LINE SERIES - Improvisation

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Yesca One


Travis Baker, bass

Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon


This recording is the culmination of a two year process of experimenting with instrumental possibilities stemming from a mutual love of extended technique, microtonal music and a willingness and desire to explore the many facets of the human psyche through sound.  The depth and richness of the unique combination of Bassoon and Doublebass, two instruments typically known as support instruments lends credence to this duo’s commitment to the expansion of the vocabulary and voices of their respective instruments.


Recorded and mixed at Blue Wave Studios by Shawn Pierce.  Produced by Travis Baker.




What the critics are saying:


"Both Travis Baker and Sara Schoenbeck are virtuosi on their instruments, and their coupling, which may seem odd at first, makes perfect sense.  The bassoon and bass roughly share the same range, with strikingly different timbre.  I'd guess from Schoenbeck's clear tone, crisp articulation, and fine sense of rhythm that she comes from a classical background.  Her improvisational skills are finely honed too, as she listens carefully, producing well developed lines.  Occasionally she explodes, but she is most comfortable with short runs and logical phrasing.  Baker, on the other hand, is more carefree in his approach, more likely to let loose, to experiment, to scratch beneath the surface.  Together they are an impressive pair, complementing one another and interacting precisely, although the bassoon is the dominant voice. ... The results are more than a curio; they are something of value."


—Steve Loewy, Cadence


Yesca One features an unusual pairing: bassoon and acoustic bass. Though the expressive possibilities of the bassoon are often overlooked, this is certainly no novelty act - bassoonist Schoenbeck plays with great ferocity and technique. She combines classical technique and the ability to exploit the sonic range of the instrument with the ability to improvise well, conjuring up smeared textures to resemble trumpet, any variety of saxes, and, amazingly, Baker's bass passages in several sections. But the precision in Schoenbeck's playing is matched by Baker's authoritative bass playing, whether playing arco or relentlessly plucking and bending the strings (check the title track), he never lays back. It's a tall order to make comparisons to William Parker, but Baker does have that kind of attack. He seems to be playing a more dominant role in some improvised passages, but when they settle into melodic passages, the instruments' sounds are incredibly cohesive. Each of these pieces is fairly short and packed with ideas and different approaches to the duet dynamic



—David Dacks, Exclaim