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Seeking The Advice of Experienced Working Jazz Bassists

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by cassanova, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I don't often ask stupid questions like these so please bear with me on this one.

    I was browsing through a local website and noticed this particular ad there.

    Jazz bass player needed in the USF area for established Jazz trio (piano, drums, bass)
    The repertoire will be based on the most popular “Standards” from the new real book.
    No extreme Jazz experience is required. Contact Simone if interested.

    I've never played jazz nor do I really listen to it. Just the smooth jazz that you hardcore jazzers don't consider jazz.

    I don't know what they mean by extreme jazz for one. So if someone could kindly tell me what the heck that is, Id be much oblidged.

    My real dilema is this, I dont know if I should even try to arrange an audition. Like I said, Ive never played nor do I listen to jazz. Any other style and Im brimming with confidence, but jazz just scares the hell outta me. I'm assuming that it's going to be a cover band since they stated its standards from the "new real book". Whatever that is.

    Is this stuff as hard to play as I'm imagining? Not that Im scared to play something hard, Im just really paranoid of setting up an audition and blowing it badly and possibly ruining a good reputation that I'm starting to build in the area. I know its alot of walking lines and those arent really my forte and a big weakness of mine.
  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    How much time do you have before the audition? If you have a week or two, I'd suggest getting a hold of a Real Book and giving the songs a try.

    Some of the standards can be quite tricky if you are encountering them for the first time - the more so if you don't usually listen to this type of thing.

    "No extreme Jazz experience" sounds a bit vague. I have no idea what the heck that means either. Then again, I'm no hardcore jazzer - just someone who has done a bit of it here and there...
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, I don't exactly qualify either, but I have been to a lot of straight ahead Jazz gigs, where the band will play "Standards" - or songs from the Real Book.

    But it is not what you might call "Covers" - the tunes will provide a basis for improvisation - which will last for anything up to 15-20 minutes -with about 1 minute of tune. Also - you will be expected to improvise a non-repetitive(walking usually) bass line for all the tunes - you will only get chord charts and almost never a written bassline.

    In most gigs - you will be expected to know these standards inside out and also recognise re-harmonisations, chord substitutions etc. You will have to know about things like trading 8s and 4 s with the drums and will almost certainly have to play improvised solos over the chord changes on occasions.

    A Jazz trio is very demanding and a lot of effort for the bass player - not to be taken lightly!
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    The New Real Book is a pretty good reference to a wide range of tunes within a very broad definition of 'jazz' - from 1930's show tunes to 'modern' jazz-fusion from Weather Report and others. Find out more from the publishers, Sher Music (nb. there used to be several illegal 'Real Books' floating about... this one is fully above board and a worthwhile resource).

    If you've got no interest in jazz, then give it a miss - if it's something you want to get into, then I'd ring Simone and have a chat. For example, ask if she can recommend any easily available recordings that reflect the sound they are after and then hunt them down.

    Chances are that you won't get the gig, unless they have a real hard job tracking down people who've spent longer absorbing the jazz vibe, but if you're up front about where you're coming from and they still invite you along, you will probably learn something if nothing else.

    Is there any particular reason why you're interested in this gig if you don't listen to anything other than smooth jazz?

  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I havent arranged an audtion yet, I only stumbled across the ad just a few minutes before I made this post actually. I was thinking about going when I get paid this Thursday and getting a copy of the book and then just shedding my @ss off. Cos to me they will all be tricky if its like Im thinking.

  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes but the actual quote was "the most popular “Standards” from the new real book. "

    "Standards" has a particular meaning in Jazz circles - usually it is "the repertoire" that everybody should know really well - as in, without music in front of you, in any key and to the point that you could play it in your sleep.

    Most common are based on 32 bar show tunes - with walking bass lines, at brisk tempos. Although ther are also a lot of slow ballads - but they often get played at brisk tempos as well! ;)
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I would imagine that it would be expected at minimum, that you could play very strong improvised walking lines to a fair number of standards.

    "I was thinking about going when I get paid this Thursday and getting a copy of the book and then just shedding my @ss off. Cos to me they will all be tricky if its like Im thinking."

    My copy of the New Real Book has over 430 pages of A4 sheet music - that's a lot of shedding!! :D
  8. Also, it might be a good idea to know if they want a DB player or if slab's okay.
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Ok 86 everything I just said about the jazz band. I just got a couple of reply emails from her and she told me the jazz band was an old ad, but shes still looking for a bassist for a different project. One thats more up my alley and leaves me with less paranoia.

    gave me the link to her site too www.seriasworld.com and a pretty big song list, including the key they play them in. Claims to have gigs lined up etc. So if I can make the kinda money I want playing with her, I'll give it a go.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's great - sounds like a well-organised gig. I'd still buy the Real Book though - it's definitely worth playing tunes like this for experience and interest. Take a few at a time - much better than trying to do them all in a week! :)
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Oh without a doubt Im still going to buy the Real Book. The way I see it, it can only make me better and more prepared if I should seek another jazz band.

    On a side note, whats the money situation like with jazz bands? Are they like rock/metal ones, only bring home $25 a night if youre lucky, or do they pay more like Im used to, $100 or more per gig
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I think most of what I would have said has been covered by Bruce & wulf, I just thought I might add...

    Not to put a damper on things, just wanted to warn you! If you decide to go for it, best of luck! But, I do suggest you do some listening first, as well as getting a real book and studying it.

    EDIT: Just looked back at the title of the thread. By replying, I'm not claiming to be an experienced working Jazz bassist :D
  13. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Oh Cass, you let them know that you're an electric bassist, right?
  14. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Ah - but as one of those esteemed Talkbassers reminded me, not all of those are "standards" ;)

    One of the good things about the New Real Book is that as well as a master index at the front, it also provides lists such as 'jazz standards' and 'pop/fusion classics'. A very helpful resource, not least because you don't have to learn every song to pick up a good grounding in a particular area of jazz.

  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I still wouldn't fancy learning all the Standards in the New Real Book in a week - starting from scratch! :eek:

    Ed is right that "throwing yourself in at the deep end" can be a great way to learn - but it can also be a great way to totally ruin your confidence.

    I remember the first Jazz Summerschool I attended, witha group of 5 other people, I knew from my hometown - we were all basically beginners at Jazz, although I was more confident as I had been playing bass for a long time - so rated myself at "Intermediate" !! ;)

    So - this meant we were all thrown into a small group situation for a week, with players who were better and more experienced than we were.

    I loved it, although I got a few pointed comments from our drummer, who thought I ought to know more standards - what have you been playing then? But generally I learned a huge amount and was inpired to come again.

    BUT - we were sharing accommodation, so met up at the end of each day - what dramas we had each day - many tears were shed!! So two or three of the others were in the same group and really struggling - they were totally freaked out by having to perform before the whole course each evening - even though it was an incredibly supportive audience who all clapped every solo - no matter how bad as they knew there was a chance they would mess up themselves! ;)

    The female clarinet player who was in our flat, was in tears every night and was totally destroyed as a player by the experience, and when we got back home changed job, stopped playing Jazz and went into the catering trade!! Although when we were doing classes together in Brighton, she was the most keen and had been the one who initially suggested we all go to the Summer school! :(
  16. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'd be interested to see a few lists of 'essential standards'. I've listened to a lot of jazz and I've worked on quite a few tunes out of the Real Book, but I wouldn't pretend to be widely experienced on the jazz scene (yeah, I know the thread asked for 'experience working jazz bassists' but I took a liberty ;) ).

    If you had to narrow it down to ten or even five key standards, what would they be (and why?)?

  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The "Jazz Theory Book" has a list of essential standards to know, at the end of the book - but it does run to 965! The trouble is you can't get it down to about 10 or so as everybody seems to have their own list, which is different from everybody else's. So you could maybe get it down to about 100 !!

    But somebody would still say : how can you leave off xxxxxxx!! ?? ;)
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
  19. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Ain't that the truth. :D

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