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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


Youngblood Brass Band – Unlearn

Keeping it brassy! Again, another band I got into as a teenager. I'm drawn to it through the sousaphone player. Nate McIntosh really showed the dexterity that the tuba can have as a bass instrument in the bass role. But soloing as well. ‘Chinatown’ is on that album. And that solo that he does on that, it's as good as any other horn player. It showed me that the tuba doesn't have to be static. As a bass instrument it doesn't have to be on beats one and three like in the traditional sense. You can also have dexterity and nimbleness. And that's something that I take into my playing. And just great composition as well. You can hear that they're coming straight out of the New Orleans thing, like Dirty Dozen, Olympia and Rebirth Brass Band, but you can tell they're mixing it with more of the punk thing and the riot thing and the rap thing. And they made a sound that really influenced me when I was coming into the tuba. So it was a very, very useful album for me. And something that I go back to for inspiration.