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Encountering Issues w/New 4 Pc. Jazz Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by EZLiu, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. EZLiu


    Dec 1, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Hello everyone,
    My friends and I have decided to start a jazz band. :D We are electric bass/baritone guitar (me), alto sax, tenor sax and piano/beginner guitar. We're having a hard time finding a drummer, and considering getting a guitarist since we might play some funk as well.
    I was wondering if anyone here knew of bands with a similar set up and had any music/song suggestions? Also, your opinions on this arrangement?
    Thanks a lot.
  2. bolophonic

    bolophonic SUSPENDED

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    To me, the beauty of jazz is that any combination of instruments can be made to work. Are you planning to play originals or standards?
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Might want to dig around Miles' Kind of Blue stuff and maybe start off with "So What" (added bonus for bassists ;)). If you want to go into funk/fusion territory, consider "Chameleon" by Herbie Hancock - it's a killer tune and fun to play. But I guess just about any "beginner" standard will do. But as a personal recommendation, how about "Nature Boy"? It's another easy one that might fit pretty well. Check out the Miles version with bones and vibes on it lol.

    Personal taste, but I'd rather have a trumpet or trombone instead of alto. But that may just be my Bb bias (I play tenor myself). That aside, pretty standard setup. Bass, drums and piano are THE quintessential rhythm group in jazz anyhow...
  4. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    I don't know if I would consider "Kind of Blue" beginner material. It may sound 'simple' but it takes an awful lot of creativity to play over 1 chord for 10 bars +...
  5. EZLiu


    Dec 1, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Bolophonic: That is true! I am a little worried about carrying the beat and the melody at the same time though, since we don't have a drummer as of now. I feel like a drum machine just wouldn't be the same. :/ We plan on playing some classics but also will get into more "new" jazz, say Jaga Jazzist or something like that.
    Nashrakh: Wow, thanks for all the suggestions! I'll have to listen to them. I already know of Chameleon/Herbie Hancock, I suppose if the pianist gets a keyboard a lot of our problems will be solved as well (especially the "wah" :D). I've been joking that we should get a cowbell or triangle to fill up the position of drummer/vibes, haha. I think it'd be nice to have a trumpet but trumpet players are hard to find!
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Yes, of course - then again I'd think if these guys want to start a jazz band they'll have some experience on their instruments. Personally I find it quite hard to solo over modal tunes, even though most of my favorite records are modal... Like Bitches Brew, it always blows my mind when Davis pulls stuff out of his bag of tricks on this.

    "Summertime" may also be a candidate, but it's hard to get Fitzgerald type dynamics into this... She was amazing!

    You could also cut your teeth on blues. There's a ton, pick one (I like Watermelon Man, also by Hancock)
  7. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I would look at the Jamey Aebersold Play along series and do all the easy tunes in them -- as much as your band members will agree to.

    Here are some suggestions

    Mr. P.C
    Blue Bossa
    Blue Monk
    Cantaloupe Island
    Watermelon Man
    Tune Up
    So What (from Kind of Blue)
    Song for My Father
    Lucky Southern
    Stolen Moments
    C Jam Blues
    Killer Joe
    Yardbird Suite (Parker)
    Au Privave (Parker)
    St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins)

    Most of these you can play top to bottom and they are easy chord changes.

    Also -- stick with standard tunes so when band members quit, leave, are not available, you can easily plug other musicians into them. If you are in Boston, there are probably a lot of musicians that know these tunes.

    If you want to get a drummer, then I suggest booking a free gig and advertising a paid position for the drummer for that gig. You'll get a lot of choices -- pick the guy that is the right fit. The band will get reimbursed for the drummer pay off the top of their next paid gig....see if that flies with the band. That's what I did when it was hard to get a guitar player for an 80's band I played in.
  8. EZLiu


    Dec 1, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Wow, thanks for all the suggestions!
    I also didn't think about that for the drummer... You're a smart one, bwardmusic. :D
  9. EZLiu


    Dec 1, 2013
    Boston, MA
    We've decided to start with Continuum (Jaco Pastorius). :D Thanks everyone for your help!
  10. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Good choice.

    Follow that sucker up with Havona...