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Howard Johnson is universally known as the finest proponent of jazz tuba in the world, as well as being quite proficient on the baritone saxophone. He also plays flugelhorn, bass clarinet, cornet, and penny whistle among other instruments. Howard was born in Montgomery, Alabama on August 7, 1941. He taught himself the baritone sax in 1954 and the tuba a year later. He moved to new York in 1963-at a time when the tuba was not a fashionable jazz instrument (outside of the New Orleans-style bass-line chores, the only visible player was Ray Draper) but Charles Mingus welcomed Howard into his workshop in 1964. In 1965 he played with the Archie Shepp band for some months and appeared with him at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1966 and 1968. Gil Evans used his multi-instrumental capacity at various points between 1966 and 1988.