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What's the hardest chart you've ever had?

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by thrash_jazz, Feb 27, 2002.


  1. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hello,

    Just wondering what the toughest chart you've ever had to play was. What was it that made it tricky? Did you come up with any "aids" to help you with it, etc.

    Myself, my memory is a bit spotty because the last reading gig I had was about 3 years ago... we did a tune by Duke Ellington, the name of which I can't remember, that I had a lot of trouble with at first, because a) it was fast; b) it was in a modal key I hadn't had a lot of experience with; and c) the changes didn't repeat all that often.
     
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    First night with a new big band. Scott Reeves called the chart for "Tricotism" with modulations.
     
  3. Definately some of the salsa charts I was playing last year with Orquestra Melaza. Some of those had the craziest repeats, which at times seemed to jump all over the place, mixed with the occassional few bars of a very tricky syncopated written line I had to play either with or counter to some other part, and (depending on which variation of the tumbao I was playing) the root of each chord is played on the fourth beat of the preceeding measure and tied to the and of one. All of that makes for some tough reading.

    Trying to sight read tunes like Speak No Evil at fast tempos can be tough too...
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Yah, that's a good one! I have that on an ancient mulit-LP collection called "The Bass" Pettiford is SO fluid, and it sounds great too.
     
  5. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hehe... that's basically what I was trying to find out! :)

    I'm not sure that any of the charts I've played or seen would qualify as "difficult" by many of you folks' standards (maybe some of the ones in instructional books, which I couldn't do) so I wanted to find out what more advanced readers such as EGG MOCHA thought was difficult...

    Do I really want to know? Probably not, but let's hear it anyway.
     
  6. I'll try that, and if the tempo isn't fast enough I'll have to double time it.

    Oh, and as for the most ****** up chart to read... the charts from the salsa band. Did I mention that the arranger thought that by writing the key signature at the beginning he could write all the chord symbols as naturals like everything was in C major. At first I thought my intonation was just horrendous, then I realized all the D, G and A chords written on the chart were really Db, Gb, and Ab.
     
  7. Beethoven's 9th
     
  8. Some of the salsa bands I have played with have had the worst charts. The "roadmap" concept is often overlooked with these bands. double/triple codas , repeats from hell [:-----47-----:] 7x , lack of key sigs...Its often easier to just try and hear it.
     
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    How about an outdoor week of West Side Story during an unseasonal cold snap early in the fall (mid 30's). Pretty rough sounding pit orchestra. Especially my chair.
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This reminded me of a gig I went to at my local Jazz club - so it was the Bobby Wellins quartet - the leader being a very well-respected Scottish tenor player. So the gig was going very well and the rhythm section were really relaxed but getting into it - playing all "standards".

    Without any warning, about half way though, Bobby Wellins reached into his bag and pulled out two really scrappy, curled-up pieces of A4 and put them down in front of the pianist and bassplayer - he proceeded to launch into the head - an original ballad with no count-in, before the band had even glanced at this - having played the head, he walked off stage, leaving the pianist and bassist to play extended solos!

    So the chord sequence was quite unusual and the feel was equally unique and I could see the bass player getting redder and redder, starting to sweat - whereas before, he had looked completely comfortable with everything - I would like to bet that he would say this chart won Ed's category! :D
     
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    A tune by Joanne Brackeen, forgot the name, it was a waltz, with the bass playing the head. On the first runthru, I started playing it, and Joanne said "could you take it up an octave?" which put it in the extreme thumb position...you know, where you're kind of humping the bass. Really pretty melody, and a funny subdivision of time on the B section. She's a great writer.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I mentioned before that I got a tune by a local Jazz player/composer that had a written bass line - the main part was two ostinatos in 15/4 - which then changed to three parts in 10/4, occupying the same space. I still have the thing programmed into my microcomposer! ;)

    I have also had some pretty bad "Salsa" charts - our band (13/14 piece) has given up on a few! So - everything is on "unexpected" beats of the bar and nobody on the one to signpost changes - I think we have come to understand that you need drummer/percussionist to "simplify" and keep a straight beat going somewhere - most Jazz drummers tend to avoid this, but you just have to have this going or it can be disastrous!
     
  13. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    When I first joined the jazz band in university, I wasn't a great sight-reader and it seemed like I was the only one there who had never heard the tunes before. Two charts that gave me some grief were Angel Eyes and Say What?.

    The changes in Say What aren't that bad, but we used to play it quite fast and added several bunches of repeats for solos (I tend to miss those!).

    Angel Eyes, as I recall, had some odd changes in it; luckily it's slow enough that you have time to think about what you're going to do.

    BTW Ed - a little off topic... This is a somewhat lame question since New York is such a huge city, but I'm a big Mark Elf fan and I was wondering if you knew him or have done any work lately that's similar to his type of thing. :confused:
     
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Hey Ed; The gig with Joanne was a few years ago at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. We were the first featured act to play in the new Castle Theater; they were hooking up the board during our soundcheck. It was a trio with a great Seattle drummer named John Bishop. Joanne did about an hour solo first, which was pretty amazing, she was pushing into Cecil Taylor territory for awhile. Made for interesting greenroom listening.
     
  15. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    That's probably Don Lanphere's rhythm section who bill themselves as New Stories with Bishop, Marc Seales on piano and Doug Miller on bass.

    Monte
     
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Monte; them's the guys. Don Lanphere has come out here and kicked our butts on several occasions. Helluva player. I remember, when people asked me what gigs were coming up and I mentioned him, lots of them thought I was working with ZAMFIR, the king of the panpipes:rolleyes:

    Ed; I hear what you're saying. I get to play here with lots of guys from your neck of the woods, as well as the left coast and round the world. I used to play regularly with Danny Gottleib when he was passing thru to Japan, and he always reminded me of how sweet I have it. No arguments here:cool:
     
  17. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    He is finally starting to get his due this past year. There is a great interview called "Long Overdue Ovation" in this months Jazz Times, and critic Ira Gitler put his latest recording "Home at Last" as one of the top 5 releases of 2001, which I would definitely agree with. If you hadn't heard, they literally thought he was dead in spring / early summer, but he has really battled back.

    I've gotten to play with him on two occasions; once in Oklahoma City and once in Wichita, and both were great learning experiences. He is one of the best educators out there. I will never forget my favorite line of his. He came to do a concert with my college big band, had just gotten off the plane in time to make a 10pm rehearsal. He had us kick off the first tune, and then cut it off after about 24 bars saying, "Wow, we have the Kenton brass section, but the sax section sounds like Guy Lombardo's band on a bad day." Ouch. As sad as most of our saxes were that year other than 1st tenor, most didn't even get the insult:rolleyes:

    Monte
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Don - (or any other orchestral players reading!) how do you think this compares for difficulty with some of the great 20th Century orchestral showcases - like Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" or Messiaen's "Turangalila Symphonie" ?

    I went to a concert of the latter last night, with the London Symphony Orchestra and the 8 Double Bassists were moving incredibly quickly in the 5th and 10th parts! They only just about had time to flick the pages and I'm sure one of them missed it in the middle of the 5th but carried on - the whole work seems hugely demanding for all the 100-plus members of the orchestra?
     
  19. page turning is an art of it's own...;)
     
  20. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Yeah,

    I'm doing Beethoven's 4th a week from Tuesday, and some of the page turns (esp. the 1st and 3rd mvmts.) are awkward. I spent time this week memorizing the next line until a better turn, or in the case of the Vaughn-Williams "Fantasia on a Theme of THomas Tallis" copying the next page so as not to have to turn the page until a better time.

    Monte