged', they brought to mind the boppish grace of Gerry Mulligan's baritone sax style, and when switched to 'plugged mode' ... (he) cut through the grooves with the power of a heavy metal guitar pyrotechnician."
- Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express

"Paul Hanson is an exciting and brilliant soloist - a distinctly original talent..."
- Phillip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner

"Hanson is an especially facile, fire-breathing improviser on the bassoon, an instrument rarely, if ever, associated with jazz. His snake-charming lines set a distinctly Middle Eastern tone on the opening hip-hop flavored “Dirvish” while his use of electrified wah-wah effects lend a provocative edge to the odd-metered, Herbie Hancock-inspired “Blue Zardog” and open-ended blowout “Six Degrees.”.... heroic soloing ....deserving of wider recognition." 
-Bill Milkowski-Senior Writer, Abstractlogix.com
(Comments published in review of Jeff Sipe's TIMELESS album.)

(Paul) seemed intent on showing that he could do it all: an unaccompanied bassoon break that was a cross between Monk and Stravinsky.."
- Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle

...Hanson's music talks passionately about who he is, who we are, and why we're here. He infuses some of his compositions with Eastern European melodies whose beauty and intricacies boggle the mind. Hanson's facility and imagination on the bassoon are unparalleled."
- JAZZ IN FLIGHT, Oakland CA

"Expertly wielded by Paul Hanson...the bassoon may not be the most widely used instrument for fusion leads, but it sure works. The distinct character of the instrument brings a reedier, more earthy, live- and-up-close quality... Hanson handles its many colors with dexterity..."
Astro Boy Blues was noted in the Jazz Times (8/97, p.69)
.."I have been a professional saxophonist for 15 years and I guess I know a little about what he's doing in terms of dexterity. Easily for all to be seen on this album where he plays one number on the tenor. But he simply transcends technique to a point where you no longer have in mind that it's a BASSOON he's playing. 
Of course I love his sound on bassoon. His speechlike cadenzas, his yearning upper register cries. But most of all I'm drawn to what he has to say. There is such a complexity and density of emotions like in "We'll be Together Again" on his "Voodoo Suite" that I just can't turn away from it. 
I have to admit I stumbled on his recordings in search of something a little odd. Something that proved the bassoon isn't capable of being played as jazz instrument. Heard some old recordings before by Illinois Jacquet playing the bassoon that impressed me somewhat less. But having heard the first piece of his "Voodoo" Album (Woods of Red) instantly made me ask myself why I had missed out on this superb music for so long. 
As you may have noticed, this is not only a review of "Frolic". This is for all who read this to check out Hansons music. It would be hard to bear if a musician of his stature should go unnoticed..."
Michael Blue, reviewer for Amazon.com