Jason Stein is a bass clarinetist. He plays no other instrument. This gives him the opportunity to focus his skills, and with great success.
Jason Stein is a musician. He records to make music, not to demonstrate his technical skills.
Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore - Three Less Than Between (Clean Feed, 2009)****
The Calcululs Of Loss", this is the second release by the trio, now with Jason Roebke on bass, and still with Mike Pride on drums. The album consists of eleven compositions by Stein, covering lots of ground, using the entire jazz catalogue to bring his music, that is free and exploratory in nature, yet swings, bops and sings at the same time.The switch of cello to bass gives the compositions a totally different color, with the bass a better complement to the bass clarinet because of their low sound companionship, and a better complement for the drums because of their comparative power and drive. Despite the lower sound registers, Stein is a master in seeking contrast too. He can play high sensitive notes, whether in overtones or straight, as he does on "Stevenesque", the second track, which is very airy and open-textured, as is the sensitive "Most Likely Illiterate". Other pieces, in contrast, such as "Izn't Your Paper Clip" bring quite dense, nervous agitation, propulsed forward by the excellent rhythm section. "Saved By A Straw", and the title track, are pure avant-garde sound exploration by the trio. But then you get some real boppish pieces like "Protection And Provocation", or "Amy Music" (see clip below), on which the legacy of Dolphy shines through. You get the picture, a rich, varied, warm and exploratory album.
Listen and download from eMusic.
Jason Stein - In Exchange For A Process (Leo, 2009) ****
Listen to an extract.
Here are some other solo bass clarinet albums
Rudi Mahall - Solo (Psi, 2006)
Louis Sclavis - Clarinettes (IDA, 1985)
And some with not exclusively bass clarinet
Evan Ziporyn - This Is Not A Clarinet (Cantaloupe, 2001)
Ned Rothenberg - The Lumina Recordings (Tzadik, 2006)
Other suggestions are welcome!
Which album would I recommend? Truth be told, I love the naked power and vulnerability of the solo album. The trio album is surely more accessible. Both are really good.
Watch Locksmith Isidore on Youtube
Both albums are available from Instantjazz.