Category Archives: Jazz Tubists

An exploration of who is playing jazz on the tuba

An Evening with NOJO

NOJO You Are Here
NOJO You Are Here


Last evening, (Dec 1, 2014) I had the great pleasure of performing with the Neufeld Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra at The Rex Hotel and Jazz Bar in Toronto. NOJO is a 16 piece ensemble that performs original charts composed by co-leaders Paul Neufeld and Michael Occhipinti.

Last night we performed all the charts from the band’s JUNO nominated album entitled You are Here.  Many of the original musicians were on hand for the gig and the charts sound as fresh today as when we first performed them over a decade ago. The original CD features Don Byron as guest artist and is well worth a listen.


Patrick Sheridan with the Hannaford Street Silver Band

Patrick Sheridan was in Toronto last weekend to perform with the Hannaford Street Silver Band. He played in two school concerts on Friday, adjudicated a solo competition for young musicians on Friday night, gave a masterclass on Saturday morning and performed once more with the Hannaford Band on Sunday afternoon. I was fortunate enough to be at the Friday evening concert, the Saturday morning master class and the Sunday afternoon concert.

At the master class Patrick spoke at length about “The Breathing Gym”, his approach to proper breathing technique for brass players and, despite the early hour, had us all up out of our seats and enthusiastically learning to relax and breathe properly.

At the Sunday afternoon concert I was totally in awe of Patrick’s astounding technique and musicianship but the thing that really impressed me was his ability to engage the audience with some very funny stories and his willingness to hang out in the lobby and chat with folks during the intermission before heading back on stage to wow once once again.

Thanks to Hannaford for once again bringing a brass musician of the highest calibre to Toronto and for supporting brass music so well.

Ray Draper

I’ve had a lot of fun lately trolling around Youtube and iTunes looking to see who is or was out there playing jazz tuba. Lately I stumbled across a video of Ray Draper.

I first heard about Ray Draper a number of years ago but it wasn’t until I saw the video of him on YouTube that I started to get an idea of what he was all about. Draper was a pioneer in that he saw the potential for the tuba as a front line instrument in jazz. Sometimes improvising on the tuba feels like trying to knit with boxing gloves on but Ray Draper pushed hard against the limitations of the instrument with some very nice musical ideas. (Edit: It appears that the video listed below has been removed by Youtube.)

An Introduction….

imageThanks for checking out my first foray into the world of blogging!

I am a music educator and tuba player working in the Toronto area. I am very fortunate to have had the chance to play various flavours of jazz tuba with a number of phenomenally talented musicians. Bands that I am currently playing with include the Dixie Demons, who play what I would call trad jazz with attitude,(Ross Wooldridge on clarinet, Steve Crowe on trumpet, Dan Douglas on trombone, Chris Lamont on drums) and the Brian Barlow Brass and Drums (2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba and percussion). Brian writes phenomenal charts and the musicians in the band (Russ Little on trombone, Chase Sanborn, Brian O’Kane on trumpet and Brian Barlow on percussion) are marvelous players.

I really enjoy playing with NOJO. The Neufeld Occipinti Jazz Orchestra is once again a 16 piece ensemble after a few years as a 9 piece band and it really cooks thanks to great players and the innovative charts provided by co-leaders Paul Neufeld and Michael Occipinti.

I round out my playing with various corporate events, private functions and by performing with several brass quintets which are active in the Toronto area.

Doug B.