The tuba may have been the sole bass instrument in early New Orleans jazz, but in the ensuing decades, it took a serious backseat to the saxophone, trumpet and other horns. But as JazzTimes noted in 2018, the unwieldy device is back in a big way—with contemporary artists both honoring its history and pushing the instrument forward.
"Nothing is hotter than the tuba right now," tubist Marcus Rojas marveled in the article. "Everyone wants to get a sousaphone, everyone thinks it's the coolest thing. There are two tuba players on late-night TV: Tuba Gooding Jr. in the Roots and Ibanda Ruhumbika on 'Stephen Colbert.' That would have been unheard of 15 years ago!"
Enter Theon Cross, the tuba virtuoso in crossover jazz favorites Sons Of Kemet, and his killer ensemble. In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, watch them stretch out on a seven-minute version of "Panda Village," a track from Cross' 2019 album Fyah. The clip features Chelsea Carmichael on sax, Nathaniel Cross on trombone, Nikos Zarkias on guitar and Patrick Boyle on drums.
Check out the muscular performance above and click here to watch more episodes of Press Play At Home.