This post is part of a series called Know This Brass Player which features famous brass players from all over the world.
Name: Jim Self (1943)
Significance: If you have watched any of the great classic movies from 1974 to today (which should be everyone), chances are you have heard Jim Self on tuba. Jim Self is considered to be one of the premiere tuba players in Hollywood and has a resume of playing in over 1500 movies. His tuba playing began in Pennsylvania, where he attended Indiana State College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania). While at IUP, he studed with William Becker and received a degree in music education. After graduation, Self joined the U.S. Army Band where he was a member of an illustrious tuba section that included Daniel Perantoni, Chester Schmitz, and many others. While in Washington, D.C., Self attended Catholic University where he would receive a Master of Music degree studying under Harvey Phillips.
After being in the Army band for two years, Self went on to become Professor of Tuba at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It was while he was teaching at Tennessee that he began to work on his Doctoral degree at the University of Southern California, studying under the legendary Tommy Johnson. Later, Self moved to LA where he has been in the studio scene since 1974 and has been teaching at USC since 1976. Some of the movies included on Self’s credentials include: Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Hook, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sleepless in Seattle, Wall-E, Troy, Valentines Day, Avatar, and Toy Story 3.
In addition to being a studio artist and teacher, Self is also well-versed in the classical genre. He is member of the Pacific Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. As a composer and arranger, he has about 60 works that have been written for soloists and ensembles of many sorts. Many of the awards that Self has received include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ITEA and the Most Valuable Player Award for Tuba given by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.