jazz band audition

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by thathatman, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. thathatman


    Sep 17, 2002
    La Mirada, CA
    Hey guys,
    I am planning to try out for my university's jazz band next year. I have quite a long time to get ready, and to put it bluntly, I want to totally blow away the director. I think I am going to play Jaco's version of Donna Lee (the full thing).
    Are there any other pieces that I could play that would really set me apart from the rest? What do you veterans think of Donna Lee? Please help me out , I am very serious about this.
  2. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    donna lee is a great chart that is easily recognizable. one questions, are you going to do exactly jaco's version or are you gonna play your own things while playing through the changes?

    i think to really blow away your director (in addition to great chops) you should demonstrate proficiency in your scales, chords, improv, and bassline construction.

    good luck

  3. thathatman


    Sep 17, 2002
    La Mirada, CA
    Well, I don't know for sure yet. I have learned about half of the solo. I think I will probably learn the whole thing, and then pilfer from it to create my own solo.

    Yeah, I know it is important to show those things you listed, but how would I do that? Donna Lee is less than 3 minutes of music. I would like to have 10-12 minutes of music prepared just in case.
    Thanks for your reply!
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Play great time - that's what a jazz band needs from a bass player.
  5. Make sure you can walk pretty solidly. Sight reading is good, too. If I remember correctly, jazz band auditions for bassists here include some excerpt of music you're given ahead of time, walking through a couple of simple things like an F blues, and perhaps some sight reading. They want you to play both upright bass and bass guitar here, as well, but requirements may differ for you.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Funk Engineer-do you play for the Purdue Jazz Band? If so, i'll be at the Purdue Jazz Fest. :)

    I have no contribution to the actual thread. That's all
  7. learn all the variations on blues you can. i mean like rather than playing a rock blues, adding the IV in the second bar, and ending with a VI-II-V-I rather than V-IV-I. that kind of thing demonstrates knowledge of general jazz which is just as important as technique.
  8. It's cool to play Donna Lee, but the director will be more blown away if you can swing your a$$ off. Pacman and Jimbo said it exactly.
  9. Yep. I'll go out on a limb and say that the chances of you playing the head during a recital is very small. I would just work on playing solid walking lines that don't step on anyone's toes, playing them in great time, and making them swing. Instead of learning one particular piece, practice soloing over everything you can get ahold of. It would be awful if you spent all that time working up donna lee and then have the director pull out a bossa or waltz for you to solo over :D Speaking of bossa's, don't neglect your latin playing. Most university jazz groups always do a few latin tunes during the course of the year.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with the advice about playing great time - but I would suggest that you are coming at this from the wrong angle if you are playing Jazz to impress people with your chops - and that it is even more futile to try to impress the director - he (or she)has probably seen it all before many times and is more interested in getting everybody together as unit - and a bassist on an ego trip is the last thing he will be looking for!!
  11. I used to play bass trombone in one of Purdue's jazz bands (not the one called "The Purdue Jazz Band," though). I'm taking a semester off because I have no time, and next semester I'll play bass trombone in the symphonic band.

    I've been learning how to walk on bass for less than a year, and I've never played upright (they use some horrible sounding electric uprights at Purdue). I figure with there being one bassist per band, and most of those guys having been doing it a lot longer, my chances of making it are slim. If I had time, I'd probably give it a go, but with my poor time management skills and engineering classes, it won't be soon.
  12. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Here's how not to get that gig.

    Spend the next year learning "Donna Lee", and nothing else.

    You're in the LA metro area, no? My advice to you is find a teacher, of which the LA area has loads, and tell him your goal, and work towards that goal. I can guarantee you your teacher won't say "let's spend the next year learning Jaco's version of Donna Lee note-for-note."

    What will "impress" the jazz band director is your ability to read, groove, play in time, SWING, follow the director, SWING, and maintain positive attitude and work ethic. Oh yeah, and your ability to SWING. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the list will be your ability to solo. But that wouldn't hurt.
  13. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    ill echo the sentiments of others and say youd be misguided in trying to work on solo bass for this audition. they want you to play the chart as written and swing. if you were going for a combo, some soloing might come your way, but for a big band, just worry about playing for a group.
  14. thathatman


    Sep 17, 2002
    La Mirada, CA
    You guys are right - the chances of any director wanting a showboat bassist are pretty low. Thanks for setting me on the right track! I guess it's time to shack up with some charts and find a good teacher.
    Once again, thank you.
  15. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Well, I think that it is VERY important to learn more than one style of music. A great suggestion was Latin Jazz, Almost all school jazz bands cover one or two Latin songs. If you were to choose ONE song to practice, IMO It should be Havona From Jaco, BUT I really dont think you should only practice ONE song for half a year...

    Good luck.

    Oh, one more thing, Try to find music from last year, from THAT school. Listen to how they sound, Listen to the Bassist. That will help you, you can find the strenghts and Weaknesses and build up on them. Also, like already stated, Your Solo skills are WAY DOWN on the list.