Jon's Biography

Jon Sass is well known as a true Groove Master and to be arguably one of the most creative tuba players today! He is uniquely versatile and is known as "Der Tausendsassa der Tuba". His imitable approach and soulful sound on the tuba has given him a truly unique solo career, being one of the few tubists in the world who create their own music and performance concepts such as the multi-media programs “Sassified-Live” and "Sassy the Tuba" which was featured at the, Jazz Festivals Frankfurt, Moers Wiener-Konzerthaus, etc.

“Sass could revolutionize the tuba.” (Edmonton Sun, Canada)

Jon can be heard on over 80 recordings. Since 2008 Jon has established himself as a solo artist featured with groups such as Major European Big-bands to Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensembles as well as many feature events.

“That kinda leaves you with raised eyebrows. Tuba player did his homework, he was right on the money: tipitipi-ta-bome!” (Clark Terry – Downbeat Magazine)

Jon has played, recorded and toured worldwide with the creme de la creme of musicians and been featured together with artists such as Ivan Neville, Vince Mendoza, Peter Wolf, Ricky Ford, Bobby Shew, Steven Mead, chamber ensembles of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, in duo with Dave Taylor, Arkady Shilkloper, Wolfgang Puschnig, and Milagros Pinera. Other artists include Ray Anderson, Michelle Rosewoman, David Murray, Sunny Murray, Butch Morris, James Spaulding, Leon Thomas, Peter Erskine, Frank Foster, Erika Stucky, HenryThreadgill, Linda Tillery and the Heritage Cultural Choir, Howard Johnson Heavy Tuba and Vienna Art Orchestra. throughout Europe. Jon composes his own music and has arranged music for the James Brown Horns.

“Jonathan McClain Sass, a virtuoso tuba player from Harlem who now lives in Vienna, defied the reputation of unwieldy instrument by playing exquisite trills that fluttered off into silence.” (The New York Times)

Jon developed a basis for progressive creative thinking called-Creative Impulse which has inspired the play along books from Editions BIM and TMV records, and for team-building seminars- such as The Corporate Groove.

Press Downloads



Jon Sass’ SOULUBA program is a magical journey rooted in a sound of the tuba. SOULUBA is led by Groove-master Jon Sass a uniquely versatile one of a kind in the tuba. The music is ”a mix of gourmet soul food in a blend of generations”. The formation and music are original, blending a range of stylistic vocabularies flavoring the music, from Jazz, Funk, R&B, Latin and Carribean elements, yet centered around the sound of the tuba, Souluba sets its own niche.

SOULUBA mirrors seeds planted from recent generations of singers in Jon’s family. Having grown up in Harlem, New York City at a time where the quality of creative integrity and the high humanity generated from the music of 60’s & 70’s, remains as a strong influence for Jon’s vision with the band. Although technology is very strongly connected to the lifestyle of today’s younger generations, music shared, can be a space where the inner child of all generations- and cultures meet, sing and speak, planting seeds for generations to come.

SOULUBA band has 4 more amazing musicians: From Zimbabwe, Futurelove Sibanda Vocals, from Brazil Fagner Wesley on Keyboard, from Austria Jörg Mikula on Drums, as well from Cuba, Eldis La Rosa Monier on Flute, Alto Sax and Percussion. Jon’s imitable approach and soulful sound on the tuba has given him a truly unique solo career, being one of the most innovative tubists in the world who have their own niche with music, clearly experience with SOULUBA.

Programs & Groups



Jon Sass, a native of Harlem in New York City. Jon is presenting a uniquely versatile solo program with a diverse mix of music including contemporary works written for him by African American composers. The program is dedicated to George Floyd and the call for justice for African Americans.
The problems with racism are global. After the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd, seeds were planted globally to move towards defeating racism.
Jon spent his youth both in the deep south and in Harlem during the civil-rights era through the end of the '70s. He began playing professionally, simultaneously completing his university studies at the age of 17 commuting between NYC, Boston, and Vienna playing both jazz and classical music. A true one of a kind ... his imitable approach and soulful sound on the tuba have given him a truly unique solo career.
"Der Tausendsassa der Tuba!"


  • Frankfurt Radio Big Band
  • KELAG Big Band
  • Würzburg Big Band
  • Frankfurt Radio Big Band Soundclip (mp3)


Jon plays with various wind orchestras and the piece written for him by Franz Cibulka is Tubaphonic!
Tubaphonic - Videolink »



Jandls Gedichte sind Klassiker der modernen Literatur: Wolfram Berger weiß die Texte sehr genau zu "musikalisieren", wobei die oft auch bitteren Zwischen- und Untertöne präzise beigemischt werden. Ihre Virtuosität zeigen Wolfgang Puschnig und Jon Sass mit unaufdringlicher, subtil wirkungssicherer Bravour und dichterischem Einfühlungsvermögen. (hb, Salzburger Nachrichten, 17.11.2004)
Videolink »


This international trio with musicians based out of New York and Israel are three powerful musicians bringing a fun and highly dynamic program of contemporary Jazz and Funk based music born out of collaborations in Europe and the USA. There is a mix of Jazz and stunning virtuosity that leave audiences on the edge of their seats. A one of a kind Jon is considered to be the most innovative virtuoso on the tuba today! Jazz Times notes Reut as "a provocative brew that straddles the heavy metal bebop divide ... wildly imaginative and virtuosic ... together with the electric grooves Igal create a music palate which exists from serious fun .... check it out!" (JON SASS)
Reut Regev »
Videolink »


Zusammen bilden Arkady Shilkloper und Jon Sass eine Micro-Brass-Band, die es in sich hat. Kein Ton zu hoch oder zu tief, keine Kadenz zu schnell, als dass die beiden die Berg- und Talfahrt durch die Notenwellen nicht bewältigen würden.


Puschnig, Sass und Diabate machen zu dritt Musik, die auf einer Ebene entsteht, die gleichzeitig abstrakt und real ist. Sie ist ein physisch und psychisch erfahrbarer Ausdruck von Leben, Kommunikation, Individualität und Gemeinschaft.
Wolfgang Puschnig »
Mamadou Diabate »

Children Shows

Eine Tuba geht auf Reisen

Jon Sass - Idee
Wolfram & Helmut Berger - Regie
Zusammen mit Jeunesse produziert


Musik! Macht! Träume! Wahr!
Es war einmal ... in einer großen Stadt in Amerika ein großes Musikinstrument, das träumte von einer Reise in die große, weite Welt. Und in dieser großen Stadt lebte ein kleiner Bub, der hatte denselben Traum. Und wenn zwei dasselbe träumen, geht dieser Traum in Erfüllung. Der kleine Jon, der für sein Alter schon recht groß war, verliebte sich in die große Tuba und spielte mit ihr ... und sie mit ihm. Sie waren sofort ein Herz und eine Seele und nannten sich nicht mehr Jon und Tuba, sondern Sassy ...
... wie die Geschichte weitergeht?

Mit Musik.

Wenn sie nicht essen oder trinken oder Zähne putzen, machen sie Musik.

Mehr Infos zu Sassy the Tuba ... »
Sassy the Tuba in English (.doc) »