Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by camelbrass, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    We spend a lot of time on these sites talking about players and how to play higher, louder, faster (or just better) and these things are all important. However, every now and then reality bites. To put a background to this story I'm an enthusiastic amature but play the odd gig.

    I had a gig last week where we only had 5 charts to play. 5 man brass section, rhythm section and 4 piece strings. It paid well and involved 1 rehearsal and those 5 tunes spread over speeches and about 1 1/2 hours. Anyway turned up and got the was in Bb, 2 in concert and one was supposed to be in Bb but all came to light when the piano part was in C and the trumpet and tenor sax were written in!! Even one of the concert parts just had intros and outros written and the rest was just chord charts.

    I played 2nd and the first player was a very good horn player (He plays lead in a big band I play with as well). I bumbled through with Mark's help but we pulled it off on the night. To make matters worse they decided to have 1 1/2 hours jazz over dinner and so out comes the fake books behind stage and 7 guys that have never played together held the floor for that time. These guys new the "Girl from Ipanema" in just about every key.

    Once you're past a certain technical level work on musicianship, you'll probably never know it all. It'll get you more calls than a 'triple' C.

    Anybody with similar experiences?


  2. hsa-arch

    hsa-arch New Friend

    Mar 30, 2004
    New England
    I agree completely. At least you had the chance to have a rehearsal prior to the gig. I can't tell you how many gigs that I've had where we show up for the performance and are handed some ridiculous book with half the charts missing or in the wrong key.

    My favorite was transposing (live) a french horn part on my flugel at a republican party fund raiser for the governor where the french horn was the feature. I've many times had to improvise a lead part on some big band charts while looking at the 2nd and 3rd books for reference. I've played many gigs with our brass quintet where the second trumpet player (he's arranged most of our music and is very good at it) sprung about 10 new tunes on us to site read during the performance. I don't even want to get into the church gig, pit orchestras, orchestras and community bands where you called to show up for a performance and expected to be great.

    The reality is real musicianship is the key. I've been fortunate enough to have played with some ass kicken MUSICIANS who can play anything, anywhere, anytime and make it sound like they've played everyday of thier life. It tought me more then anything else that the horn, mouthpiece, triple high C or whatever doesn't mean sh%t if you can't play it pretty under adverse conditions. Unfortunately, it's rare in the music business where everything goes as planned, usually there's some curve ball thrown in there somewhere, at least that has been my experience.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    As much as it makes me cringe to say it, I have to quote my Old Sergeant Major at the Fife and Drum Corps, who was the king of cliches: "You have to be Gumbi - you've got to be flexible, just like Gumbi". He's right of course, as much as I hate to admit it.

    Many times you will get to the gig and find that things are not what you expected them to be and if you aren't able to be flexible and pull it off, needless to say, you won't be getting called back.

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