[Dixielandjazz] The Tuba Army

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 5 19:04:40 PDT 2006

Maybe tuba jokes will replace banjo jokes?


A Tuba Army Ushers In the Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial

NY TIMES - By JON PARELES - June 6, 2006

There were plenty of tubas but no oompah in Anthony Braxton's "Composition
No. 19 for 100 Tubas," the biggest spectacle at this year's Bang on a Can
Marathon of new music on Sunday at the World Financial Center. Carrying a
drum major's baton, Mr. Braxton mustered his "100Tubatet" ‹ playing tubas,
sousaphones, Wagner tubas and double-belled euphoniums ‹ on the center's
plaza. It played glacially slow, sustained melodies, creating a low growl
that was uncannily similar to the tone of airplanes and helicopters flying
overhead. So close to ground zero, the sound was unmistakably ominous.

Over the next hour Mr. Braxton and three other conductors led groups of
tubas to parts of the plaza, following an inscrutable choreography.
Sometimes two groups would be near each other, but there was no way to hear
the entire ensemble. The slow melodies continued; every so often, one of the
groups would huff a few sharply accented notes or make jokey noises. Yet
over all, the piece was somber: an arbitrary ceremony, luxuriating in tuba
tone, somewhere between elegy and exorcism.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list