Tips on more big band lead playing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Dave Hughes

    Dave Hughes Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 19, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    Yep- it's LEADING, brother!
  2. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    I don't consciously or deliberately play early when I'm playing lead, nor do I think about breathing a particular way. Playing lead is just that, leading the section and the band. You can't be laid-back or timid, but you do have to maintain your musicality even when attacking a phrase. If you're not confident of what you can do, it will show.
    On a similar note you can't fall in love with the physical feedback of playing to the point that you lose sight of the main goal, which is to play the music. Nothing worse than a diva on any instrument or vocal that overplays/sings constantly. There is a fine line (sometimes not so fine) between bravado and obnoxious.
  3. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I haven't played Lead in a jazz band in years ... I just know that I did it well. I wish I was playing in one now so I could check out to see what it is that I was doing. While I feel like a lead player has to have an attitude and be confident. There is a tone and style to it. Even the vibrato is done a certain way. There is a bit of aggressive anticipation when you are playing lead... maybe that's the shade left of the note we are discussing.
    If I remember correctly lead players think in tems of phrases and in the context of the piece alot. How the accents are hit, how short the staccatos are performed .. things like that. Yeah, phrasing.
    Volume wise I think the lead needs to be able to be picked out of the section.
    I don't think I would want 4 lead players playing with me though. You can get into all sorts of phrasing conflicts. The guys sitting in the support chairs really need to follow the phasing set by the lead player. Doesn't mean they aren't great musicians but should be great listeners.
    While all this stuff is probably true, I am not sure you get to be a lead player unless you listen to lead players and feel it.
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    A "humble form of superiority" seems necessary to play lead well..

    Not to be confused with the cocky egotist. We've all seen those jerks and they can break up a band from their sheer arrogance. That said shyness is death to a lead player. Even when I'm playing second in a big band (and that isn't very often) I'd much prefer that the lead player cut loose and drive things. So long as he has the strength and at least a decent level of over all musical ability? Then I don't really care how far over the top he goes.

    My buddy "Len" is like that. Plays great. Strong technique and a crack shot reader. Has a fair amount of students too. He does however tend to take more phrases up an octave than I would prefer. But all said and done he is worth a lot more to the band than the other lower chair trumpets. I try and feed him at least half the lead book.
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    if you fold in the shout section don't take the last note up///
  6. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Thank you.

    No sense putting icing on a poop cake...
  7. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    My Big Band instructor used to make the band play on and off on alternating beats, so like on the one, two and three everyone would be on then on the four everyone would be just off either early or late. When they did right it was amazing.

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