Audio Review: The Jim Self/John Chiodini Duo – Floating in Winter


Floating in Winter
Jim Self, Tuba and Fluba
John Chiodini, Guitar

Jim Self and John Chiodini may not be familiar names at first, but if you are a movie and television watcher, you would recognize their sound credits. Whether it is a movie about a boy who is accidentally left home for the holidays, or watching “Evening at Pops” from the Arthur Fiedler days, the sounds of Jim Self and John Chiodini have filled your stereos while watching the classics (hopefully with a bowl of popcorn, of course).

Both of these men are no strangers to the studio industry. Having been in Los Angeles since the 70s and 80s, Jim and John have played with essentially every big name recording artist as well as some of the great movies of our times. While they have equally had impeccable careers and a shared membership in the David Angel Big Band, just recently they have taken on the unique combination of putting together an album on their respective instruments – tuba and guitar.


(and it works out beautifully!)

Floating in Winter is a collection of 15 songs that include well-known jazz standards as well as two of duo’s original compositions. Names like Mangione, Mulligan, Mancini, and Monk fill this album’s tracks allowing this unorthodox ensemble to give their own interpretive style to such recognizable standards. In a recent podcast episode, I asked Jim how the album was able to come together with such a unique ensemble setup. His response was the two of them have played so much together that they were able to play off of each other’s styles with hardly any rehearsals needing to occur.

On a majority of the pieces, Jim starts out playing the solo with John accompanying. For instance, in their rendition of Children of Sanchez, John lays down the familiar intro while Jim solos on the melody. As Jim takes his first turn on the tune, the precise yet delicate articulations are something to gravitate towards as a listener considering Jim is playing on the Fluba (click here to see photos). The passing back and forth of melody lines is so effortless between the two that while one member takes an improvisatory line, the other sits back keeping the groove and letting the improvised melody flourish throughout the track.

Two of the tracks that are original compositions, Winter and Floating, really show off the writing talents of these two musicians. These two tracks gave the album its title along with the actual recording taking place during one of the colder winters in Los Angeles.

In this day and age, more and more musicians are collaborating with non-traditional combinations to try to strike a chord with a unique sound. While this kind of musical creativity is encouraged, this album shows not only a unique combo, but also the necessity of simply listening to one another and playing off of colleagues to form something beautiful (ie., musicianship). As a listener, one hopes to hear more of this duo as well as similar projects with combining unique ensemble sets.

Here is the entire list of tracks on this “must have” for any music listener:

  1. Nobody Else But Me – Jerome Kern
  2. So Danco Samba – Antonio Carlos Jobim
  3. Children of Sanchez – Chuck Mangione
  4. Winter – John Chiodini
  5. News from Blueport – Gerry Mulligan
  6. A Slow Hot Wind – Henry Mancini
  7. Floating – Jim Self
  8. In Walked Bud – Thelonius Monk
  9. Blue Daniel – Frank Rosolino
  10. Look to the Sky – Antonio Carlos Jobim
  11. Blue Monk – Thelonius Monk
  12. Two for the Road – Henry Mancini
  13. Land of Make Believe – Chuck Mangione
  14. Jamie – Dmitri Tiompkin
  15. Festive Minor – Gerry Mulligan

Click here to purchase the album

Click here to read the liner notes

Learn more about Jim Self and John Chiodini

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this digital music album free from NoVo Management and Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is a trombonist, brass teacher, and blogger. He studied music performance at both Grace College and Carnegie Mellon University, and currently is the bass trombonist for Orchestra Iowa and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, Jeremy started Last Row Music as an online resource of job postings and artist links for brass musicians around the world. When he is not performing or blogging, Jeremy is giving brass lessons to students throughout the country from his home in Centerburg, Ohio.