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I saw and heard my first contrabass clarinet yesterday. One of the clarinet players in the concert band that I play in picked it up and decided to play it with us. I didn't know such a thing existed. All silver (color, I don't know the finish material), looked and sounded very cool. It was huge. He had to sit on a high stool to play it. I am pretty sure he played bass clarinet part, but don't hold me to that. That must be the oddest piece in our 70+ piece band. Very cool.

Ric
 

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I'd love to play one of those contraptions. I don't know if it's the cylindrical bore but they sound so dignified when compared to the big saxes in the same tonal range.
 

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i saw one featured in a big band scenario once. to be quite frank, i thought it was ridiculous and completely out of place.

that isnt to say that in a classical or concert band setting it wouldnt fit in but rather that it would fit in rather beautifully there. ive heard jazz done well on many instruments, but contrabass clarinet is NOT one of them.
 

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i saw one featured in a big band scenario once. to be quite frank, i thought it was ridiculous and completely out of place.

that isnt to say that in a classical or concert band setting it wouldnt fit in but rather that it would fit in rather beautifully there. ive heard jazz done well on many instruments, but contrabass clarinet is NOT one of them.
Perhaps you should get out more, then. Some very prominent jazz writers used the instrument rather effectively.
 

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We had one in high school band that helped support the low brass in "wind ensemble" arranged pieces. (Holst)(Vaughan Williams)
 

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Some of the best jazz I've ever heard was being played by a very old man on a bass clarinet.
No reason the same couldn't be done on the contra!
It's not the horn, it's the attitude...
 

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To be quite honest for a long time I always thought contra's (and bass clarinets for that matter) were out of place in jazz band. But now that I listen to more recordings and see more gigs, it's out there. And it actually sounds pretty good. I actually like jazz contra, when it's played well.

This video was made by a member on the forum here, and it's very nice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZh6efi7dvU
 

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The only contra player I personally know spends about 25% of his rehearsal time trying to get the keys back in adjustment.
 

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He must bang it around too much or needs a new case. Mine didn't have that problem back when I played it.
 

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In fairness to the Bbb jazz players (such as Anthony Braxton), a lot of the dislike may be caused by the quality of the initial recording and/or the quality of the speakers on playback. An alto sax can come across okay on a cell phone recoding played back on a cell phone. Not true with a contra. You've got to listen live before you can make a judgment.

I also suspect that playing jazz on a contra is a bit like riding a jet ski (or PWC, which I think stands for Personal ****** Craft). Really fun to use but not that fun if you are forced to watch or listen.

Mark
 

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I saw and heard my first contrabass clarinet yesterday. One of the clarinet players in the concert band that I play in picked it up and decided to play it with us. I didn't know such a thing existed. All silver (color, I don't know the finish material), looked and sounded very cool. It was huge. He had to sit on a high stool to play it. I am pretty sure he played bass clarinet part, but don't hold me to that. That must be the oddest piece in our 70+ piece band. Very cool.

Ric
That is very cool indeed! There are times when I will while away an idle moment thinking about joining the deep clarinet crew. The sound is just awesome in a way almost distinct of the higher clarinets.
 
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