This Thursday, bass clarinetist Jasper Dutz will debut his new project, “Barely A Dude,” at The Jazz Gallery. Featuring an idiosyncratic instrumentation of three trombones, piano, vibraphone, and drums alongside the leader’s bass clarinet, “Barely A Dude” is a deeply personal work for Dutz. On his blog, Dutz talks about feeling caught between false binaries:
Th[e] idea of “Caught in between the two” seems to be the theme of my identity in general. As a biracial child I was always considered “So Asian” by my american friends and “So American” by my asian friends never really caring to find an answer yet feeling like I needed to. This is one of the main reasons I identify so strongly with the bass clarinet. It’s different than a saxophone, yet people outside the classical world generally don’t think of it as a clarinet either.
This also goes hand in hand with my gender identity. I’m biologically male, use he/him/his pronouns enjoy action movies and videogames, but for the most part always lean femme. I prefer being me; a bass clarinetist who’s “Barely a Dude” surrounded by people who see me as my own person without the labels of asian, male, female, saxophonist or otherwise.
The repertoire for “Barely A Dude” cuts through typical musical binaries as well. The group splits up into modular duos, trios, and trombone choirs, playing everything from Disney songs to K-Pop to open improvisations. As Dutz writes:
This performance will reflect all the facets of myself I wish to share with loved ones, friends (present and future), and the rest of the world full of other people like me that are always navigating binaries. It showcases music that speaks to my girliest tastes and fulfills my needs as a dude.
Jasper Dutz presents “Barely A Dude” at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The group features Mr. Dutz on bass clarinet, Hayoung Lyou on piano, Michael Wong, Nana Sakamoto, Kalia Vandever on trombone; Jake Chapman on vibraphone; and Lesley Mok plus special guest Chris Garriga on drums. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. $15 general admission (FREE for members), $20 reserved cabaret seating ($10 for members) for each set. Purchase tickets here.