“I learned this tune from Bob Neloms when I was 18 and he was 16 years old. I’m still playing it although he barely remembers writing it.”
- Howard Johnson
Howard Johnson’s arrangement of Evolution was first performed in the early 1970s. Recordings of the arrangement with the original Gravity personnel have been lost. Bob Neloms is known for his active musical life as a post-bop jazz pianist in New York starting in the late 1960s. The story has it that many years later when Howard played Evolution for Bob Neloms, Bob did not recall the composition. The evolution is that learning and recreating Bob Neloms’ chart was monumental for Howard. He continued to use this composition to build his knowledge of jazz harmony and to develop and sharpen his improvisational skills.
Howard Johnson’s jazz tuba ensemble is envisioned as a tuba choir- with tubas in F, E flat, CC, and BB flat- that encourages tuba players to learn to play in the upper register. His charts were originally written for his tuba jazz ensemble, Gravity, formed in 1968 with Howard Johnson as solo lead tuba. The charts can in fact be performed with euphoniums; but he formed his group, made is arrangements and developed this specific instrumentation 50 years ago as a statement about tubas and prefers to hear his arrangements played in this configuration, encouraging tuba players to develop the range required. His most important advice is that whatever instrumentation is used, make it fun and find the best jazz rhythm section!
- Velvet Brown, ed.
Score and parts included: 1 hard copy of score. All parts on disc for printing. Parts included: lead tuba, tuba 1-5, piano, bass, drum set