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Author Topic: Best no-high-note big bands?  (Read 1160 times)
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davdud101
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« on: Jul 21, 2017, 08:51AM »

Hey guys!
This sounds like an odd request - but do you guys have any recommendations on the BEST of big bands thatlimit their use of high notes (like, sticking primarily to trumpet high G under high C and lower), or uses an odd instrumentation as their standard setup (while still having limited high-end pitch range)? Can be "very old", can be modern, gimmee what you got!

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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2017, 10:07AM »

A hallmark of Swing Era big bands was a "high note specialist" trumpet, so there aren't many from that era or later.

You might want to look at the smaller bands of the 1920s or 1930s as you will find on www.redhotjazz.com.  Look at Louis Armstrong and his Hot 5 and Hot 7.  Look at Red Nichols and his 5 Pennies (or Miff Mole and his little Molers -- same group, different leader).  Look at Paul Whiteman -- he used violins.  Find a tune by Jack Teagarden and his Orchestra called "Junk Man" which featured a jazz harpist (Casper Reardon).
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2017, 10:28AM »

There are a number of charts that don't rely on pyrotechnics to be interesting. Look for those.

Most big bands had a lead trumpet player who could probably play relatively high, and they would all have used that on occasion.

Little Darlin - no high note business in there.

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« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2017, 10:43AM »

For that matter, look at Glenn Miller's "String of Pearls".  The trumpet solo does a lot of moving, but not a lot of high notes.
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 21, 2017, 11:36AM »

Henry Mancini, Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses......
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 21, 2017, 01:11PM »

IIRC, Don Ellis didn't go in for a lot of high-range stuff. His later "bands" were pretty unique as far as instrumentation, too:

4 saxes (aatb, with LOTS of doubles)
4 trumpets (3 + Don Ellis himself)
French horn
tenor trombone
bass trombone
tuba
2 violins
viola
cello
electric bass
acoustic bass (not a double with electric bass)
keyboard
4 percussion/drums (2 set drummers, percussion/tympani, congas/bongos)
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 21, 2017, 08:08PM »

You won't find modern big bands that don't utilize trumpets above that range, because it's expected of pros to be able to cover a lot more than that easily. However, if you're looking for bands that don't really have a "Maynard" approach to lead trumpet parts, I suggest Maria Schneider and James Darcy Argue. Both are great orchestrators and they rarely use the screech trumpet for pyrotechnic effect.
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 21, 2017, 09:12PM »

For that matter, look at Glenn Miller's "String of Pearls".  The trumpet solo does a lot of moving, but not a lot of high notes.
That one is pretty calm all around and is a true crowd pleaser.

The de-fanged (Warrington) version of "I'm getting sentimental"  in Bb is sweet 'n' low.

Dave Wolpe's version of "it Don't Mean A Thing" in G does not go higher than A in the trumpets

Roger Holmes's "Mambo Swing" Goes up to B for trumpet.

Ted Ingram's "Tonight" ( a little corn ball) goes up to Ab for one note.

Sammy Nestico's "Montego Bay" goes to A

Sammy Nestido's "Just in Time goes" to A too.

Maybe your lead trumpet should step up a bit.  None of these tunes requires a squeaker, just a reasonably competent player.


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« Reply #8 on: Sep 06, 2017, 02:32PM »

I think most of the music the Claude Thornhill Orchestra performed met this requirement.  Not always easy, though.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 06, 2017, 02:54PM »

He probably doesn't meet your rule of nothing above G but I don't think of Harry James as a screaming high note guy.

His "thing" was the smokey lower range with strings in the background.

Harry James & His Orchestra - By The Sleepy Lagoon
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 06, 2017, 03:37PM »

I never associated McConnell/Boss Brass with trumpet pyrotechnics.
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 07, 2017, 07:47AM »

Many of our Jerry Nowak arrangements would meet your need.
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