Instruments in the lower registers were overlooked for much of music history. They filled in the beat and gave a sense of presence but weren't considered as flashy or versatile as altos or sopranos. And while in some cases that allowed musicians to truck ahead with the bare necessities, sticking to the roots, some, like Les Claypool (bass player for Primus) or the great Jaco Pastorius, relished the wide-open field and ran with it.
Tubas are the quintessential overlooked low-register instrument. They're given to the fat kid who gets stuck in the back and never gets a solo. There are no "famous" tuba players. Tubas are enormous, expensive and the hippest thing they're likely to be associated with is oom-pah music.
But hop on Youtube and you'll find tons of videos of stand-alone beat box tuba by everyone from kids in their bedrooms to members of Dallas Brass performing onstage at Brigham Young University. Tuba might even have found its first star: Tuba Gooding Jr., a session musician currently performing with hip-hop megastars The Roots.
The long-overlooked instrument has tones and techniques only now being mined by musicians and loved by audiences for its rich percussive sound.
In kind, Tuba Christmas brings together more than 60 tuba and baritone horn players to make downtown Boise rumble with 20 traditional holiday carols.
Tuba Christmas will perform two half-hour sets on Saturday, Dec. 4, one at the Grove Plaza and the other in the Capitol Rotunda.[ Video is no longer available. ]