Interview with Daihei Kurashina for the
Japanese music magazine PIPERS.
Q Who designed the instrument and what kind of parts did he used?
A It was my idea to have a tuba-sized flugel horn. Robb Stewart designed it and made it from parts. The valve section and “guts” are from a Yamaha Eb “compensating” tuba. Robb cut the slides for an F instrument. He used a small F tuba bell about the size of a Yamaha 621 and made the other branches. The design is like a huge antique flugel horn. It has some beautiful bends and bows and little personal touches–they show that Robb is a great artist and instrument maker.
Q What is characteristic of this instrument? How do you think the FLUBA sound compares with tuba or contrabass trumpet?
A Imagine the sound of a great big flugel horn. It is kind of between the sound of an F tuba and a Cimbasso. The sound is directionally forward and it has a very mellow sound. It is a little brighter than a tuba and a little darker than a conta-bass trumpet. I also find it very flexable and, when I play it, I seem to think more melodically.
Q Do you think any one has this instrument?
A There have been many experimental tuba sized trumpets and such made over the last 150 years but this is really a unique and beautiful instrument.
Q Have you ever used this instrument at work? If yes, was it studio work or solo?
A I just got it a few weeks ago but have used it on one “dance” job and am using on a jazz CD that I am producing for Jesse Wills, a wonderful singer. I also used it on a fusion jazz CD for Jerry Grant. Who knows what opportunities I will have to use it? I will certainly use it on my own jazz concerts and maybe some film composers will find ways to use it–probably in a solo fashion. I also hope to compose music for it.
Q How did your friends respond to the instrument?
A So far everyone is very impressed with it–it looks and sounds very cool.
Q You have a lot of instruments, do you have any other interesting instruments?
A I have a Super Bass Trombone (slide and valves) made by Larry Minick, a double bell F tuba made by Robb Stewart, a Cimbasso in F (tuba shaped) made by Keije Sone and a BBb Cimbasso made by Larry Minick. There is info on them on my instruments page.
Q Do you want to make other instruments?
A I don’t know. At the moment I am enjoying my FLUBA and learning to play it. However, I seem to always be thinking of new things and instruments.
Please notice the rod that holds up the FLUBA. It was my idea to make it easy to sit or stand. It is a camera “monopod” that Robb adapted to the instrument. Because of it I’ve decided to name my FLUBA — PEG.
“…………… The craftmanship is awesome and the instrument plays beautifully. I am amazed by the concept and the product. It is highly recommended. I would love to sneak it into the orchestra for Bydlo the next time it comes up. A FLUBA is not a tuba with inFluenza!”
–Sumner Erickson, Principal Tubist in the Pittsburgh Symphony. He attended a jazz concert with Jim on the FLUBA and later played it in his (very unique) home.