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so what do you guys think? (jazz critique)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by livinitup0, Jan 16, 2012.


  1. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    Hey guys, sorry if this isn’t the appropriate forum to post this in but I wasn’t sure…mods feel free to move if need be…still getting the hang of TB.

    I just got an email this morning from my BL criticizing my playing from a gig on Friday…

    Essentially he said that I didn’t follow the form of the song right, my intonation was completely off for an entire set and I was “over-playing” a “ton”. – Yes he’s a control freak but he’s the boss. I enjoy playing in the group, he’s a good player and Ive learned a lot from him… but lately im starting to question some of the things he’s telling me… I mean I’ll play what he wants…its his gig….but I do question his criticisms.

    Some background…
    Ive been in this group about 5 months. We gig every week. It’s a jazz group. I have rehearsed with this group exactly 0 times. They don’t want to rehearse… I don’t know if that’s the BL’s decision or the rest of the guys….either way we sound pretty good and since it is “chart-jazz” I suppose we could easily get away with never practicing although I think its going to limit our opportunities.

    IMO the only real issues with me playing are when BL calls a song ive never done and im essentially sight reading chord charts without playing or sometimes even hearing a song before… again…I don’t see a huge problem with it…it always sounds pretty good to me and we always get a good response. I suppose I could work out every song but BL always wants to change the feel of the tune so out of about 150 possible tunes he has 5-6 different styles or feels that he’ll just randomly call out before a song… so instead of 150 tunes we’ve essentially got 900 tunes and its not really possible for me to learn every song in every style. I basically just find a groove that fits and adapt it to the chords, with a lot of walking for the standard swingers.

    I know, I know… this is probably a little weird of a situation for most people reading this but its kind of a standard gig for us jazz guys. There’s not a lot of memorization, static bass lines… its mainly reading and playing by ear and feel.

    Here is one of the songs he’s questioning… id love to hear some feedback about my playing (namely addressing the points BL made) and the overall sound of the group.
    It’s a Monk tune….and it was the first time I had played it. (recipe for disaster) I know im not great but I didn’t think I was all over the place or playing a million wrong notes… what do you guys think?

    hopefully this link works... wasnt sure where to host this since it was too big to attach.

    Download Monks Dream 020113 000623.mp3 - Kiwi6.com Mp3 Upload
     
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I did find it a bit on the busy side (just MY opinion). That tune just requires standard walking. Intonation off? You did sound a bit out of tune but so did the singer, to be honest!
     
  3. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    I dont know... I guess I kinda feel like just standard walking lines are just too boring, i like putting more into them....do you think it makes it sound worse than just standard walking would? Im still new with my fretless too... just started playing it seriously when I got into this group so thats why it probably sounds a little out of tune....need to work a little on how far that pinky goes :)
     
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    You have to understand, if you're doing someone else's gig, play what they ask for or need. Take the 'me' out of the equation! The bassline is boring to you but it's what they want. And I would spend some more time practicing on the fretless before playing out with it. Until then, play the fretted (solo the neck pickup and eq the treble out). An easy way to lose a gig is to not comply what is asked of you. You can definitely play very well!

    This is just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. :)
     
  5. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Sorry to be blunt, but yes. I don't hear a ton of outright clams, but you are definitely overplaying. It sounds like you are competing with the vocalist and soloists for attention, rather than providing a solid foundation for them. As just one example, at 3:10, are you listening to what the piano is playing, or are you thinking about what you are playing?
     
  6. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    hey thanks man... yeah I know i need some work on the fretless to make sure I really hit those notes in tune every time... I wanted to keep playing my fretted for that reason but BL said he wants the fretless....told him its going to take a little while to get used to it and he said he'd rather me play it anyway...he likes the tone.

    I guess I'll cut back a bit on the busy lines... I genuinely thought it was making the songs better. I see a noticable difference in the audience when I just trod along walking on standard AABA swing charts and when I try to put "more" into into the groove....but you're right....his band I guess... I'll do what im told and maybe one day I'll do something on my own to indulge a little more musically.
     
  7. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    I try my best to listen to each part... but you're right... I guess I need to try and keep a better ear for him. I tend to go off on my own with the drummer sometimes.
     
  8. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Well, I would agree that you go off on your own, but I don't think that you're with the drummer. For example, at about 1:25 in the second A section of the first scat chorus, the drummer is laying down a really nice goove. He's got quarter notes going on the ride, backbeats on the hat, and a nice little cross-stick thing on the down beat of 4. Your piano player is doing some really solid comping. If you lock in a nice solid walking line with that ride, it would pull everything together, the tune would really swing, and the singer/soloist would have a solid foundation for his solo. Instead, it sounds to me like four individuals fighting each other.

    In my opinion, you need to focus more on laying a solid foundation. If you want to indulge yourself musically, ask the bandleader for some solo space, and develop some of those ideas then, but don't do it during other people's solos, when your focus should be on providing a solid harmonic and rhythmic foundation for what they're playing.

    Best of luck.
     
  9. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    For reading gigs, leave the fretless at home unless you've got spot on intonation while reading.

    You are a bit busy and the time lags in places. It's not swinging at all. Try to play more straight ahead walking and make it swing more.
     
  10. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    thanks for the suggestions and comments... in my head I always think im grooving and laying down something solid for everyone but I guess it can get lost when i just try to put too much into it.... i guess I could admit that since Im probably the weakest link in the group I feel ive got something to prove....especially since the bassists that have come before me were really good. I should probably try not to obsess so much about proving that I can hang with these guys with more notes.
     
  11. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    I'll post another song from that night hopefully tonight... its more of a funk/latin tune so im interested to see what people think there....probably too busy but im really appreciating the comments.

    thanks guys
     
  12. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Trust me, these guys won't be impressed by a lot of notes. They'll be impresssed with notes that swing.

    Let me add: don't be discouraged by these comments. You've got some chops. You just need to learn how to apply them to this style.
     
  13. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Definitely not swinging. I can tell you're a very able player, but you're definitely not playing for the song itself.:bassist:
     
  14. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Mar 22, 2011
    NYC
    Maybe the audience doesn't respond to you when you are playing a straight ahead walking line because you aren't committed to that style. Your Passion comes through and infects the music. If you really burn with intensity on every note and swing like a mad man the audience will groove right with your 'simple' (lol) walking line.
     
  15. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    as far as the fretless....thats not really my call... I talked to BL about this, saying Id sound better for now on a fretted...but hes adamant about the fretless and its tone...and since its his gig I play what he wants me to....just like im attempting to work on the issues he brought up with this stuff too.
     
  16. These guys are right, and I'm glad to see you're taking the feedback on board. With that sort of response to a critique you'll do well.
     
  17. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    ^^^^^What that guy said.
     
  18. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    you're a good player bro.

    you need to tame your chops to fit the song better. intonation and time are off. you need to simplify and nail the feel and the intonation.
     
  19. livinitup0

    livinitup0

    Dec 22, 2011
    thanks for the compliments guys I really appreciate it...

    I havent been playing serious jazz for very long and before about 5-6 months ago i took a couple years off from playing because of some personal issues. (Im 30 so it was probably the worst musical mistake i could have made taking off that time during my 20's) I know ive got some work to do with overall sound and working with these guys effectively but its really nice to see fellow bassists give me props on chops.

    I'll post some more tunes as soon as I can.
     
  20. This.. it's great you've got some chops and it sounds like you have a great attitude, now just make better decisions on when to apply your chops.. i.e. lock in with your drummer and piano player first and keep the ship afloat.. take more chances when they give you a solo..
     

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