Mr. Jeffrey Hills
Tuba player Jeffrey Hills was born in Charity Hospital in 1975. When he was twelve, his mother passed away, and music became his passion. Jeffrey’s style, which he describes as “melodic like a trumpet player while still holding the bottom,” has been greatly influenced by fellow sousaphone players Big Al Carson of the Olympia Brass Band and the late Kerwin James of the Junior Olympia and New Birth brass bands, as well as legends Tuba Fats Lacen and Edgar Smith, both longtime members of the Olympia Brass Band.
When he was only seventeen, Hills began playing with Harold Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band at Preservation Hall, where he quickly became a favorite. He has performed with nearly every brass band in the city, including the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, Treme, Lil’ Rascals, and New Birth. Hills has been the lower brass instructor for Roots of Music, the free academic tutoring and music education program for New Orleans youth, founded by Rebirth drummer Derrick Tabb. Perhaps the highest praise for Hills’s musical chops comes from the many folks who say he is the one to fill the shoes of Tuba Fats.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman.
Excerpted from “Preservation Hall: Portraits By Shannon Brinkman and Interviews by Eve Abrams” (LSU Press)
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