New, fun CD pays tribute to Pierre Garbage, alter ego of late TTU tubist James Allen Garrett

He was a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. Then there are his "titles" of LL.D., even C.P.A. and, well, S.O.B.

He was also of the Flaming Sword, the True-Blue Orb and the Oaken Core.

Obviously, some of his titles are in fun, but they all tell one simple truth -- he was an interesting guy to know.

Pierre X. Garbage, the alter ego of late TTU alumnus James Allen Garrett, is now being remembered in a tribute CD featuring the Tennessee Tech Alumni Tuba Ensemble under the direction of R. Winston Morris, current director of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble.

Titled "Pierre Garbage Festival: A Tribute to the Music of James Allen Garrett," the CD is now on sale through the TTU Music Department with proceeds of sales going to fund a scholarship in Garrett's name.

"Jim was a very good friend of the Department of Music here and a personal friend of mine," Morris said. "He was very supportive of the tuba program and wrote and arranged dozens of tunes for us as well as composed many original pieces. He is sorely missed."

Garrett, a native of Celina, Tenn. who graduated with a bachelor's degree in music education from TTU in 1959, died of a heart attack in April 1998. His music, however, lives on.

"Pierre Garbage is like the P.D.Q. Bach of the tuba world," Morris explained. "He literally composed hundreds of pieces for the TTTE. Tennessee Tech had quite an ambassador in him."

The tribute CD includes such fun and interesting Garbage pieces as "Sousa Surrenders" in which the conductor is instructed to "be disguised if possible" while the players are instructed to "quaff at least one keg of beer just prior to the performance, in case an alibi is needed."

There is also a "Gay 50s Medley," which is "NOT your normal medley" according to the liner notes and features the vocals of TTU's Linda Ferreira as "Peaches and Fred Kennedy as "Herb," the popular 50s duo.

After graduating from TTU in 1959, Garrett went on to receive his master's degree in music from Northwestern University in 1965. He also completed post-doctorate work at Indiana University from 1967 to 1968. Professionally, he performed with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the 604th Air Force Band and was a well-known brass teacher and clinician.

"Jim earned his living as a free-lance brass teacher. He was highly sought after and was the premiere teacher in Middle Tennessee," Morris added.

In 1968, Garrett and Morris met at Tennessee Tech and they became fast friends. During the infancy of the university's tuba ensemble, Morris would call on Garrett for compositions and arrangements for the TTTE.

"From simple three-part arrangements of folk songs playable by a massed ensemble of 100, to an opera for soloists, choir and tuba ensemble, Garrett's music not only works harmonically and technically, but is just plain fun," wrote TTU alum and tuba brass musician Charles McAdams in the biography of Garrett included with the new CD.

As part of the wit and charm of Garrett, a biography of Pierre Garbge is also known. The "composer" is of French descent but who only speaks "Mangonese" and also had a Russian nephew, Hauloff Garbage, who he collaborated with.

"Jim always spoke about Pierre in the third-person, even with his wife," Morris said. "He never admitted to being Pierre. He would always say, 'Well, I'll check with Pierre,' about a composition. He was some kind of character."

While the CD contains many fun pieces for the tuba and euphonium and features, there are also some more "serious" works of Garrett's, Morris said, including Garrett's original composition "Mystical Music" written specifically for the TTTE in 1970.

"His compositions went from extreme to extreme Ð from very serious to very comical," said Morris. "And all of is his stuff is genius. He had the most phenomenal ears I knew of anyone. He knew how to write for these instruments better than anyone else."

The CD can be best purchased through TTU's Tuba Department web page on the Internet for $15 at http://www.tntech.edu/www/life/orgs/tuba/. All money made from the sale of the CD will be used to fund a music scholarship in Garrett's name. For more information, contact Morris at TTU at 931-372-3168 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The CD was recorded on April 30 and May 1, 2000, in Derryberry Hall at Tennessee Tech by the TTU alumni, the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble and the especially formed Garbage Festival Chorus under the direction of Susan Smith, director of choral activities at TTU. It is distributed by Mark Custom Recording Service of New York.
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