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Playing Ballads You Don't Know

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by David Kaczorowski, Jan 10, 2001.


  1. Ed mentioned not knowing Lotus Blossom at a jam session. How do you cats deal with a ballad you don't know and don't have a chart for, like at a jam session? I think uptempo tunes in 4 are easier to fake. But I think ballads, with the slow tempo and wide open spaces, are tough to fake, and even tougher if the melody is being embellished a lot. What are you all doin' in that situation?
     
  2. Gee, that's never been a problem for me. I can play any ballad ever written in any key......;)
     
  3. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hmm you guys don't have the 'Compendium of Every Tune Ever Written's Key Changes' implanted on microchip into your brain like me?
     
  4. Don, it looks like Learnatune gave up your secret!
     
  5. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Who sells these? Can I install it myself?
     
  6. I'm doing a concert Sunday afternoon. They want a voice/bass duet with me and this girl singer. She wants to do Porter's 'It's Alright With Me'. I called to ask what key she did it in, because it lends itself to some nice lines. I tell her in the original key, Cm/Eb, the range is a minor 10th from middle C. In a real concerned voice, she says "Oh, I don't want anything to interfere with the improvising." Like if she told me in advance we were doing it in G#m/B it wouldn't be "real jazz." And she acts like a real bass player wouldn't have to ask. Which is her way of saying "I don't know." And girl singers just don't understand why we tell so many jokes about them.
    And I guarantee you this: she'll **** up the ending. Everybody thinks you sing "It's alright" twice before the last line. Nope.

    [Edited by Don Higdon on 01-12-2001 at 02:58 PM]
     
  7. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Maybe that's like some sort of code. Its in the key of 'I'.
     
  8. DEFUNGUS, DEFUNGUS!!
    If you see Sanni again, please tell her my best regards and good luck there. She´s a friend of mine, a really good singer and just moved to NY. She´s got my vote too, every place, every time! So, next time you play with her, keep in mind that you are in good company....
    Ain´t world a small place?
     
  9. ED, we have never had a gig together, since Sanni has not spent too much time here up north, but studied in Graz, Austria. Last summer I booked a coupla gigs for her through the organisation I work for ( a city festival in Helsinki called Art goes Kapakka ). Out of respect I sure hope she hits big there, since she´s some of the most valuable kind....good ears, perfect time, nice technique. Make friends with her, she´s cool.
    Sanni is big in Krakow, Poland too, where my dear friend Grzegorz Tusiewich is a great fan of her and gets her good gigs.

    R2D2
     
  10. Ed - In keeping with the title of this thread, do you know the changes to "When Sanni Gets Blue"?
     
  11. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Isn't it great to play with singers who are actually musicians? I've been playing lately with a 14 year old who really impresses me. Her dad (Stephen Fulton) taught with Clark Terry Jazz camps, and she is as musical as any singer I've ever played with. Once she wanted to sing a song that we weren't familiar with, so she sat down on break and wrote out the changes in her head!! Watch for the name Champian, she is already a good pianist and decent trumpeter (just sickening, isn't it). For a laugh, check out the story I posted on bassist John Adams site regarding "less musical" singers; third story down the page. http://www.congruentmusic.com/stories.html

    Monte
     
  12. MONTE KAY: IMHO it should be default that a singer HAS to be a musician. Man, for me it´s a default that my DRUMMER can sing every tune we play....solos included.

    There are lots of ( girls ) who think that if they know the words of a tune, have an idea of the key and some hint of the melody, then they just come to stage and perform their idea of "jazz". But THAT ( or hanging out with musicians ) does not make anybody a singer, though.

    If I can sing my lines, I should be able to play them, too.
    But if I´d hire someone as singer, why would I have to stand someone who actually can´t do what everybody else does?
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Actually I know a few Jazz guys who have all the changes from various Real Books amongst others on their little hand-held Palm Pilot organisers. So they can look down into their case and bring up the song instantly and everybody thinks they are just intuitively great! Actually, I made up that last bit out of jealousy - I think it's a good idea really!
     
  14. I gig with a Brazilian guy who has made a program to his laptop computer. The program scrolls the lyrics of the bossa nova standards on the screen while he sings them. He keeps the machine in front of him, and people always ask what the hell is the computer for...and I keep shouting from behind that this guy is just such an airhead that he can´t remember the lyrics of Girl from Ipanema by heart.
    ( I sure hope he never reads this..)

    R2D2
     
  15. Hmm.."live" karaoke...interesting concept!
     
  16. sbassett

    sbassett

    Apr 2, 2000
    "Actually I know a few Jazz guys who have all the changes from various Real Books amongst others on their little hand-held Palm Pilot organisers. So they can look down into their case and bring up the song instantly and everybody thinks they are just intuitively great! Actually, I made up that last bit out of jealousy - I think it's a good idea really!"

    There is a great project idea! Do a Palm document version of the changes for all the tunes in the Real Book, then post it on a shareware or freeware site (handango or palmgear, for example) for download by all of us Palm-using bassists (and others, of course). Has anyone already done this? If so, are you willing to share your work?
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    A guy I work with here in town has had a book out for about the last 20 years with the changes to about 400 standards in it. It's called "Pocket Changes", and it's about the size of a Palm Pilot (maybe slightly bigger, and thicker for sure). Many of the changes are somewhat debatable, but it's a fairly easy thing to pencil in the ones you prefer in places. I have found this book to be a lifesaver on gigs to get me in the ballpark with tunes I'm sketchy on, or to allow me to get through tunes I just flat don't know. I think it's available through Aebersold's catalog, but if not and you're interested, I could hook you up with the guy who sells it. Most of the guys around here have them, and even Jamey uses them during sessions to save time.