The Contemporary Tuba Artist....
Joe "TubaJoe" Exley is known for his unprecedented diversity and is regarded as one of the most "innovative and influential tubists blowing notes right now." (Parker Mouthpieces)
"truly virtuosic" - Fearless Radio
"seductive" - All About Jazz
"prodigious" - Obscure Sound
"throbbing" "you can't not dance with abandon"
- New Orleans Times-Picayune
performed with "hundreds of groups in hundreds of clubs in the hottest cities." - CBS New York
"Exley renders the tuba an instrument of funk on par with the Fender Jazz Bass" - KUT Radio, Austin, TX
"The voluminous sound exploded on stage with a brass band directed by arranger and tubist Joe Exley." - Boxx Magazine
"an imposing tectonic plate of a brass theme" -Pitchfork
As a solo artist, studio musician, prolific sideperson, music director and arranger, Joe can safely claim to have bridged as wide of a gap of genres as almost anyone.
Even when at home in New York City, Joe is 'perpetually on tour.' His live performances number in the thousands and include performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, headlining domestic and international music festivals, and clubs, concert halls, and studios everywhere in between. TubaJoe has been heard atop Billboard charts and repeatedly on the networks of ABC, BBC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and NPR, appeared on hundreds of recordings, has been featured on Bravo! TV as well as on radio and television across Europe. Joe appeared (as himself) in Mindy Kaling's feature film "Late Night" with Dame Emma Thompson, as well as appearing in the Hulu series “Monsterland”. As a content creator, Joe’s media has been part of the Amazon series “Harlem” and the Starz series “Run the World” and CBS’s “East New York”.
On May 6, 2022, a.k.a. “International Tuba Day”, Joe released his solo EP “The East River Session” which features Joe alongside legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and a rockin’ band! …available on all popular streaming services.
(see the exclusive claymation / stop-motion video of the EP’s single by Stefan Zeniuk https://youtu.be/c6Jq2q3mcvk)
As a sideperson, some highlights of Joe’s include:
Performances with the late Howard Johnson and his band “Gravity!” (including on the final album release "Testimony"); with Austria's Heavy Tuba; acclaimed solo performances internationally as part of the "psycho-mambo" group Gato Loco; an electric tuba solo on a #1 Billboard album with The Dillinger Escape Plan; brass arranger and music director with Zola Jesus; on recordings with Kenny Werner (with Joe Lovano), the International Contemporary Ensemble, Tiny Tim (posthumously). the 8-Bit Big Band, Aurelio Voltaire; international tours with Red Baraat, Ray Anderson’s Pocket Brass Band, T.S. Monk’s ‘Monk on Monk’ big band (with the late Wallace Roney); shows with the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars (including an acclaimed performance at the NoLa Jazzfest), Craig Harris’ “Breathe”, Banda Nueva York, Brass Against, Tilt Brass, and as part of T Bone Burnett’s live concert version of the movie “Easy Rider” at Radio City Music Hall. Joe can also be heard on many versions of the massively popular “Just Dance” video game franchise and on numerous casino games, as well as TV news and documentary themes.
An accomplished pedagogue, students of Joe's have received considerable scholarships to some of the world’s top music schools and have become accomplished professionals themselves. As a group instructor, brass groups of Joe’s are consistently at the very top of their competitive fields.
TubaJoe was dubbed "The Tuba Gunslinger" at a festival in Bordeaux, France, as he brought the house down with the Latin Jazz-Rock band Gato Loco. France’s Le Monde called the performance "Exotic" while "simultaneously urban."
The band also co-produces a series of concerts in Joe’s adopted “seconda casa” Venice, Italy.
Down in Louisiana, TubaJoe started early as an instrumentalist with violin lessons at the age of two. Later at age seven in Colorado came the clarinet, followed by the oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. At the age of 15, Joe was at a school band contest and heard other bands with a deep low end which his band was missing. Joe’s school was without a tuba player, so Joe lugged one of the big horns home and learned how to play.
Joe completed conventional music schooling first at the University of Northern Colorado, then he set off to the very heart of tuba learning, Chicago, where he went to tuba graduate school at Northwestern University. It was there in the city where Joe became a disciple of urban life and started to explore ways to fit the tuba into any other application or genre he could find. A few years later, Joe made the move to the most diverse musical world of New York City, and now has made his home in the legendary music-rich neighborhood of Harlem for over 20 years.
Joe is an artist of Eastman Winds, Accord cases, Parker mouthpieces, and Sennheiser electronics.
Joe’s current tuba stable includes: a vintage Miraphone 186 4U CC, an Eastman 836 “York” CC, an Eastman EPH435 Sousaphone, and a vintage Keefer “Wagnerphone” custom sousaphone.
-written by Lorraine Tucci