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watermailonman

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« Reply #20 on: Feb 13, 2018, 03:03PM »

Oh yeah ya do. Now most dance band stuff I do, chairs might stay static for most of the night so everyone can focus on their role... that said, if there are three guys in the section that can play lead and play it well, we pass parts around. I don't care how solid you are, towards the end of that 4th set everyone who is playing lead is going to have issues.

I said NORMALLY and then I meant normally. To pass the first part to the 3:rd player because of fatigue is not something that happens often. I can not recall one single occasion. When I'm called to sub in a band over here on first it is expected that I play all sets. If I'm called to sub on second then I'm expected to be able to perform the solos in that part. I'm very rarely called to play the 3:rd part. Bass happens.

A first player has never passed his part to me or any other player because of fatigue. It is not something I've experienced.

I guess it is because the bandmembers have their part and also their place in the band. The jazz part close to the drums. First part in front of first trumpet and so on. If somebody switches a part - which happens, but not normally - it is not because of fatigue. At least it is not a common case. This has been the same in semi professional big bands, professional big bands, symphony orchestras of all levels as well as brass bands for as long as I have had gigs. In short every payed gig I've had. I have not experienced bandmembers of any instrument to be like that.

Another thing if we play in rehearsal bands or meet just to sight read music. Then we pass the parts around. Under those conditions it is very common.

Do I ask the third player to play my part on a payed gig where I'm hired to play first because of fatigue? No.

Often people here are hired as a specialist on their role, at least that's how I remember the scene to be when I had my time. How the best pro trombone sections here seemed to function when I visited their concerts.

Nowdays I'm mostly playing semi professional gigs and then I have a strong feeling I should not be expected to hand my part to someone else because I'm tired. So I guess it seams to be common practice here to hold on to the part given to you. This could be the subject for a new thread. That is human behavour and that could be interesting. Your experience  is different. Good for you!

/Tom

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« Reply #21 on: Feb 13, 2018, 08:29PM »

There have been groups where parts are switched.  Glenn Miller had 4 trumpet players of approximately equal ability and he arranged so each was lead on one piece or another.  No switching because of fatigue -- switching because it's the way the band works.

I also saw Doug Elliott with the Artie Shaw Band.  They switched parts around the trombone section.  Again, not due to fatigue but because they switched around to let everybody have a turn at lead.
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« Reply #22 on: Feb 13, 2018, 09:16PM »

Curry of Curry mouthpieces told us at a masterclass on mouthpiece selection that in Reno switching in the trumpet sections was common practice.
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« Reply #23 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:32AM »

Incidentally, most all the longish notes in a big band have to be hit and then come off a bit to leave space for others.  The rhythm contribution is all in the attack.  Holding volume is usually (but not always) poor style. 

Not sure if I agree with this. It depends greatly on context: direction of the phrase, whether you are matching someone else like the lead trumpet, etc.
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« Reply #24 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:42AM »

I said NORMALLY and then I meant normally.
Well, I'm glad you didn't mean something else.

To pass the first part to the 3:rd player because of fatigue is not something that happens often. I can not recall one single occasion.

I can recall several. I can't recall it ever being over one set, but it happens pretty often on those 4 set nights. You guys must play quiet.

If I ever told Eric Leonard or Paul Compton they can't play a solo or burn a lead part because of where their chair is located, i'd be laughed off the bandstand. I understand the reason for the big band setup, Tom. I'm not new to this. I do this for a living. I write for this setup pretty often. And I'll bet you dollars to donuts, if you're standing in front of my band you wouldn't be able to tell which one of us was playing lead.

Guys switch parts out. It happens. You have a long gig, bad programming, bad pacing, you do what you have to.
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« Reply #25 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:47AM »

Yes, pacing is a big part of it.  You don't need to pound everything and you don't need to hold long notes at full volume, when you know it's only wasting your chops.  And if you hear your part being doubled in 4th trumpet behind you, take it easy.  Save it for the important parts.

Not just for the practicality, but musically there needs to be contrast in this way, too. A good band picks charts that have this contrast - but in my experience the toughest gigs happen where you get sets that contain runs of charts that are all face-pounders with no real musical contrast arranged. Too many modern charts have the trombone section playing comp. figures the entire way through, without break, and do so with the lead in a physically tiring register. That's what makes too many modern charts tough - it's not really the range per se, but the endurance and lack of contrast. And, as professionals, we gotta play that stuff.
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« Reply #26 on: Feb 14, 2018, 05:20AM »

Especially for modern big band writing, lead trombone parts can sometimes be *VERY* strenuous, and the gigs can be long. In terms of preparing to maintain a big, full sound in the upper register that doesn't flag with fatigue, especially in the G4-G5 register, what are some practicing drills that you like to maintain?
======

I've been a dedicated lead trombonist my entire career, though I do less of it these days. It's a lifestyle. A lead player must possess strong jazz sensibilities and a desire to delve into the history of the art form; listening to the precise details of all styles of big band, from mickey to modern. Minutiae, minutiae, minutiae. Wanzo, Bernhart, Zentner, Nash, Falco, Porter, and others. You gotta practice what you're gonna be playing.

A lot has already been said about practice drills, but for me, it's more a mindset than anything else. Have you ever wanted to kill another human being? I'm serious! If the answer is no, then you probably won't be much of a lead player, at least not one that I'd be interested in listening to. Harsh? Maybe.

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« Reply #27 on: Feb 14, 2018, 06:38AM »

======
Have you ever wanted to kill another human being? I'm serious! If the answer is no, then you probably won't be much of a lead player, at least not one that I'd be interested in listening to. Harsh? Maybe.

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Yes.

I wouldn't call myself a dedicated lead player, I've always been a soloist who works hard at playing lead because it was never my "strong suit". However, for about 12 years I was primarily a lead player (who also played the lions share of solos) and as far as wanting to kill another human being, Walt Stuart's Mickey band medleys made me a bit homicidal. A lead trumpet player used to grumble behind me "not another $#@$%@$ Mick chart" to which I'd reply "you pulled this set, dummy."
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« Reply #28 on: Feb 14, 2018, 09:36AM »

Well, I'm glad you didn't mean something else.

I can recall several. I can't recall it ever being over one set, but it happens pretty often on those 4 set nights. You guys must play quiet.

We play strong enough and we play accustic, the original big band charts. No mics for anything. I don't play much rock and heavy electrified music. I can understand that some environments like that could ask for more. If very heavy environment and no mics and you play for five hours then there is a problem. I hope anyone in that environment  have mics and ear-protection. I don't like to play with earplugs. That's a big difference. Your experience is as good as mine, and I share my experience from my musical environment where people hold on to their parts because they play their part, their role. Of course you do what you have to do.

A solo can be passed or added depending on who is in the section. That's very common. The pro lead players I've played with are strong players and I have not noticed any fatigue from any pro leadplayer I've subbed with. If it happened they kept quiet about it and nobody noticed.

Kill another beeing? No just esspressive, whitty people with strong opinions. Not a weak character. Not a slow character and a character with nerves out of steel.

I agree on mindset. You have another hat on, if you play second and third or bass.

/Tom
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« Reply #29 on: Feb 14, 2018, 12:54PM »

...
Walt Stuart's Mickey band medleys made me a bit homicidal. A lead trumpet player used to grumble behind me "not another $#@$%@$ Mick chart" to which I'd reply "you pulled this set, dummy."

You pick on Walt Stuart when there are so many other arrangers who really don't have a clue?
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« Reply #30 on: Feb 14, 2018, 01:05PM »

I don't think I've ever personally played in a band where the parts didn't get shifted around at least a little on a gig.  Not necessarily fatigue, but yeah, I've been on pretty long sets and there's nothing sensible about wrecking your face for a bunch of drunk people at the end of a wedding. At least in my mind  ;-)
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« Reply #31 on: Feb 14, 2018, 01:18PM »

I don't think I've ever personally played in a band where the parts didn't get shifted around at least a little on a gig.  Not necessarily fatigue, but yeah, I've been on pretty long sets and there's nothing sensible about wrecking your face for a bunch of drunk people at the end of a wedding. At least in my mind  ;-)

Sounds like a good supporting band-environment  Good!

/Tom
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« Reply #32 on: Feb 14, 2018, 03:12PM »

You pick on Walt Stuart when there are so many other arrangers who really don't have a clue?

I dig Walt... but it's the mickey medleys he did, played gig after gig, that started wearing me down night after night. Good copy work, clear charts, but how many times can you play salute to the mickey bands no. 12,756 before you gotta grab a drink.
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« Reply #33 on: Feb 15, 2018, 04:47AM »

======

I've been a dedicated lead trombonist my entire career, though I do less of it these days. It's a lifestyle. A lead player must possess strong jazz sensibilities and a desire to delve into the history of the art form; listening to the precise details of all styles of big band, from mickey to modern. Minutiae, minutiae, minutiae. Wanzo, Bernhart, Zentner, Nash, Falco, Porter, and others. You gotta practice what you're gonna be playing.

A lot has already been said about practice drills, but for me, it's more a mindset than anything else. Have you ever wanted to kill another human being? I'm serious! If the answer is no, then you probably won't be much of a lead player, at least not one that I'd be interested in listening to. Harsh? Maybe.

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« Reply #34 on: Yesterday at 03:58 PM »

I don't think I've ever personally played in a band where the parts didn't get shifted around at least a little on a gig.  Not necessarily fatigue, but yeah, I've been on pretty long sets and there's nothing sensible about wrecking your face for a bunch of drunk people at the end of a wedding. At least in my mind  ;-)

Happens often around where I live. I think part if it isn't any kind of mentality so much as the pace of sets tend to be pretty quick - not much time for discussion on who wants to play what part.
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« Reply #35 on: Yesterday at 04:01 PM »

Yes.

I wouldn't call myself a dedicated lead player, I've always been a soloist who works hard at playing lead because it was never my "strong suit". However, for about 12 years I was primarily a lead player (who also played the lions share of solos) and as far as wanting to kill another human being, Walt Stuart's Mickey band medleys made me a bit homicidal. A lead trumpet player used to grumble behind me "not another $#@$%@$ Mick chart" to which I'd reply "you pulled this set, dummy."


More often than not, the charts that get my chops aren't super-rangey but are high-school charts, where the padding is pretty constant throughout. I suspect the idea there is that the rhythm section is still young and learning how to comp, so give them constant help in the horns. Makes for some pretty monotonous, tiring charts, and unfortunately I see some arrangers imitate that style for pro charts.
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« Reply #36 on: Yesterday at 04:34 PM »

More often than not, the charts that get my chops aren't super-rangey but are high-school charts, where the padding is pretty constant throughout. I suspect the idea there is that the rhythm section is still young and learning how to comp, so give them constant help in the horns. Makes for some pretty monotonous, tiring charts, and unfortunately I see some arrangers imitate that style for pro charts.
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« Reply #37 on: Yesterday at 06:11 PM »

A lot of rehearsal bands.

You can't do it in a practice room.

This.

I work on high register.  A lot.  There are many good suggestions, but this is the best. There is nothing like going out and playing lead to become a better lead player.  Practicing is crucial, but you cannot create the level of stress on your chops in the practice room.  The balance within the trombone section and the brass section, the power AND finesse needed, time, pitch, style, etc.

Then there is the music.  We haven't even gotten to that yet. 

You must have strong will, the ability to listen and hear at a very high level, and the depth of knowledge to interpret the music correctly.  The last part is the most important and hardest.

Where I live there is a world class university of jazz and I frequently have the students sub in a very fine rehearsal band I lead.  They are always excellent technical players, but don't understand the subtleties of big band lead playing.  I used a couple of them on a dance job recently, it was not good.  They couldn't read a lot of what are standard dance charts with anything near the correct sound/style/etc. 

They were great players, just inexperienced.  It takes time and everyone has to pay their dues of learning the music.  Experience is the best teacher.

DD
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« Reply #38 on: Yesterday at 08:20 PM »

Some random thoughts on this topic:

In addition to long tones and flexibility, I practice on keeping my sound centered. These days, I would say my sound seems compact and clear. As a lead player, I need to blend with the saxes and lead trumpet.

There is a big difference between playing lead and playing solos. Playing lead means high, clear sound wth correct articulation. Our Sinatra-style arrangement of Lady is a Tramp starts on a high Cand continues between G and high C for 8 bars. The articulations have to match the saxes and the lead trumpet wh is an octave above me. I find this intro as challenging as any solo and I had better get it right. I should figure out how to post it here.

To practice long tones, take your favorite ballads and play them at 1/4 speed; it's much more interesting than Remington. As I age, I need to play things like Rochut to keep control on my sound.

Depending on the band and the arrangement, the solo changes can be in the first or second part, sometimes the 3rd. There is one band in town where the band owner only puts the changes in the 2nd part as this is the jazz chair. Back in the day, it is my understanding that an arranger knew the player he was writing for, and many trumpet and sax solos were also spread throughout the section.

We all have favorite solos, and I have yet to convince the band owner to abandon the Mark Taylor arrangement of IGYUMS for the Nelson Riddle version. The singer and the MD are on board and we have it in the book. <sigh> 

The best band I play in moves solos and parts between players. I play bass bone there and I'm happy to be in the room.

That's enough for now.
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« Reply #39 on: Today at 05:53 AM »

This.

I work on high register.  A lot.  There are many good suggestions, but this is the best. There is nothing like going out and playing lead to become a better lead player.  Practicing is crucial, but you cannot create the level of stress on your chops in the practice room.  The balance within the trombone section and the brass section, the power AND finesse needed, time, pitch, style, etc.

Then there is the music.  We haven't even gotten to that yet. 

You must have strong will, the ability to listen and hear at a very high level, and the depth of knowledge to interpret the music correctly.  The last part is the most important and hardest.

Where I live there is a world class university of jazz and I frequently have the students sub in a very fine rehearsal band I lead.  They are always excellent technical players, but don't understand the subtleties of big band lead playing.  I used a couple of them on a dance job recently, it was not good.  They couldn't read a lot of what are standard dance charts with anything near the correct sound/style/etc. 

They were great players, just inexperienced.  It takes time and everyone has to pay their dues of learning the music.  Experience is the best teacher.

DD
======

Yes, experience is a great teacher but all of the experience in the world means nothing if you do not know what the music should sound like. That is my biggest beef with young players today. I ask them what they listen to and none of them listen to the great SWINGING bands of yesteryear. There were many great swinging bands and they all had their own way and style of doing things. Thank God; when individuality was desired instead of frowned upon in many instances, as it seems to be today. In my view, that's how I see it.

I was fortunate to have grown up playing in bands with older guys that helped invent the music. Guys that played with Goodman, Krupa, Basie. They grew up when there was no rock n roll so their concept of swing was, well, SWINGIN'!! Those days are long gone and so much of todays big band music is even eighth note non swinging stuff. Not a fan.

Yeah, I'm an old fart. But I can play!!

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