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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?".
I dig this.

Or if one were a bit devilish, just don't say anything and when rehearsal comes, just do it the way your band has prepared it (but honestly prepare something). If, face-to-face, the artist takes issue, then explain "you only provided us with a recording and a chart/charts which didn't match ~ so left it to us how to interpret what you wanted. So..what would you like ?"

Could make for an interesting rehearsal. Might send an interesting message to the artist, in realtime.

(Then again, maybe more trouble than it is worth...)
 

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One thing I am wondering about is - forgive my naivete - whether this is a "Fundraiser" or a "Charity Fundraiser"? If it is the first, then I agree with everything that was said. If it is the latter, just donate your compensation to the cause, get a tax write off and try to play as good as you can without putting in too much time into the preparation as long as you don't hurt your own pride.
 

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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?
What kind of background parts does a sax have for smooth jazz stuff? Is it horn lines or just fills and such? or lines played in sync with the lead player or rhythm section? I'm surprised that if he wants lines played exactly that he doesn't have charts with those lines on them........
 

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What kind of background parts does a sax have for smooth jazz stuff? Is it horn lines or just fills and such? or lines played in sync with the lead player or rhythm section? I'm surprised that if he wants lines played exactly that he doesn't have charts with those lines on them........
Give the artist the benefit of the doubt - it is not clear to me from the information provided that the artist actually expects the back-up band to duplicate exactly the arrangements on the records.

He may well expect the back up band (being a local "scratch" band) to learn the tunes and play things that sound good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
What kind of background parts does a sax have for smooth jazz stuff? Is it horn lines or just fills and such? or lines played in sync with the lead player or rhythm section? I'm surprised that if he wants lines played exactly that he doesn't have charts with those lines on them........
Much of it is harmony parts with the lead line. Great arrangements just very specific to his tunes.
 

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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.
Lots of speculation here, and putting the brand player in a negative light. Perhaps the brand player thought that the group in question could pick this up rather easily on the fly, which is actually somewhat complimentary. Also, playing with a brand player has resume value. And yeah, even if it's smooth jazz. And that makes me wonder if some of the angst expressed by others over this might be prejudicial in this regard.
 

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I agree that we shouldn't necessarily jump to the negative conclusion - nevertheless, I have always felt a certain code should be followed between musicians, professional courtesies so to speak.

That the individual is difficult to contact, and that the material which was sent was lacking, are valid enough reasons for the OP and his group to give some pause regarding the backing band affair, IMHO....
 

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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.
I'd say that's the definition of being taken advantage of by another player. :)
 

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The funk band horn section I'm with got asked to back up a "brand name" player a few months back and his manager sent us a bunch of charts that mostly matched the cuts off his CD. We practiced them a few times but when he showed up for the one two hour rehearsal we had before the gig it turned out he only wanted to play 3 of the 10 tunes we worked on and he wanted to do 6-7 other tunes that had never been mentioned. He expected us to pull some sort of 5 piece horn arrangement out of you-know-where for these tunes on the spot. Gig went okay, we got paid, I'd never play for this guy again if it were up to me.
 

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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".
+1. Man, turf you seem to have the ability to read my mind. This is exactly how I'd handle it.

However, one or two caveats:

I'd listen to the tunes and if there were some 'signature' horn lines, I'd take a bit of time to learn them, assuming they weren't too challenging. Also I'd decide, based on the genre and overall song forms, if I could come up with reasonably good background lines or riffs. If the music was way outside my capability or not something I enjoy playing, I'd just decline the gig.
 

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Be careful because after a bad perfomance folks might say "That Band Sucks" or the musicians were sloppy. It might not even be the musicians fault due to the lack of provided material as mentioned. Make sure you play very well on other things during that show so they can see it's not because of a lack of your talent. The Brand Name performer can't blame you.
 

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If it was MY name on the bill to draw a crowd, I'd want to make darned sure the rest of the band was up to speed. What a way to ruin one's reputation - having an un-rehearsed group of musicians who don't know the music I intend to play for a show. I could understand if it was a band intending to play standards, but self-generated tunes that no one knows? This whole scenario sounds wrong to me. DAVE
 

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This thread makes me feel good that I'm in a position to be able to only play music that I want to play, no matter the market or compensation. It hasn't always been so. I spent a LOT of time playing BS because I needed the money, famous people included.
 

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If it was MY name on the bill to draw a crowd, I'd want to make darned sure the rest of the band was up to speed. What a way to ruin one's reputation - having an un-rehearsed group of musicians who don't know the music I intend to play for a show. I could understand if it was a band intending to play standards, but self-generated tunes that no one knows? This whole scenario sounds wrong to me. DAVE
Dave, as usual makes a good point here. This also occurred to me, but I'm kind of assuming that the name artist is familiar with the band A Greene is with and comfortable having them as a backing band. But that's only an assumption. And yeah, if they are original ('self-generated') tunes, that's another red flag. Far better to have a well-rehearsed band, obviously.
 

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Just wing it.
Yes! If you know the key, and the head. No worries. In this capacity you're probably just a prop. At best a support musician, but don't be surprised if you can't find yourself in the mix. Stand up with the headliner and enjoy the gig!

...and you never know - some artists enjoy going off script. You might get a solo or two!
 

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Much of it is harmony parts with the lead line. Great arrangements just very specific to his tunes.
Tony, it's not your (or anyone else's) job to make this dude sound good. If this "brand name player" doesn't have his s**t together enough to supply a "house band" with accurate charts (including any horn back-ups) it's on HIM, not you. Trust me, he/they know that. They're just trying to make someone else (you) do the dirty work for them and it's incredibly lame and unprofessional on their part. If this bozo gives you guys any flak, I'd throw it right back at him.
Let us know how it goes. I'm curious now!

John
 

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A couple lines from a couple tunes...What is that, an hour’s work? Sounds petty to me. You’re probably reading way too much into it.
 

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I agree with Saxmanjack. You are worrying too much over a one-off gig. Just enjoy being a sideman for a night and do your best. The "name brand" guy is probably mostly interested in the rhythm section to back him up not sax. He probably doesn't really care what you are playing as long as you aren't stepping all over him. Play minimally to accompany him and don't try for the attention you usually get. Just be friendly. Network with the big shot a little. The experience could help your musical career. If he is really good you might absorb something artistic from the experience also. Have fun rather than being miserable.
 
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