Re: Close Encounters: Tuba Aliens ???

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Posted by Jim Horne on December 23, 1998 at 23:02:29:

In Reply to: Close Encounters: Tuba Aliens ??? posted by Fred Haney on December 23, 1998 at 14:37:43:

The soundtrack to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was played by Jim Self. He has played all the John Williams soundtracks except for the few recorded by either the Boston Symphony (Chester Schmitz, tuba) like "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" (I suggest that every tuba player buy this CD, Chester is amazing- some of the most solid playing ever recorded) or the London Symphony (either John Fletcher(Star Wars 1) or Patrick Harrild (SW 2 & 3).
John Williams prefers to use Jim Self over Tommy Johnson in the LA recordings for reasons that have long been disputed and rumored. The fact is he prefers Jim Self's SOUND, which is different than Tommy's, though I will refrain from even attempting to suggest that either man is any better than the other. Danny Elfman prefers Tommy's SOUND. Both are incredible men and musicians. "Close Encounters" is listed in Jim's bio on his website (listed below). Tommy's bio is on the USC website at (go to music dept. faculty).
Other players have graced the studios and movie soundtracks thoughout the years. Roger Bobo did some recording when he was with the LA Phil, now the current player there, Norm Pearson does some. When Gene Porkony of the CSO played in the LA Phil in '92 -'93, he played in a great number of soundtracks, including "Jurassic Park" and most incredibly, along side Tommy Johnson for the Elfman soundtack to "Nightmare Before Christmas" in which Gene plays tuba, and Tommy plays cimbasso. In the track entitled "Jack and Sally Suite", they play a motif on unison pedal D's! A must listen. Floyd Cooley and Craig Knox both played on Elfman's "Mars Attacks" score, as Cooley does most of the recordings at Skywalker Ranch in Marin county (south of SF).
While much is to be learned about MUSIC from many hours spent listening to Mahler and Bruckner (especially the recent NY Phil recordings with Masur or 80's cuts with Bernstein), there is some very good tuba playing on some select movie soundtracks. Some movies are filled with numerous tuba solos (as in the 20+ solos in Home Alone 2), and others with solid orchestral playing (ie- Saving Private Ryan). Good bets are always scores by John Williams or Danny Elfman. A reminder though- always try to fing the original studio cuts, they're almost always far superior to remakes by orchestras such as the Prague Philharmonic.

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