James Self

James Self's Biography

Jim Self is a Los Angeles based freelance and studio musician, a veteran of thousands of motion pictures, television shows and records as well as tuba soloist on many prominent movies. His tuba was the "Voice of the Mothership" in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. For many years, he was first tuba for John Williams, James Horner, James Newton Howard, John Debney and others. Jim has recorded with hundreds of artists including Placido Domingo, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Don Ellis. He is principle Tuba/Cimbasso with the Pacific and Pasadena Symphonies, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestras.

Jim holds degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Catholic University and the University of Southern California, where he teaches tuba and chamber music. Jim is a past president of T.U.B.A., a former member of The U.S. Army Band in Washington D.C. and was on the faculty at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville. Jim holds a D.M.A. from USC's Thornton School of Music where he is an adjunct professor of tuba and chamber music.

His compositions and arrangements include works for solo tuba, brass quintet, other brass, string and woodwind chamber music, wind band and orchestra. He has produced nearly 20 solo jazz and classical recording projects that feature jazz greats like Gary Foster, Pete Christlieb, Francisco Torres, Ron Kalina and Warren Luening. Many of the projects feature his own unique instrument, the FLUBA (picture a tuba-sized Flugelhorn). Jim’s recording, Flying Circus, Music for Brass Quintet, included all original music by Jim and features 25 of the top brass players in Los Angeles. His album My America features arrangements of American songs by Kim Scharnberg.

James Self's Gear
James Self

Gear List