Theon Cross is a London-based tuba player, composer, and bandleader.
Since 2015 he has been one of the key components of the city’s revitalised jazz scene and an in-demand sideman for his own unique brand of tuba bass in jazz, funk, dubstep, grime, hip-hop, and improvised music.
One journalist remarked that instead of keeping time, he played the instrument like a Roland 303 with its loose, flubbery basslines.
Cross picked up the tuba at 8 years old. As a teen he was trained in a Brazilian-style bloco.
‘Carnaval blocos’ or ‘blocos de rua’ are street bands that mobilise crowds on the streets and are the main popular expression of Brazilian Carnival.
He began to carve a space for his horn to fit inside improvisational and swinging jazz structures.
He spent time transcribing trumpet solos and classic bop and hard bop basslines by Paul Chambers (initially a tuba player himself) and developed a unique rhythmic approach to his instrument informed by the dancehall, electronic, hip-hop, and the drum-and-bass music he loved as much as he did jazz.
This year he released his album ‘Fyah’, drawing rave reviews from indie music outlets and mainstream publications all over the world, prompting the current tour.
This is a fascinating piece of work.
The album has that much going on, it shouldn’t be able to keep up with itself, but it does so from a point of authority.
At times it’s easy to forget it’s a tuba being played and not the fattest, most dirty bass-line you have ever heard.
The event will be happening on Sunday, the 6th of October.
Bio contains elements from the artist’s website.