Posted by Ben Massin on October 01, 1999 at 21:02:38:
In Reply to: Other Tuba players posted by Chuck Jackson on October 01, 1999 at 15:26:40:
When everybody gets together to talk about the "unsung" tuba players that have been, the New York City guys somehow always get left off the list. How many people today have even heard of great players of the past, such as Fred Geib, who was in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 30's and 40's, or his student, Herb Wekselblatt, who recently retired from the Met Opera Orchestra after 50 years? Or What about Joe Novotney, who was the tubist in the New York Philharmonic after Bill Bell and just before Warren Deck? How many people would know today who August Helleberg or his sons, John and August Jr. were, if not for the mouthpiece? Then we get to the great tradition of the New York Freelancers, such as the great Don Butterfield in the 40's, 50's 60's 70's AND 80's? What about Toby Hanks, who has been the tubist with the New York City Ballet for the past 30 years, as well as having been in the New York Brass Quintet and the New York Tuba Quartet, not to mention countless recordings? We then get to the great tubists of today....Marcus Rojas, who is the tubist playing the famous tuba background music in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle"......Kyle Turner, of the Saturday Brass Quintet......Ray Stewart, formerly of the Meridian Arts Ensemble.........Steve Johns, New York City Opera........Nobody ever touches on the great jazz & pop players, like Howard Johnson, who's CD Gravity was a monument in the tuba jazz literature.......or Dave Bargeron, who's death defying tuba solo on the tune "And When I Die" from the Blood, Sweat, and Tears album Live and Improvised ranks among some of the best improvisation ever recorded(sorry, Matt....)......or Tony Price, who has recorded several great records, and was in the New York Tuba Quartet.......Ladies and Gentleman of the tuba world, you want to hear some fantastic tuba playing, you should look to the New York scene. There's a reson these players, as well as others not mentioned here, made it in the toughest place to make it....they weren't and aren't just tuba players, they are musicians who just happen to play the tuba. This is not to say that there aren't other great unsung tubists in the country......I have had the great fortune and privelage to musically "grow up" in NYC, and to experience first hand the incredible musicianship of the tubists here, and to hear the wonderful stories of tubists' past.......I urge and encourage all of you out there to take lessons with the Don Butterfields and the Toby Hanks'......they are the last of an era, and we all have a lesson to learn about being a musician from these legends. Just my 10 cents. Hope it was worth it.....