Not too often, musicians come along and invent their own instrument. Maybe they literally bolt together an entirely new vehicle, or carve a new shape to play on. More marvelous is when someone takes an instrument you thought you knew and tilts it just so, to an angle nobody ever saw before, dazzling us with new reflections. Those folks are rare: Django Reinhardt, Lester Young, Bobby McFerrin, Edgar Meyer, Paul Hanson.
Now, Paul's been just about the worst-kept Big Secret of the jazz world for the last five years. He's everyone's favorite "Man, you have got to hear this bassoonist on the west coast! He plays just like (your favorite jazz saxophonist)!" story. All the adjectives are true, Paul plays physically impossible stuff on perhaps the weirdest instrument of the Weird Jazz Instrument Club. Playing at the very highest level. Surpassing most sax players, or anyone's, conception on one of the most unforgiving instruments ever. Think of playing Paganini on the ocarina, or winning the Kentucky Derby on a camel.
But it's time that story got to the next phase. The beauty here is that you don't think of that stuff at all when you hear Paul. It's just a gorgoeus stream of rosewood-colored sound you never heard before, lit from within, going places you didn't know you wanted to go. Like all great music, and like no other. The guy is playing and writing great music, lucky you being here for it.
- Darol Anger, Oakland 6/2000
(From CD booklet)