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YIKES! jazz audition for me tonight....help!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by catphish, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. catphish


    Feb 25, 2003
    Okay…so the meeting tonight is actually a rehearsal. So I need to run back to the studio, and get my gear, then haul ass to the Funky Buddha lounge for an audition. YIKES! I’m pretty nervous. I have zero experience in a jazz band situation on bass (though I played Trombone in jazz bands for year), and my site reading on bass is woefully inadequate. I thought they were going to give me the music ahead of time so I could learn it. I’m debating asking to just come get the music but not play tonight.

    Any thoughts? Any tips on site reading a jazz chart? I’m debating using the fretless tonight, but I’m not quite as comfortable with it as my fretted. What have I gotten myself into?!?!
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    In over your head? Possibly, but you can make the best of it. Take an instrument your comfortable on - if that's a fretted bass, then go for it (although if it's a pointy BC Rich, gore spattered creation, you'd better hope the rest of the cats play with their eyes closed).

    For each song you put in front of you, take a couple of seconds to pick out important points. For example, what's the key signature, does it change, and are there any passages with a significant number of accidentals? What's the time signature, and does that change as well? How many different rhythms are involved? A lot of jazz tunes involve some kind of 4/4 walking line, maybe with a few twists thrown in; even a jazz fusion number with some scary looking rhythms may turn out to consist of only two or three main "rhythmic riffs" with minor variations.

    There's also the people skills aspect. Turn up on time or even a little early. Set up quickly and make sure you're in tune. Talk with the rest of the band and sound out their approach - are they sticklers for accuracy, demanding that every note be in the right place or is it more of a listening, responding sort of gig, where the written score is only the starting point?

    I'd also take along some way of making notes - at most rehearsals and auditions, I'll have a pencil, manuscript paper and probably my MD recorder. I might make a lot of mistakes but this shows that I'm a diligent learner. If I get invited back, I'm confident of showing definite improvement, which will probably count for a lot.

    Finally, even if you end up train-wrecking every song, see what you can learn from the situation. The consensus might be that you're not ready for that gig but they might be able to give you a few pointers in case they're looking again a little bit further down the line.

  3. catphish


    Feb 25, 2003
    Thanks for the help. It will be mostly cabaret style jazz standards like “All that Jazz”, etc. My fretted is a modulus 5…so it’s not pointy, but it’s not a jazz bass either. I’m thinking actually the fretless may help me hide out a little bit because it doesn’t cut as much as the fretted, but also they are probably hopeing for an upright player and this might help win them over.
  4. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Go with the five string fretted. You'll be reading charts and the fretless is going to be less forgiving.

    RELAX, once again RELAX. Take one chart at a time. Since you have played trombone in jazz situations you know what to expect.

    Yes, bring pencil and eraser...some charts are **** and you need to make your own notes to navigate them.

    Keep your lines simple and solid. As a first time out with this group they are more concerned with your time keeping and strong lines, then they would be impressed with a fretless bass. By all means if they do dig you make sure you let them know that the fretless is an option.

    My only other comment would be don't get lost. As the bass player of the group, imho, and in jazz, you are driving the rhythm and harmony.

    If you don't know a tune...ask...straight four, two beat feel, funky and loose, ect.

    You gotta stay and play a few tunes at the minimum.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.



  5. I cant think of anything else to say, these guys got it all, except for the fact that "hiding out" is the worst thing you can do at your audition. If its an audition for bass, they dont want to have to cup their ears to hear you. Attitude has a big part in these things. Play every chart acting like youve played it a million times. Other musicians can tell when someone is trying to hide out, i dont they would be fooled. Just look and act comfortable even if your screaming inside, because another thing they might be looking for is how you play in situations like this one where you dont know the music and your nervous.
  6. catphish


    Feb 25, 2003
    Well..I think I got a break. I emailed and said I’d rather come tonight and pick up the charts then audition on Tuesday at their next rehearsal. She said , “no problem”.

    Also…it turns out they don’t do Jazz entire. They are also doing some pop numbers. I think I’m golden. I’ll report back.
  7. The Beast

    The Beast

    Jul 19, 2004
    Evil Town
    I hate auditions. My first jazz audition I screwed everything up really bad. :bawl:

    But after that I worked on sightreading like a mother...and now im getting real good. :bassist:
  8. :hyper:

    So far so good, eh? I think it was a good move on your part to get charts and have some preparation time!! :cool:

    Best of luck, and remember - all you can do is the best you can do. Different bassists shine in different situations. If this isn't your gig, yours is just around the corner.
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That's a really important tip. I've learnt a lot from looking for bands to join in the past. Among them, two stand out:

    1) It's like waiting for a bus... lots of waiting and then suddenly a whole bunch of opportunities come along at once!

    2) I consider myself a fairly decent bassist although certainly not top of the game. There are far more bands out there where I could make a worthwhile contribution than I will ever have the time to play in. Therefore, if I can't find time to take an opportunity or if it doesn't work out, don't take it too personally and don't waste time worrying about it.

    Anyway, how do the charts look? Is it still "yikes!" or do you think you're in with a shout?

  10. catphish


    Feb 25, 2003
    Okay....so I go to pick up the music and I talk with the girl in charge and discuss rehearsals and shows, etc. It's set up for me to go audition Tuesday. As we're talking a guy walks in with a bass combo and a bass. She set up another audition for tonight with another guy. Turns out I know the other guy, HE'S MY BASS TEACHER!!!! He's a pro studio guy here in Chicago. So that pretty much took the wind out of my sails.

    I told her I that Kenn was a great player and I'm sure he'll be up to the job, but she said that he (my bass teacher) can't play the show with them because he's got another gig. She also said she wants two players for each position.

    So, I'm feeling pretty ****ty right now.

    Songs we're playing:
    All that Jazz
    Big Spender
    Pink Panther Theme
    Don't Tell Momma
    Hanky Panky
    Tainted Love

    I think I can do a good job, with the time I've got to learn the tunes, but what are the chances they were auditioning HIM!!!
  11. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That's great! Take a lesson and both you and Kenn will know exactly what you need to work on. :D

  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ha, man, that's an awesome set. Have a lot of fun, work on the material with your teacher, and you might get it over him! Woooo! Or alongside him. And if you have any problems, your teacher's right there! :D
  13. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    None of those are too bad to read either. I only have about 1 year of band experience under my belt and I'm familliar with about 2/3 of those. You'll do fine next week, I know it. Good luck!
  14. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Rule #1 of auditioning:

    If you have the music ahead of time, which could only be the night before the audition, you'd better go into the audition and absolutely kill. A few minor mistakes here and there while sight reading a gig down are often acceptable, but any mistakes when you've had the music ahead of time is unforgivable.

    Good luck with the audition.
  15. beermonkey from seattle -

    Is it just me, or has it been awhile since we heard from you?

    Anyway, good to hear from you, a real world bassist :cool: .
  16. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I'm surprised anyone even noticed. :)

    It's been about a year, yeah... been really busy playing and working lately. Hopefully I'll be able to hang out here more often again. I dig a lot of the regulars that post and moderate these here forums.
  17. Sooo... how's the weather over there? I'd guess rain :confused: (being Seattle and all.)

    Hotter than a 2$ pistol over here on this side of the state (Spokane) . :meh: