Jim Self

Innerplay

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This has to be the first "tuba with strings" jazz recording. However, rather than being laughable, one should realize from the start that Jim Self is far from being a primitive Dixieland tuba player. In fact, he has worked in the studios for years (appearing on over 1,200 soundtracks) and was a member of the Don Ellis big band for five years. He also doubles on the fluba, a combination of tuba and flugelhorn that he helped develop. For this set, Self is the main star on a program of Brad Dechter arrangements. He is joined by 25 strings, one of three rhythm sections, and other key soloists in Dan Higgins (soprano, alto, tenor, and flute), the greatly underrated tenor-saxophonist Pete Christlieb, and altoist-flutist Gary Foster. The music is essentially straight-ahead modern mainstream jazz. Highlights include Herbie Hancock's "Speak Like a Child," "There Is No Greater Love," a Porgy & Bess medley, a whimsical "The Underdog Has Arisen," and "No More Blues." Self's interaction with the other horns is delightful; the strings are used tastefully and the music works quite well. Recommended.

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