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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if my expectation is off on this one so I need other perspectives. Here's the situation:

A name brand player is coming to town to play a fundraiser and the jazz quartet I play with was hired to back him up. It's smooth jazz thing. The leader of the quartet sent me a recording and concert pitch lead sheet. There's only one sort rehearsal right before the show.

His Expectations:
He expects me to listen to the recordings (which don't match the lead sheets) and figure out the background parts for a one time gig.

My Expectations:
If there are specific parts within very specific arrangements I need to play, then a written parts should be provided.

This is not a big money gig and it's frustrating as I've already been over this with the leader of the quarter. Even in the wedding band I left we had written parts for everything and was paid WAY more.

Now if this was music we all play in wedding/bar situations then I could certainly figure those out on the gig but this is all original music from the Brand Name players Albums.

What do working pros do - Is this the norm?
 

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A pro would provide a CD of the show along with all the charts. What he's asking is probably possible but is a lot of trouble for one minor show.
 

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There are a few possibilities:

If it's one lead sheet and one song, it shouldn't be that much of a strain. Follow the lead sheet, record it and send him a file. If he doesn't like it, tell him "T.S., Eliot."
You refer to a "quarter". Do you mean "quartet"? Are you backing up his quartet? What sort of quartet? Vocal or will you merge with his band?

I'd walk away from it if this is all you know about the proposed performance. If this person is accustomed to making appearances with a pickup band, then he would have written arrangements. It isn't like a performer doing popular standards in the standard form, then rehearsing with a new quartet. That's very common. Everyone knows the music and can adapt to small changes. If this person is taking something out of left field and you don't feel comfortable, walk away from it. You will never be compensated for the time that you will put in to accommodate him.

No, this is not the norm for an experienced pro working with a pickup band.
 

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A name brand player is coming to town to play a fundraiser and the jazz quartet I play with was hired to back him up.
This is important. It's a fundraiser. Hence the looseness, and perhaps the name player isn't going to make what they'd normally earn.

The artist has expectations from you. If you have a problem with it, don't take the job. I myself would actually prefer such a challenge. Then again... I'm not one for charts to begin with, and more often than not, create my own accompaniment when given songs to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is important. It's a fundraiser. Hence the looseness, and perhaps the name player isn't going to make what they'd normally earn.
1) It's not a Fundraiser in a small since - He's been brought in by a local Radio Station for a large Black-Tie "Save the Inner City Communities" type deep-pocket fundraiser.

2) I didn't necessarily take the job. It was presented as "We're opening for him" but now it seems we're playing a couple tunes then backing him up. This part is out of my control as I'm not the leader of the quartet.

3) I could walk away but doesn't really set the tone I'd like to have with the Quartet. Just wanted to make sure I'm not crazy thinking this might be too much work for a one-time gig.
 

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So, it's a set of tunes w/ him? How many ?

If it is only a few, and (VERY important) for whatever reason your band really would LIKE to meet/be involved with this particular recording artist...then (although I lean towards what Pete and Saxman and others have said)...I would say that your quartet figuring out how to be the guy's band for a few songs isn't all that hard.

Yes, he is making YOU folks do the work, more work than might be necessary had there been a better flow of information.....yes, IMHO it CAN conceivably be interpreted as a bit disrespectful if one chose to go down that path, but....

If you have a lead sheet(s).... the rhythm section has the chords; if you have a recording... the drummer can figure out the beat. That would just leave you, I suppose, to figure out some noodling in the background and perhaps how to improvise over the progression.
If the form of the recording doesn't match the form of the sheets, that can be clarified at the one rehearsal pretty quickly.

If it's smooth jazz, I would imagine the tune hardly moves all over the place....

As such...it isn't a BEAR of a problem; it isn't a big hassle.

You have posted vids of your group here before - you guys know your sh#t, so you could figure it out.

Again, the question becomes....do y'all think that this temporary association would be beneficial to you in some way ? Worth the effort ?

My 2 cents.
 

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Within context of the single show it sounds like more effort than it would be worth to you. Is there return on your time/energy investment for your quartet? Is that why your band leader is playing the gig? It sucks when your being a team player sticks you with extra work out of what reasonably could be described as rudeness on someone's part.
If you generate a chart, you could present it to the "name brand" performer explaining that it would be basic courtesy for him to provide that should they ever put another musician in a similar position.
 

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Transcriptions take time - sometimes a lot of time. You should be compensated if you choose to go forward with it. It would really suck if you do them for free, get to the gig and the "star" says: "No, we're not doing it that way".
 

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It's quite possible the brand player realises they will walk away with a lot more money if they can get a local band to take the place of their own band. This happens a lot, and IMO it's an arrogant attitude to do this and not expect to pay the local band a reasonable fee for their work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
UPDATE:
I just got off the phone with MY Quartet leader and shared the general SOTW consensus that charts should really have been included. He was in agreement but was having a difficult time communication the the Brand Name Player (who seems to be busy all the time).

Finally Plan:
We agreed that unless something was provide by the guest artist, I would simply play the opening tunes and be done. (Still receiving full pay). I can work with this.

THANKS:
Thanks to SOTW pros. I wasn't sure if my thinking was in the right place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Transcriptions take time - sometimes a lot of time. You should be compensated if you choose to go forward with it. It would really suck if you do them for free, get to the gig and the "star" says: "No, we're not doing it that way".
There it is in a nutshell. Well put.
 

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UPDATE:
I just got off the phone with MY Quartet leader and shared the general SOTW consensus that charts should really have been included. He was in agreement but was having a difficult time communication the the Brand Name Player (who seems to be busy all the time).

Finally Plan:
We agreed that unless something was provide by the guest artist, I would simply play the opening tunes and be done. (Still receiving full pay). I can work with this.

THANKS:
Thanks to SOTW pros. I wasn't sure if my thinking was in the right place.
I sucks to be taken advantage of.............been there
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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UPDATE:
I just got off the phone with MY Quartet leader and shared the general SOTW consensus that charts should really have been included. He was in agreement but was having a difficult time communication the the Brand Name Player (who seems to be busy all the time).
Brand name players normally have managers to deal with this sort of thing. But it sounds like you are being hired not by him but by the event promoter, that is who should be paying you adequately for your time and expertise.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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UPDATE:
I just got off the phone with MY Quartet leader and shared the general SOTW consensus that charts should really have been included. He was in agreement but was having a difficult time communication the the Brand Name Player (who seems to be busy all the time).

Finally Plan:
We agreed that unless something was provide by the guest artist, I would simply play the opening tunes and be done. (Still receiving full pay). I can work with this.

THANKS:
Thanks to SOTW pros. I wasn't sure if my thinking was in the right place.
OK, well there you have it. Your group was d'accordo that the likely effort required wasn't worth appearing with this particular artist.

A respectable decision.

Keep us posted should anything else transpire ....
 

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In this situation I would simply say "since charts with specific backgrounds have not been provided I'll do my thing for backgrounds and stay out of the way. Any problem with that?".

The recorded parts were probably made up in the studio on the spot, anyway. I doubt that they have ever been written down.

The above assumes that you have the capability to make your own background riffs. Given the stated "smooth jazz" genre, that will be pretty easy.


And of course "when in doubt, lay out".
 

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I sucks to be taken advantage of.............been there
Maybe not necessarily 'being taken advantage of', but perhaps just an artist/artist agent who feels he is of a certain echelon which doesn't require common professional courtesies towards local musicians....

...or....he doesn't particularly take the gig very seriously, thus isn't willing to extend the common professional courtesies.

Either way...doesn't reflect well on this 'artist'.
 
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