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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Got a question. When you have to scale back musicians on your gigs, what types of instrumentation do you use? I'm talking about when you'd really like to have a quartet, but the venue will only pay enough for 2-3 musicians.

For example, I played in a guitar/sax duo for the past 5 years. Last summer, the guitar player took another gig. I was kind of tired of performing as just a duo, so I decided to hire 2 other musicians to play with me and just split the money. (I get paid less now, but it's worth it. besides, people often come sit in, so we sometimes end up with a full group anyway.) Typically I use bass and either piano or guitar. Sometimes I use my hubby, who is a great piano player, and can do LH bass while playing keys (this works well b/c although we make less individually, our money goes to the same place, anyway! :lol: ). Then I can also hire a drummer.

Just wondering how creative some of you have gotten. I've been pretty traditional myself, I guess. Maybe I'm looking to be inspired!
 

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Call me "square" but I think that there is not much room for creativity when it comes to cutting down on musician(s). I hate having to do that in the first place because I like and appreciate every single musician in my band. It's though to decide who's in and who's out in circonstances like that.

1) Have your drummer
2) Have your bass player
Once you are set with those two, you can pick whatever instrumentalist you like to fill up the required number of musicians.

I would never, say have 4 musicians for the price of 3, even if the money goes to the same place. It's a simple matter of principle. Always give the most you got musically, but never under-bet.
 

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I've done a few gigs w/ten, bass & piano that were really enjoyable.
It depends on the gig. If there's dancing you almost have to have drums;
go with ten, drums, piano. If you're doing a lot of jazz, go w/ten, drums & bass.
 

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BAss and SAX

I did a solo sax gig with no tracks, just me for a year on Mondays at a little wine bar. When I was asked what I would add I was quick to say BASS! I wanted some reference to the melody I was playing. I had done duo's for years but totally forgot a key/bass option because I so badly missed a root to a chord.
I got a buddy to play fretless and we did the Bass / Sax duo for 2 1/2 more years. I loved the freedom and experimentation we had and it was pretty cool.
SAXBOY
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good suggestions. Never tried just bass and sax, tho I've known some folks who've done it before.

Sometimes, for the sake of creativity, I feel as though I have to cut back and split the money, in order to have a fuller group. The situation I mentioned where I got tired of duo work and started doing it as a trio is a perfect example. Everyone has more freedom this way--to solo with at least one supporting rhythm instrument behind them. Most folks I know are willing to play for a little less $$ (esp. on a weeknight) if they feel they have the opportunity to play good music, with other good musicians.

I've also used this opportunity to welcome younger players into the scene. Those that show promise and are serious about playing don't mind not making alot of dough. And it gives them an opportunity to play with more experienced musicians. I am very greatful to those who let me sit in with their groups when I was cutting my teeth on jazz improv, and now I hire some of those folks to play with me! :lol:
 

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great ideas...

It takes a few different colors to paint a picture. I only did the Bass/Sax thing 1 night a week, Monday off nights. If this was the only "band" I was working with and the whole sum of my musical outlet, I would have been very frustrated.
I love the idea of finding ways to include younger players and off night work can be great for hooking up the hot players. You are right about baiting a gig with other great players. I have some musicians local LA that take gigs based on who is playing and what kind of gig it is. One guy I know will bail on good money for a great band making music.
This all works best if there are a couple of different musical situations that we can stretch into, keep growing and stay fresh.
Rob Mullins and I use the late set at our weekly Jazz gig to bring in students we prepared to sit in. It is great seeing a young player work with a supportive rhythm section and shine.
As far as the bread - It will take ongoing creativity and genius to book good music within the parameters these bone-head club owners throw at us... But how cool it is to make it all work in spite of them!
SAXBOY
www.gregvail.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It *is* cool to make these gigs work, even with the limitations (mainly financial) often set upon us with club owners. With this particular duo-turned-trio gig, I try to keep interesting by hiring different musicians each week. (Although I do tend to use one bass player I work well with frequently.) This keeps it fresh not only for me, but for the audience as well. There are many good musicians around my area, and they all enjoy this gig. I figure, share the wealth! Heck, some of them hire me after I've hired them, so I figure that the cliche "one good turn deserves another" really works.
 
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