Gig Games

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Marcus Johnson, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    So, I found myself once again with my pianist buddy, in my cushy four-nighter mortgage-paying gig at a world-class hotel. At the end of the first set, I observed that every tune, save one, was in the key of C. This is just sick and wrong, to me. So I imposed a quickie de facto rule for the following set; play whatever you like, but we must sequentially go through the circle of 5ths, no exceptions. So, you might get "C Jam Blues" in B..... or you might get "Quiet Now" in F#. It worked out pretty well, he seemed to get into the spirit of it. Yeah, I know it's a different game on piano. He did very well.

    My question is; what are your favorite bandstand games to keep the brain in the game? I like impromptu key changes; it seems to be a big surprise from the bassist, although the pianist often has carte blanche to do likewise. I've enjoyed Real Book Roullette; stick your finger into the book, flip, and whatever comes up, you play. What else you got?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Changing the meter of a tune you're getting tired of is always a sure way to keep you on your toes. You'd be surprised how fresh something like "All Blues" can suddenly become when you play it in 11.

    When I used to play with Jamey a lot, he used to like to play at least one tune per set that modulated every chorus. All I can say is, it's a hell of a lot easier on the bassist than the pianist (translation: When I used to play piano on those gigs, I used to curse his name every time he called one of these. Now that I'm on bass, I just smile and watch the pianist sweat). :D
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    If I'm working with somebody I don't particularly like, I enjoy Playing "Hear THIS, Mother****er?"
  4. FredH

    FredH Supporting Member

    If there’s an attractive girl in hip huggers on the dance floor the drummer immediately goes to a Latin groove, can last a while...
  5. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    This is some good stuff...makes me glad I'm not a pianist.
  6. There's an old road game that Phil Urso taught me. A person calls the name of a tune...say: 'Poor Butterfly'. The next person has to call a tune begining with the last letter of the prior tune: Y from Butterfly. Next person: 'Yesterdays' Next would be an S from yesterdays, and so on.
    Normally, you play this in the car, on a road trip, on the way to a gig.
    One night, I thought: Why not play this on the bandstand to call the tunes? You run out of the letter E real fast, because many tunes end in the letter E, but not many tunes start with that letter!
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Good one, we'll do that tomorrow.

    As an update, I seem to have created a monster; this guy's been playing tunes in everything BUT the original key. I'm fine with that, I'm getting to hear lots of new sections of the La Scala ;) . It seems to have sparked an interest in new tunes as well. This guy is a great player who just happens to have a smaller bag of familiar tunes to pull from than I do. So, a weekly four-nighter can become redundant quickly. I've been trying to bring in new tunes on a regular basis, and he's responding very enthusiastically. Between that and playing the gig unamplified, we're enjoying the gig a lot lately.
  8. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I like to play "where did I get lost?" where am I now? :D
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hah! I got that one down pat. Good thing we thrive on chaos.

    That reminded me of something that Marc Johnson said once, regarding his stint with Bill Evans. John Abercrombie was in the audience at one of their shows. At the first break, John came up to Marc and said "Man that was great....I didn't know where "one" was the whole f***in' set!"
  10. Yeah Marcus, I love it!!!!
    A great teaching aid....I have a really clean copy of Bill playing 'All of You' by himself on that Marian McPartland 'Piano Jazz' PBS show. Marian asked him to demonstrate 'displacement', and, does he ever!! Anyway, write out those changes and instruct your students to try to stay with him. A great excercise, but not for the faint of heart. :crying: