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Howard Johnson and Gravity: Testimony

Read "Testimony" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Howard Johnson really should need no introduction. He's played with many of the greats including Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, Hank Crawford, Jack De Johnette and Gil Evans (his solo on “Voodoo Child" was a highlight of Evans's Jimi Hendrix tribute album). He also appeared on Carla Bley's seminal 1971 album Escalator Over The Hill. Throughout his career, Johnson has been a trailblazer in the acceptance of the tuba in modern jazz, not merely as an oompah substitute for the bass ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Howard Johnson and Gravity: Testimony

Read "Testimony" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Those who see the tuba as a sluggish, unwieldy instrument capable only of rounding out a musical composition in the lower register may have to rethink that appraisal after listening to Testimony, in which multi-instrumentalist and tuba master Howard Johnson ushers no less than half a dozen tubas and rhythm through their paces in a session that is anything but lethargic. True, the tonal range is more in the basement than the attic, but Johnson and his ...

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Howard Johnson & Gravity: Right Now!

Read "Right Now!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Howard Johnson's six-tuba jazz ensemble Gravity provides a pleasant harmony for each of the arrangements he's included in this new release, and yet they supply varied excitement and expression as well. Backed by a rhythm section of pianist Ray Chew, bassist James Cammack and drummer Kenwood Dennard, the tuba choir draws together with simple charm and alternates their ensemble work with outside stretches from the spirited soloists. Lending distinct tuba voices to the session are Johnson, Dave Bargeron, Joe Daley, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Howard Johnson's Gravity: Gravity!!!

Read "Gravity!!!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Howard Johnson started his first tuba ensemble in New York City in 1968, named it Gravity a few years later, and recently released this, Gravity's first recording. Why the long delay? Because the tuba has its place in music: the rhythm, the pulse, the bottom harmony. But in the hands of 55-year-old Johnson and his five tuba-mates, plus rhythm section, the instrument becomes a melody-maker; with the easily-recognized themes of “Round Midnight," “Stolen Moments," and “Yesterdays," as well as other ...


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