Playlist \\ Theon Cross selects 7 tuba players we need to know

18th June 2019
Theon Cross selects seven tracks that put the tuba first.

Theon Cross is having a huge year. Having released his ear-catching debut album ‘Fyah’ and touring the world with Sons of Kemet, he’s re-introduced the tuba to the forefront of Jazz. There’s a selection of tuba players and tracks that have inspired him which we’re excited to check out, from Wisconsin group Youngblood Brass Band to a player that has leant Theon some guidance, Oren Marshall

Ahead of Theon Cross’ appearance at Love Supreme Jazz Festival this July, he picks seven tracks for us, showcasing some of his favourite tuba players. 


1 \\ Jon Sass – City walker
I remember my tuba teacher introducing this track to me when I was a teenager. I loved it then and still do now. Jon literally makes all the sounds that you can hear on the track using his tuba, which I have always found incredible and it opened up my eyes to the different sounds the instrument can make.

2 \\ Youngblood Brass Band – The Warrior Comes Out to Play
This is played by Nat Macintosh of the Youngblood Brass Band. In my opinion it’s one of the baddest tuba solos out there. He has incredible use of Multiphonics (singing while playing) and amazing tounging technique.

3 \\ Howard Johnson and Gravity – Stolen Moments
This ensemble is lead by the legendary Howard Johnson and features a range of phenomenal tubists. This track shows the beautiful tone that can be made from a band of tuba players and also features some incredible solos.

4 \\ My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now – Dirty Dozen Brass Band
I was introduced to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band when I was a teenager and have always loved them, especially the sousaphone playing of Kirk Joseph. The groove on this track in particular was something I loved playing along to.

5  \\ Bob Stewart – Sometime I feel like a motherless child
Incredible and groovy arrangement of ‘Sometime I Feel Like A Motherless Child’ by the legendary tubist Bob Stewart. His technique has been a big inspiration to me.

6 \\ Oren Marshall – Rockin’ Rhythm
I had the pleasure of being taught by Oren Marshall whilst I was studying at the Guildhall and he has been a constant source of inspiration to me and is a true innovator of the tuba. Here is a clip of him playing the ‘Rockin’ Rhythm’ by Duke Ellington.

7 \\ Youngblood Brass Band – Brooklyn
Hearing this track for the first time changed my perception of what the tuba could do. The whole arrangement is incredible, but the tuba solo is iconic and features sounds that you would never expect to hear coming out of a brass instrument like dj scratching and beat boxing. This track made me see new possibilities of sounds that could be created on the tuba.

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