Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 41 of 41
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    In no particular order:

    Don't call a tune if you're the only one who can play it.

    If your band rehearses regularly, don't call tunes on a gig that you haven't rehearsed.

    Don't hand out a new chart on a gig. Even if it's a minor modification of a previous chart, the players may have penciled-in things on the old one that they won't have time to transfer.

    Don't play too loud. And, if the manager of the venue complains to the leader, the leader should let everyone know.

    Don't forget to play the occasional tune that someone in the audience might know. People like hearing familiar songs.

    Make your count-ins loud enough and with crisp time.

    If your band is a bunch of unfamiliar names, introducing the band once a set is more than enough. And, if you don't introduce the band at all (forcing the audience into polite, annoyed, applause) probably, nobody will complain.

    If you have subs on the gig, don't call the hardest charts. In fact, even if you have regulars on the gig, don't call tunes which are on the edge of the band's ability to play.

    Don't give somebody a 7 page chart and a separate sheet for solo order. Just let the leader point to the soloists, or put them on the chart.

    Don't ask me why I thought of any of this.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Hmmm...I concur with some but not all. It really depends on the players in the band. It also depends on the audience.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Expect the unexpected from working musicians, or you'll always be disappointed. We wish they all were savvy like full time union pit musicians, but they aren't...at all.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    and when you finally become ignorant cynic who does not care who plays what and how - you can feel yourself an accomplished pro

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Nothing wrong with introducing the band. It needn't be done all at once. It could be "Joe Bagadonuts on guitar" after a nice solo, "Kim Fleetfingers on piano"during some great comping, etc. But getting their names out is cool.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    In no particular order:

    Don't call a tune if you're the only one who can play it.

    If your band rehearses regularly, don't call tunes on a gig that you haven't rehearsed.

    Don't hand out a new chart on a gig. Even if it's a minor modification of a previous chart, the players may have penciled-in things on the old one that they won't have time to transfer.

    Don't play too loud. And, if the manager of the venue complains to the leader, the leader should let everyone know.

    Don't forget to play the occasional tune that someone in the audience might know. People like hearing familiar songs.

    Make your count-ins loud enough and with crisp time.

    If your band is a bunch of unfamiliar names, introducing the band once a set is more than enough. And, if you don't introduce the band at all (forcing the audience into polite, annoyed, applause) probably, nobody will complain.

    If you have subs on the gig, don't call the hardest charts. In fact, even if you have regulars on the gig, don't call tunes which are on the edge of the band's ability to play.

    Don't give somebody a 7 page chart and a separate sheet for solo order. Just let the leader point to the soloists, or put them on the chart.

    Don't ask me why I thought of any of this.
    I don’t think I have to ask lol

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Expect the unexpected from working musicians, or you'll always be disappointed. We wish they all were savvy like full time union pit musicians, but they aren't...at all.
    Speaking of which - specify dress code. You never know who will turn up in a gorilla suit.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus View Post
    Nothing wrong with introducing the band. It needn't be done all at once. It could be "Joe Bagadonuts on guitar" after a nice solo, "Kim Fleetfingers on piano"during some great comping, etc. But getting their names out is cool.
    Looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes.
    Roy Rogers, on Trigger.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Sir Kenneth Clark bass sax

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    Sir Kenneth Clark bass sax
    Wow.. Kenneth Clark... why not John Ruskin? He is better with saxes

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    Wow.. Kenneth Clark... why not John Ruskin? He is better with saxes
    but he wasn't in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band!

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Eric Clapton on ukelele

  16. #15
    One bandleader specifies dress to be "hip casual". Everyone wears the same stuff they wear every day. Which, I assume means that everybody thinks the way they usually dress is "hip casual".

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    OK someone’s gotta do it, here’s how to introduce the band:


  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    RP, you probably assume correctly.

  19. #18
    Here are some more thoughts, mostly about charts. Rant Mode On.

    Don't make the font too small.

    Try not to put random numbers of bars on a line. Be especially careful about that if the tune has oddball phrase length to begin with.
    If possible, start new motifs on a new line.

    Make the Segno BIG.

    Avoid impossible page turns.

    Don't expect people to read, on the fly, complex or otherwise strange roadmap instructions in tiny type.

    In fact, avoid repeats entirely unless it would result in too many pages.

    If the guitar chart is 5 pages of slash marks with the occasional single note line, particularly in an unfamiliar tune or a very idiosyncratic arrangement, put in some indications of what else is going on in the band. Like a horn line in italics, or something, in case the guitarist gets lost.

    I play in a horn band with amateur arrangers, and a big band using pro charts, mostly from the Buddy Rich band. The pro charts are much easier to read. It starts out with bigger page height (meaning, more systems on a page and fewer pages). Very few repeats, and when there is a repeat, it's usually contained on a single page. There are typically clear indications of what is going on in the rest of the band. Sensible numbers of bars per line. New motifs usually are at the beginning of a line. The parts are never particularly difficult to play except sometimes reading the hits. That is, the rhythms are what they are, but the guitarist is never asked to play insanely fast single note passages that lay poorly on the instrument, or play an impossible number of different chords in short order.

    Another thing about the pro charts -- the arranger deals directly with the presence of two comping instruments. Often, one lays out. Sometimes there will be an instruction about how to comp. My favorite is a notation that says "Not FG". In the amateur charts, both guitar and piano may have slash marks, and we fight it out <g>.

    Another thing -- don't have people pencil-in complicated changes -- and if the individual players do change the chart, make sure that the new instructions will be comprehensible later.

    A friend of mine, a very experienced player, playing a gig of newly minted big band arrangements, spent part of the afternoon on the day of the gig crossing stuff out of his charts. He wasn't going to play fast passages of big band hits, each one a new chord written out on a staff with no chord symbol. He could have written in the chord symbols, but the stuff was still going to be too difficult. So, he crossed out a lot of stuff that the horns were hitting also, and played the gig. I was at it, and it never occurred to me that he had simplified anything.

    Rant Mode Off

    In a way, I shouldn't complain. Getting an arrangement into Encore or Sib and having it be perfect is really difficult.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    'Not FG'?

    *furrowed brow*

    Must be a misprint

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    A friend of mine, a very experienced player, playing a gig of newly minted big band arrangements, spent part of the afternoon on the day of the gig crossing stuff out of his charts. He wasn't going to play fast passages of big band hits, each one a new chord written out on a staff with no chord symbol. He could have written in the chord symbols, but the stuff was still going to be too difficult. So, he crossed out a lot of stuff that the horns were hitting also, and played the gig. I was at it, and it never occurred to me that he had simplified anything.
    This is kind of what I do anyway TBH. I got the call again, so I assumed it must be an OK thing to do. But it's good to hear that approach vindicated.

    The pencil is your friend. And there's nothing wrong with writing lines above the stave to help with reading rhythms, not names etc on the chart.

    Unless you are sharing a pad of course lol.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    'Not FG'?

    *furrowed brow*

    Must be a misprint
    I made that more difficult than it should have been. It said, more accurately, "not F.G.".

    I think it meant to not play Freddie Green style.

    When an arranger has to tell you NOT to play like a certain player, that's an influential guy.

  23. #22
    Another band I sub in has pro charts from the 50s and 60s, all handwritten on the original paper.

    The leader took it upon himself to be the curator of what amounts to a library/museum of these old charts. He rescued a load of them from a college jazz program years ago. As far as I'm aware, there are efforts to preserve the recordings, but I haven't heard of organized efforts to preserve the original charts. Does the Library of Congress do it?

    The cool part of this is, unsurprisingly, that when you play the charts it sounds brings the music of the past to life. All these rhythms, harmonies and articulations that you don't hear any more.

    I digress. The point I wanted to make about these charts is that they were rarely more than 4 pages and there were almost never any repeats. You started in the upper left, read the chart, and ended in the lower right. Solos were specified and written out. Fun to play. Often, there wasn't a guitar chart. Usually, I'd get the call to sub when they couldn't get a pianist and I'd be reading the piano part. This sort of thing can be better for your future musicianship than it is for your current self-esteem.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I made that more difficult than it should have been. It said, more accurately, "not F.G.".

    I think it meant to not play Freddie Green style.

    When an arranger has to tell you NOT to play like a certain player, that's an influential guy.
    i still don't understand

    arranger made a mistake

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    i still don't understand

    arranger made a mistake
    It was a handwritten part of a handwritten chart.

    I'm convinced it was an instruction not to play 4 to the bar, Freddie Green style. But rather, to comp more sparsely.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It was a handwritten part of a handwritten chart.

    I'm convinced it was an instruction not to play 4 to the bar, Freddie Green style. But rather, to comp more sparsely.
    No I still don’t understand

    The instruction is literally unpossible.

    Bad arranger. Doesn’t know what guitar is for.

  27. #26
    Respectfully disagree.

    The arranger did a lot of work for Buddy Rich and his arrangements sound great. The arrangements are unusually attentive to the guitar/piano issue and never seem to have anything unplayable for the guitar.

    The question I think it raises is why he put this rather arcane instruction in a chart, given that his charts are generally crystal clear. Perhaps he knew the guitarist who would be playing it, and knew that the guitarist would understand the instruction? Or perhaps he thought big band guitarists would figure it out without too much difficulty -- which is my guess.

    I don't recall what he had the piano doing at that moment in the chart. Next time we play it, I'll make a note.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Perhaps he knew the guitarist who would be playing it, and knew that the guitarist would understand the instruction?
    Depending on how well he knew the guitar player, it could either be because the guitar player had a bad tendency to FG on every tune .. or they might have had a few beers the night before making fun of guitar players that didn't know any other style and he put it there as an inside joke

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    The cool part of this is, unsurprisingly, that when you play the charts it sounds brings the music of the past to life. All these rhythms, harmonies and articulations that you don't hear any more.
    I love these old charts, the Thad Jones ones are great. One thing that almost always gets lost in our age of 9.5x11 printers is that charts and music used to be printed on larger paper. When I was at Juilliard we had to bring in charts in the larger size (I forget the dimensions).

    One pet peeve I have about any big band chart is the harmony as written for the rhythm section: it's usually written with the various embellishments and harmonic movement the horns are playing, but too many rhythm section players take that stuff too literally. *not* playing every substitute is part of the sound. Same thing is true of hits for drummers, it's possible to over-interpret those things.

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I love these old charts, the Thad Jones ones are great. One thing that almost always gets lost in our age of 9.5x11 printers is that charts and music used to be printed on larger paper. When I was at Juilliard we had to bring in charts in the larger size (I forget the dimensions).

    One pet peeve I have about any big band chart is the harmony as written for the rhythm section: it's usually written with the various embellishments and harmonic movement the horns are playing, but too many rhythm section players take that stuff too literally. *not* playing every substitute is part of the sound. Same thing is true of hits for drummers, it's possible to over-interpret those things.
    Right. The charts often have chord names with extensions -- and the horns are playing the extensions.

    It usually sounds fine if you can play all the extensions correctly.

    Also, it may sound even better if you play, say, thirds and sevenths, and leave the extensions for the horns. It may create more space and less mud.

    The extensions also tell you what not to play -- so that you don't play a natural 9 against a b9 -- that sort of thing.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    'Not FG'?

    *furrowed brow*

    Must be a misprint
    not f***ing guitar

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Respectfully disagree.

    The arranger did a lot of work for Buddy Rich and his arrangements sound great. The arrangements are unusually attentive to the guitar/piano issue and never seem to have anything unplayable for the guitar.

    The question I think it raises is why he put this rather arcane instruction in a chart, given that his charts are generally crystal clear. Perhaps he knew the guitarist who would be playing it, and knew that the guitarist would understand the instruction? Or perhaps he thought big band guitarists would figure it out without too much difficulty -- which is my guess.

    I don't recall what he had the piano doing at that moment in the chart. Next time we play it, I'll make a note.
    I think i shall stop trying to make this joke.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    I do a lot of work with a singer and small group, and I do all the arrangements. I've found that highlighters in different colors can be very helpful indicating repeats, segnos, codas, etc., and since I am often dealing with new players and we never rehearse, the layout of the arrangements is, indeed, important. I generally write fairly simple lines, focusing on intros and endings, with rhythmic hits where warranted, and I hire the best jazz-playing readers I can find, because I like to leave room for obligato playing behind the singer. With a piano-bass-drums-guitar-sax line-up, I can get some nice harmonies going by writing diads for the guitar and putting the sax in the lead. I've also incorporated my Roland GR-55 synth for some string pads on ballads and some exotic sounds like steel drums and marimbas and flute sounds for color. Everything is done in Finale, and the charts are in ring binders, generally no more than 2 pages, with a 3 or 4-pager carefully designed for easy page-turns. With good players, this quintet can sound quite large and full.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Yes, Christian, it's much too far above his head. He just doesn't get it.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I don't think it was really very funny to start off with TBH

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I don't think it was really very funny to start off with TBH
    It's the thought that counts.
    Best regards, k

  37. #36
    Some pro arrangers write a chord symbol directly over a horizontal line and another chord symbol underneath.

    Basically, it's like the two hands of the piano. Play the lower chord in the left hand and upper chord in the right.

    For example, I've seen Em7 over Dm7.

    Every time I've seen this, the horns are playing the upper chord, the pianist usually plays both, but if I play the upper one on the guitar it usually sounds bad. Maybe that's because I'm in the register of the horns, but I'm not necessarily voicing the chord the same way.

    It seems to work out better to play the lower chord. But, I haven't seen this often enough to be sure.

    Anybody have any thoughts about this?

    Dropped D tuning and just strum all the open strings while whistling a C?

  38. #37
    Sorry I missed that it was a joke.

    AAs you know, I am a fan of your stuff on here.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It usually sounds fine if you can play all the extensions correctly.

    Also, it may sound even better if you play, say, thirds and sevenths, and leave the extensions for the horns. It may create more space and less mud.
    that's my point: the greatest big band rhythm sections did not play all the extensions/substitutions implied in the horn lines. yet, due to problems in the copy work, many classic nestico charts have tons of chord subs that for example, basie never would have played.

    I have no problem with it for a modern chart if that's the intended sound, but I take issue with it when it's a "classic" big band jazz chart, like a nestico or jones chart.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Some pro arrangers write a chord symbol directly over a horizontal line and another chord symbol underneath.

    Basically, it's like the two hands of the piano. Play the lower chord in the left hand and upper chord in the right.

    For example, I've seen Em7 over Dm7.

    Every time I've seen this, the horns are playing the upper chord, the pianist usually plays both, but if I play the upper one on the guitar it usually sounds bad. Maybe that's because I'm in the register of the horns, but I'm not necessarily voicing the chord the same way.

    It seems to work out better to play the lower chord. But, I haven't seen this often enough to be sure.

    Anybody have any thoughts about this?

    Dropped D tuning and just strum all the open strings while whistling a C?
    When chords are written that way I think the upper chord is just supplying extensions to the lower chord. Generally you want extensions to be near the top. And if horns are playing extensions it’s probably best for the guitar not to.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    It was a handwritten part of a handwritten chart.

    I'm convinced it was an instruction not to play 4 to the bar, Freddie Green style. But rather, to comp more sparsely.
    At first glance reading I would have thought "not for guitar." But with that capitalization, you're probably right.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Eric Clapton on ukelele
    Hi Eric!