“The High Priest is McCoy’s tribute to the high priest of Jazz- Thelonious Monk. The form is an eleven bar blues.”
- Howard Johnson
High Priest was recorded, with Howard Johnson playing tuba, in December 1967. This recorded album, Tender Moments, was subsequently released in 1968 on the Blue Note label. Later in 1992 on the Turning Point record album, High Priest was recorded again featuring McCoy Tyner’s big band, which included Howard Johnson on tuba and as an arranger.
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 his 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 on disc: tuba 1-6, piano, bass, drum set