“Working Hard for the Joneses is not about social status. It is about addictions.”
- Howard Johnson
Nedra Johnson, Howard’s daughter, is a singer, guitarist, tuba player, and composer. She speaks of the Jones as another word for addiction. It is not “keeping up” with the Joneses. The piece represents all of the Jones or addictions – drug, sugar, money, alcohol and more. Naming them the way that she has in her piece can make you see it for the tragedy that it is, or laugh with the addicted, that simply wish to be comfortably numb.
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 1-5, rhythm (piano), drum set