Jim Self

Review of “Steel Alive”Sergio Carolino

For several years I have been getting orders for my tuba compositions and CDs from a young man in Portugal. His name is Sergio Carolino. He bought everything! I found out later that he was this amazing tuba soloist who loved my stuff and was playing it all over Europe. Recently he commissioned a new piece from me.  “Danças para um Amigo”, for solo tuba, saxophone quartet and vibraphone was the result and I look forward to the premier and recording of that work.

A few days ago Sergio sent me a copy of his new CD “Steel Alive”.  For many reasons I am extremely impressed with this recording. First of all it is a collection of “LIVE” performances. In this day of Pro Tools, overdubbing and over-produced CDs it is refreshing to hear the real thing. Carolino is the REAL THING. This young man can PLAY. He seems to have mastered all the talents of the best tuba soloists before him and it all comes out on this collection of live performances. He has enormous technical prowess, a five-octave range which he seems to play with ease, uses all kinds of double stops (and even triple stops) and contemporary effects (clicks, pops, grunts and percussive sounds), he improvises, plays spectacular bass-line sousaphone, has a beautiful (and in tune) sound and, most of all, Sergio has a great sense of rhythm and time. I am honored that he included four movements from my “Duh Suite” for two tubas and drums (played with Swiss tubist artist, Annejelle Viser) H also recorded “Time Cycles” by Jerry Grant (a piece written for me and recorded on my “Big Stretch” CD) and he plays the same instruments I play—the Yamaha 822 F and 826 CC tuba.

The sheer variety of material on this recording is amazing. The “live” performances here show that Sergio must be a real entertainer too. One of my favorite pieces, “Mr M.C.” is by my friend, the French trumpeter, Thierry Caens. It is an amazingly virtuostic solo tuba piece that Sergio plays with aplomb. Another favorite is his “over-the-top” performance of “All Blues”. It has Carolino playing fast and furious (and with great time) on bass-line sousaphone and it showcases several other excellent jazz soloists. I also really dig the first work, the “Concerto for Tuba and Brass Band” by Jorge Salgueiro. The five short movements cover about everything a tubist (with Carolino’s  talents) can play. Finally it is his his own composition, “DigiTUBAazz” (with midi accompaniment) that sums up all his fantastic technical prowess.

What an amazing showcase for Sr. Carolino—and it is ALL LIVE! This CD raises the bar for all tuba soloists.

Jim Self
Los Angeles 3/4/07


eCommerce by CubeCart