Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Oil City Native, There Are Never Too Many Tubas

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Oil City Native, There Are Never Too Many Tubas

Article excerpt

OIL CITY, Pa. -- What do you get if you put 12 tuba-toting, holiday-loving musicians together in one room?

Jim Self, an Oil City High School graduate known as a one of the world's premier tubists, compiled that scene, called it 'Tis the Season Tuba Jolly, then created it as a jazzy Christmas CD.

In a blurb announcing the new CD, Mr. Self writes that one of his "favorite sounds is a men's choir -- its rich overtones convey a lot of beauty and emotion." The instrumental equivalent to the male vocal is a tuba, he said.

Mr. Self, principal tubist with several professional organizations, including the Pasadena Symphony and the Los Angeles Opera, is an adjunct professor of tuba and chamber music in Los Angeles. As a freelance musician, he is a published composer and arranger with 35 titles to his credit.

Since 1974 he has played music for more than 1,500 movies as well as hundreds of recordings and television shows and been a featured soloist on many of them, including the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," where his tuba was the voice of the mothership.

Tapping into his musical cohorts, Mr. Self recently assembled a band of a dozen tuba players -- an ensemble described as "the Hollywood Tuba 12" -- in Los Angeles to play Christmas songs.

Their rendition, mixed in with notes from a few other orchestra performers, produced the holiday tuba CD that offers "Christmas music you can feel," said Mr. Self.

It features 12-part arrangements of 20 favorite holiday songs, all done on what Mr. Self describes as "Santa's favorite instrument - - the tuba."

"Listening to this recording will put you in the holiday spirit and will be good for your nerves, winter colds and hangovers -- kind of like a massage," said the horn-player who served as performer, producer and conductor.

The tuba tunes include the holiday standards like "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" as well as several variations such as "Joy TUBA World" and the signature piece "'Tis the Season TUBA Jolly. …

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