The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Top Brass: Theon Cross' Baker's Dozen
Stewart Smith , October 4th, 2023 08:19

Ahead of a special performance at Kings Place’s Luminate festival later this month, London jazz outlier Theon Cross takes Stewart Smith through his 13 favourite records, from Stevie Wonder to Kano via Miles Davis and Lauryn Hill


Jon Sass – Sassified

Again, someone I discovered in my teens. My teacher, Andy Grappy, put me onto this album. Jon Sass’ sound is something that I love. Its sound is very influential on me. And some sounds that I tried to emulate quite a bit when I was younger to find my own sound on the instrument. But what I love about this album is I’d never heard anyone layer the tuba like that before, to make it seem like a universe in itself. Using all ranges of the instrument. And the compositions are so harmonically juicy as well. We've spoken. We haven't actually played together yet, but I think it's gonna happen. It was a direct influence on my last album Intra – I, because that's an album that followed kind of the same thought process, I reckon, of trying to make the tuba this expansive instrument that could cover so much ground, but I guess my interpretation was to add a bit more current or contemporary production. But in terms of the concept, it was very much influenced by this album.

I have a band show and I have a solo show. In my solo show I get into the live looping and layering and actually created using the tuba as a backdrop really, that was something that I was exposed to quite early by checking this album. He's one of those people that I clicked onto quite early as an inspiration.