In this video, Paul Hanson breaks down three very easy to use minor pentatonic scales that sound great over a minor (dorian) mode. Minor pentatonics are built by the using scale degrees 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. The pentatonic scales that he uses are built from the 1, 2, and 5. So in the key of G minor those scales are G minor pentatonic, A minor pentatonic, and D minor pentatonic. As you can hear, the different pentatonic scales sound different when played over the G minor, but they all work rather well as all the notes sit naturally inside the G dorian mode.
In doing research for my interview with Paul Hanson, I came across his old website, jazzbassoon.com. Though he now has a new website (paulhansonmusic.com), I found some of that content very informative, and worth a reposting. So please enjoy the following musings from Paul. And as an added treat, a live recording of Paul playing Wayne Shorter's Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum in a duo with guitarist Steve Erquiaga.
Paul Hanson on Bassoon Technique:
I believe in a good classical foundation for the bassoon. Without being overly obvious-if a bassoon student does not have certain traditional skills on the instrument that student will have too hard a time taking on the difficulty of jazz and other improvised music forms. The important point is that without studying long tones, etudes, excerpts and the like the bassoonist won't have the experience with the instrument necessary to tackle improvisation.
“What the amazing Paul Hanson does on bassoon -- an exceedingly difficult instrument to play and one almost exclusively associated with classical music -- is akin to what other innovators like guitarists Charlie Hunter and Stanley Jordan, banjoist Bela Fleck and bassist Jaco Pastorius have done with their respective instruments.”
- Bill Milkowski, Jazztimes, Jazziz
When I toured Japan with Blast II: MIX in 2008, I had the privilage of meeting jazz bassoonist Paul Hanson. Our cast was invited to see a preview of a new Cirque Du Soleil show at Tokyo Disnyland called ZED. Baton twirler extrodinare Seishi Inagaki was a MIX cast member in 2006 and was now performing in ZED. Through this connection we not only were invited to watch the show, but also got to hang with the cast after as well. It was at this hang where I met Paul. In the show, he's a cast member, part of a large group of extremely talented performer, so it wasn't until later until I learned what he could really do on bassoon.