Starting a Jazz Trio

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Banana_phone, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Hi there!
    I don´t really know were to put this, feel free to move this Mods.

    I´ve decided to try and put together (sp?) a Jazz "group" and I´ve got some questions for you comrandes:

    1- Are there any good trios that only use Sax, Bass and Drums? Is this going to be a problem (musician shortage is a pain in the bottom)?

    2- What are some resources I should look into soo I can learn how to play standards? I know about Real books but I´ve heard some are not accurate and stuff, soo, what should I look into?

    That´s it, thanks for reading. Feel free to drop some randomly related advice.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There are plenty of Jazz groups with Sax, Double Bass and Drums - Sonny Rollins favoured this format throughout most of his career - as did Lee Konitz.

    Lots of great recordings - Ed Fuqua turned me on to "Motion" by Lee Konitz! The trio format means you can hear the great walking bass lines more clearly! :)
  3. Hehe, Sonny Rollins is great, I´m just listening to it now on youtube.
  4. 3 musicians - 3 way split! :)

    A real book is a must I'd say. There are some more genuine up to date ones around, and providing you are all singing from the same hymn sheet in the band (as it were) it will all be good. The differences between different versions of real/fake books will probably only be slight anyway.
  5. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    As bassist you will have a big job holding the music together harmonically since there is no piano or guitar. Your choice of bass lines will need to swing and keep the groove of the melody present. The sax player can help out w/keeping the tune when not soloing by arpeggiating chord tones or by providing rythmic accents. In this small group setting the bassist has the opportunity to provide both time keeping while keeping the chordal and melodic structure present to the listeners ear. This trio could provide a great learning opportunity for you. As for music, the real books are a good place to start. The Aebersold music education material is excellent as well - you can play along w/exceptional jazz trios to help shape your sound
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not to unduly harsh, but shouldn't you at least get some background in playing the music before you put a band together? Do any of the other musicians you're talking about hiring have more experience with the music than you? How much more?

    If this is something you really want to do with yourself, my recommendation would be to find a pianist or guitarist who is an accomplished jazz player and go to them for lessons or "hire" them to play through tunes while you "...learn how to play standards...".

    Defining and propelling the harmonic framework of a tune in a compelling way is a challenge for even those of us who have been doing it for a long time (I've been playing jazz for almost 30 years now); if your trying to LEARN that and at the same time DO that, it can be a frustrating proposition. Like trying to learn Farsi AND write poetry in Farsi at the same time.
    Spend some time with more experienced musicians. Spend some time taking apart recordings, spend some time working on ear training, THEN call up some cats and put a band together....
  7. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Ed said it more directly than I did. It's a tall order to be a beginner jazz bassist w/no other chordal instrument to hold the tune and group together. Playing w/other musicians can be either a valuable learning experience or a frustrating waste of time. Check out the Ray Brown video series on Youtube and see how Ray so beautifully defines harmonic and rhythmic structure.
  8. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    Yup, Ed beat me to it. This is not something you want to just up and start on a whim. You want to make sure you KNOW jazz very, very well, and already have an idea of what you're going to do in the group. This is even more important in a trio setting without a harmonic player (such as a guitarists or pianist) since you're essentially the backbone of the group.

    Spend some time in jazz before jumping out yourself, because jumping the gun is a good way to screw yourself up.
  9. Bassman7PM


    Mar 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Powerbass, thanks for the link, very nice.
  10. Lessons, listening, ear training. All are excellent advice.

    IMMHO it's better to not wait and learn beforehand but just make a start and learn while you are doing, putting into practice what you learn ASAP.

    So if you just can't wait to start playing some jazz: find yourself an experienced band mentor/tutor/coach or whatever you'd want to call such a person to lead your band rehearsals.

    There's lots of relatively simple jazz stuff to play. Listen to good recordings of the tunes you might like to try. Make sure you have the right chords - from the Realbook.

    So I say go for it and have fun.
  11. Thanks for all the answers people!

    Yes, I´ve no experience when it comes to playing Jazz soo I know I have a long hard path ahead. Don´t fear, I´m not going to make a fool out of myself by jumping into the whole thing blind sighted.

    Maybe I should tell you more about myself and this whole thing:

    WARNING: tl;dr stuff ahead

    The whole idea of putting together the trio started this way: I allways wanted to learn how to play Jazz soo I can play it with others. Having grown in a house full of Jazz records (real vinyl ones), cds and books about the subject, it has grown into me (I consider my father a musician, althrough he doesn´t play any instrument if you know what I mean). Having now been playing the electric bass for 5 years, I now feel like my ear and technique allow me to final start the jorney. Thing is, not much musicians here were I live in, and zero playing Jazz (or wanting to learn).

    Having said that, my brother is a academic saxophonist with more than a decade of erudit music study, but his true passion is Jazz too. I asked him if he knows any drummer who would want to start a Jazz group with me and him and he said he did, soo I decided to get informed here on how to get started on my journey.

    WARNING: tl;dr finished

    Perhaps the most important thing is that I have all the time in the world to build a reportoir and get my stuff together before we all start playing together:D

    Soo how do I get started in KNOWING jazz very, very well, and having a idea of what I´m going to do in the group? I´ve listened to Jazz for some time now, but I want you to tell me as many things as I can get from you in relation to the subject.

    PS: those Ray Brown videos are gold! Thank you very much.
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  13. Thanks for the link Ed. Maybe I should ask this someone else but I live in Portugal and I went to the Sher Music Co. Dealers and Distributors page and it says: "If you live outside the USA, please ask your local music store to order our books from one of the foreign distributors listed below. Thanks! - Sher Music Co." Can I order it myself from the foreign distributors?
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I know that both or carry it, there's also some distributor in France that carries it cause it's shown up in a couple of discussions on music bulletin boards there. I don't know about anyone in either Portugal or Spain, but EU countries should ship to other EU countries, right?
  15. I´ll phone the shermusic foreign distribuitor in PT tomorrow. If they don´t sell me the book I´ll just hassle them and spam their faxes till they do (lies, lol). But yes, EU stores should be able to ship me the book to PT.
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    If you run into problems I'LL mail you one....
  17. mstott25

    mstott25 Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    I picked mine up in Iraq.

    Okay maybe Amazon delivered it there for me.

    But it's safe with me in Arizona now.
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    So he WAS right about weapons of mass destruction...
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Are you at Ft Huachuca? I grew up in SV....
  20. Kimpini


    May 14, 2008
    Is the book shown on this website spiral bound?