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Jazz fusion on the fly?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    OK, I'm in trouble.

    An ad went up on CL last night. Jazz/Funk/Fusion trio's bass player broke his hand and they need a sub NOW. As in, "gigs this weekend" now. Like an idiot, I threw my hat in the ring this morning, called and said I'm available. So apparently now I'm the guy, meeting the other two tonight. Don't know any of their set list, never really played the genre before. The BL says it's all easy stuff, and I pulled up their webpage and found I could jam along to the three tracks they had up without too much trouble, but man - a full gig, day after tomorrow?


    Any suggestions?
  2. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Crank the mids and use a fuzz.
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Get a set list PRONTO!

    ...Deaf Cats! :p
  4. autodidact


    Mar 13, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    no way, scoop the mids so all they can hear is a dull rumble, no one will know if you mess up

  5. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Get a little notepad and write chord charts on it in Sharpie. I | I | vi | ii | iii | V | I, that kind of thing. Then write the title of each song at the top and a couple of arrangement notes to jog your memory. If you aren't familiar with the tune, maybe note another tune that it reminds you of.

    Take that to the gig, set it on your amp or a chair, and flip it as the songs come up. Nobody will fault you and you may find you only need to look at it for a few seconds each song.

    This has gotten me through many pickup gigs.
  6. Jazz/fusion - if you're playing electric, crank your strap up until your bass sits right under your chin. Then, while you're playing, make a face like a constipated baby. Keep your amp level low enough, and you'll pass with flying colors.
  7. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Babies are cute, this is great advice.
  8. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    At the risk of helping turn this thread serious this is actually good advice. I've done this several times on pickup gigs and while it's never perfect it always got me through.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Thanks guys! Definitely doing the notepad thing. Met the crew last night. The bassist with the broken thumb was there, really nice, talked me through the tunes. They've had multiple people reply and lots of gigs booked so they're parting them out - one guy has tonight, another Friday, I've got Saturday. Gives me a couple days to get up to speed, which is good since I'm not as experienced as the others. Restaurant gigs, not a lot of money but also not out till 1 am, and I've had worse pay, plus looking forward to the challenge musically. The songs don't seem too hard, so I think I'll be able to pull it off (crossing fingers).
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    There's a local player that does just that. His tone sounds like a@@ but nobody can tell that he's messing up the notes. :eyebrow:
  11. Be upfront with them about the songs you had trouble with. Ask one of them to give you strong cues to help it go smoothly.
    eg. Count out loud the 2/4 bars, call out sections/ endings/ etc.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    The last time I subbed was for a bass player who mashed up
    his thumb while trying to unclog a snow blower. Ouch!
    I got a few gigs while he was out.
  13. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Sounds like a great opportunity for growth. Tear it up!
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    If you hit bad notes, just say, "hey man; it's jazz. That's MY interpretation."

    And look really serious when you say it.
  15. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Parallel minor seconds on the low octave are my THING man.
  16. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Yes, take notes. Keep your ears wide open on the gig to listen for those cues to the changes. I think listening is just as big a part of playing as playing is. ;)

    As much as you can, get their set list as mp3 files and listen constantly. You'll be surprised how much you can absorb by "osmosis".

    I'm sure you'll do fine. Break a leg!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  17. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    Hey, that's why it's called "Improvisation". To make something out of it on the spot is the point exactly. You'll do fine
  18. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    Joking aside... Get the set list, get charts from the guy you are subbing for if you can. Write your notes in Sharpie so you can see them! Watch for cues. Use your ears! I am envious, because you are about to have fun!
  19. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    And remember, you're never more than a half step away from a note that works.
  20. Or do it again and say, "I meant to do that."

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