Eli Newberger: Tuba Virtuoso

September 13, 2015

By Andy Senior Jazz tuba virtuoso Dr. Eli Newberger experienced his jazz epiphany in the sixth grade when the excellent Davis Dixie Band (of A.B. Davis High School in Mount Vernon, New York) played at his elementary school. Shortly thereafter, the school band director placed the tuba in his hands – with the ulterior motive of developing talent for the Davis High School football band. (“You don’t find the tuba, the tuba finds you,” says Eli.) See Video While in the eighth grade, Eli heard Louis Armstrong and his All Stars at a benefit concert, and his love of jazz was confirmed. He went on to play with the Davis Dixie Band, whose well-rehearsed heat and precision may be seen in the above 1960 clip from the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. Eli’s brother Henry led on trombone by that time, but Eli rejoined as an alumnus of the group for the contest. The young band plays with fiery snap. Eli loved the tuba, but his father (mindful of his own travails during the Depression) insisted he study organ “because you’ll always have work.” Eli studied organ, along with the required courses of piano and theory at Juilliard (continuing...

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