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Hangin Out with Tuba and Guitar Duets

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    Posted: 26 Apr 2022 at 9:28pm
Released April 1, 2022 on Basset Hound Music

HANGIN’ OUT, the newest album by jazz tuba player JIM SELF and guitarist JOHN CHIODINI, features intimate musical conversations between the two maestros, but unlike their previous duo releases, Floating in Winter (2017) and The Light Fantastic (2020), they are also joined on several tunes by four of the top jazz musicians on the scene today. Trombonist SCOTT WHITFIELD, baritone saxophonist DAVID ANGEL, tenor saxophonist TOM PETERSON, and trumpet & flugelhorn player RON STOUT are each featured in trio settings with Self and Chiodini.
Self and Chiodini have been hanging out and jamming together on Friday mornings for several years. The two met while rehearsing with the David Angel Jazz Ensemble and soon became good friends and musical compatriots. Self says, “I’ve never had a musical partner that I was so compatible with. When John plays, you don’t need the rest of the rhythm section. Even during the lockdown, we continued to hang out and play. We weren’t going to let a deadly disease stop us from making music. The concept for this album grew from those pandemic jam sessions.”
Besides recording over 19 jazz and classical albums, Self is also a prolific studio musician. His horn can be heard on over 1500 movies, including as the “Voice of the Mothership” in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as on hundreds of television shows and records. He is also the principal tuba with the Pacific and Pasadena Symphonies, the Los Angeles Opera, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestras. He is also only the second person to ever receive a DMA in Tuba Performance. He has been a college professor for over 50 years. Before moving to L.A., Chiodini was a member of the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. He moved to Southern California to tour, write, and record with Peggy Lee and later worked with a long list of well-known artists, including Natalie Cole, Maynard Ferguson, Louis Bellson, Tony Bennett, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Dr. John, Shirley Horn, Barry Manilow, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Nancy Wilson, Michael Bublé, and Paul McCartney. He has also performed on numerous movies and TV shows.
Although there is some recorded tuba and guitar duo music, it is quite an unusual pairing that is most often used in traditional jazz. Self plays the tuba as a bass instrument under Chiodini’s elegant solos, but he also elevates the tuba by playing with great sensitivity and fluency. In Self’s capable hands, the tuba produces music that is as sensitive and melodic as any top-notch trumpet player or trombonist.
HANGIN’ OUT comprises a mixture of straight-ahead standards, Latin tunes, and funk. Each guest soloist was invited to bring their own choice of tunes. Self and Chiodini each contributed one of their original compositions, as did Whitfield and Peterson.
The album opens with the title song “Hanging’ Out,” written by Chiodini especially for Self. This swinger features Self on the F tuba, which is often used for higher tuba parts in orchestras. “Spain” is Chick Corea’s well-known jazz samba. It features Chiodini on classical guitar and Self on the fluba. The fluba is truly a unique instrument—a tuba-sized flugel horn. It is Self’s brainchild that was designed by Robb Stewart who assembled it from parts. ”Lydian Afternoon” was composed by Scott Whitfield, the trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist who is internationally recognized for his work with many top, contemporary big bands. The composition is an up-tempo jazz waltz based on a series of major 9th chords in all 12 keys, creating trance-like harmonies. “Dindi” is Antonio Carlos Jobim’s beautiful, slow bossa. Chiodini plays classical guitar on the tune, which also features the rarely heard verse.
Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” is a surprising but delightful addition. The duo gets funky with Chiodini on electric guitar and Self on the fluba. “Another Thing” was composed by Tom Peterson, based on the changes to “All the Things You Are.” Peterson was a member of Doc Severinsen’s famous Tonight Show Orchestra for 18 years. He has performed with numerous big bands and recorded in different genres with musical greats like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, the Glenn Miller Band, Elton John, Leon Russell, B.B. King, Kenny Loggins, Blood Sweat & Tears, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney. He has also performed on numerous movies and TV shows.
Self and Chiodini perform a delightful take of Jobim’s lively samba, “Felicidade.“ Their version is based on the arrangement by Cesar Camargo Mariano, the internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, and arranger. “Everything Happens to Me” features David Angel on bari sax. Angel is one of the most respected composer/arrangers on the West Coast. In 2021, Self brought together The David Angel Jazz Ensemble to record Out on the Coast, a gorgeous three-disc anthology of Angel’s music.
Self and Chiodini do a slower version of Freddie Hubbard’s jazz waltz “Up Jumped Spring.” Ron Stout brought Cy Coleman’s “I Walk a Little Faster.” Stout has had a long and illustrious career. He was in the Woody Herman Orchestra from 1984 through 1990 and has since performed with a long list of pop jazz artists, including Horace Silver, Pepper Adams, Supersax, The Righteous Brothers, Jose Feliciano, Lou Rawls, Debbie Reynolds, Patti Page, Bobby Short, Steve Lawrence/Edie Gormé, and many others.
 “Modal I Tease” was composed by Self. The piece is unusual because it is in 5/4 yet has a waltz feel throughout with a true 3/4 jazz waltz in the middle. Self wanted a low, slow, fat sound on Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” so he pulled out his big Yamaha CC Symphony horn to play the melody. All the musicians join in on the closing tune, “It Could Happen to You.” The tune feels like a jam with all the musicians soloing throughout, giving the piece almost a Dixieland feel.
Although the tuba and guitar make an unlikely pair, the two masters, Jim Self and John Chiodini, create music that is elegant and soulful. With the addition of the other outstanding musicians, HANGIN’ OUT is a fascinating, eclectic, and lovely admixture of sounds that shines an unexpected but delightful light on songs old and new.
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HANGIN‘ OUT is available everywhere as of April 1, 2022.
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