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Last minute sub calls... that describes my early life as a player. Shows, jazz groups of all sizes, convention events, cultural festivals, etc. Some of these turned in to semi-regular work. Sight reading required for all but the small group jazz gigs, and hotel wallpaper jobs.

Even in a working big (jazz) band, one with a regular gig, new charts come in all the time. One of the reasons to play in a band like that is to get experience with great arrangers and provide an experimental sketch pad for new arrangers. Having the lead trumpet player tell you, after a read down of your new chart, that "There is no reason to ever write a note higher than D" for a lead trumpet is very eye opening, to say nothing of ear opening.
 

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Last minute sub calls... that describes my early life as a player. Shows, jazz groups of all sizes, convention events, cultural festivals, etc. Some of these turned in to semi-regular work. Sight reading required for all but the small group jazz gigs, and hotel wallpaper jobs.

Even in a working big (jazz) band, one with a regular gig, new charts come in all the time. One of the reasons to play in a band like that is to get experience with great arrangers and provide an experimental sketch pad for new arrangers. Having the lead trumpet player tell you, after a read down of your new chart, that "There is no reason to ever write a note higher than D" for a lead trumpet is very eye opening, to say nothing of ear opening.
Sounds like you should have gotten Maynard to read your chart.
 

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Certainly, I'm all for maintaining sight reading chops. I just meant it's probably not top priority in auditions for a new big band regular.
As Turf noted, it really depends on the book. I, too, played a book of 200+ charts, and quite frankly sometimes it felt like sight reading when a dormant chart got called. Sure, you might be familiar with some of the finger twisting phrases that you worked out last year, but that is all you’ve got in your favor. The more difficult material you read, the better you are at reading - whether on the stand or at first blush. After a while you start to develop more vocabulary - phrases, rhythmic patterns, etc. You need it all to be a solid section player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Appreciate all the feedback, and wanted to let everyone know I just received and accepted the 2nd chair!

But.... I'm currently rideless as my car is in the shop and will have to miss my first official rehearsal... hoping that doesn't set a bad tone with the group.
 

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Appreciate all the feedback, and wanted to let everyone know I just received and accepted the 2nd chair!

But.... I'm currently rideless as my car is in the shop and will have to miss my first official rehearsal... hoping that doesn't set a bad tone with the group.
Congrats, Jared. You are about to go for a wild ride. I imagine you are about to hit a period of intense musical growth. Enjoy!

In my bands, if you cannot make the rehearsal, you need to help find a sub to cover the chair for the rehearsal - and make sure that the music gets there! It's not just about you making the rehearsal to learn the parts - others that listen and pay attention need to hear your part played in the context of the harmony.

One of the bands that I played in rehearsed or performed every Monday night for 30+ years. In the 20 years that I was with them, there were very few nights that any of the books were not covered by someone. We had a broad list of subs for every instrument - quite a great network. It really makes a difference.

Talk to the section leader and director to see what you can do.
 

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Appreciate all the feedback, and wanted to let everyone know I just received and accepted the 2nd chair!

But.... I'm currently rideless as my car is in the shop and will have to miss my first official rehearsal... hoping that doesn't set a bad tone with the group.
Congratulations! You’re going to have a lot of fun. A new chapter in your musical journey.
No ride ? What about Uber ? Possibly another band member can help out with a ride ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Congratulations! You’re going to have a lot of fun. A new chapter in your musical journey.
No ride ? What about Uber ? Possibly another band member can help out with a ride ?
Thanks everyone! Agreed, and they are preparing for a gig this Saturday - but made it clear that I wasn't expected to be at this gig.

Uber is pretty pricey, it's an hour 15 drive. Probably $150 total. I've heard back that it would be okay to miss this rehearsal. My wife also had some things to take care of tonight so it'll work out best this week to be home, but ill be practicing the material hard!
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
I was thinking more like a couple miles. 7 Hours one way for a rehearsal Or gig ?
Ah, no no - 1 hour 15 minute drive. So 2 1/2 hours total driving on rehearsal days. Gigs can be more or less depending on location. Car situation should be sorted tomorrow, but the band seems very reasonable and have no issues with me not being there this week as of now. I've locked down the schedule for that time for all future weeks!
 

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Congrats Jared. :)

In my bands, if you cannot make the rehearsal, you need to help find a sub to cover the chair for the rehearsal - and make sure that the music gets there! It's not just about you making the rehearsal to learn the parts - others that listen and pay attention need to hear your part played in the context of the harmony.

One of the bands that I played in rehearsed or performed every Monday night for 30+ years. In the 20 years that I was with them, there were very few nights that any of the books were not covered by someone. We had a broad list of subs for every instrument - quite a great network. It really makes a difference.
That's also how it works in my band (in whch I play for 15 years now).

Uber is pretty pricey, it's an hour 15 drive. Probably $150 total. I've heard back that it would be okay to miss this rehearsal. My wife also had some things to take care of tonight so it'll work out best this week to be home, but ill be practicing the material hard!
Jared, you can try to find a band member who lives in your area, who might want to pick you up.
 

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I usually set a rule for myself to take only 1 chorus for solos. That's even too much on ballads, especially if you just played the head. If things are going great in the heat of the moment, I might indulge in two choruses. Usually things are going better in my own head than they really are. Doesn't matter how good you are, everyone appreciates brevity in the spotlight. Make sure you play the changes, too. Don't always solo first. Figure out what to do on stage while you are not playing. It should be all about the music and how the band sounds as a whole. Take some time to talk with the other players. Record it if you can, discreetly, so you can see how it really went and improve for next time. I find this invaluable. Try to be "competent" and play what peope want to hear, and not be weakly relying on the other players too much. At least things are the things I have strived to do. I always regret one thing or another, and fix them next time.
 

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I usually set a rule for myself to take only 1 chorus for solos. That's even too much on ballads, especially if you just played the head. If things are going great in the heat of the moment, I might indulge in two choruses. Usually things are going better in my own head than they really are. Doesn't matter how good you are, everyone appreciates brevity in the spotlight. Make sure you play the changes, too. Don't always solo first. Figure out what to do on stage while you are not playing. It should be all about the music and how the band sounds as a whole. Take some time to talk with the other players. Record it if you can, discreetly, so you can see how it really went and improve for next time. I find this invaluable. Try to be "competent" and play what peope want to hear, and not be weakly relying on the other players too much. At least things are the things I have strived to do. I always regret one thing or another, and fix them next time.
We're talking about a big band here. Most big band charts the solo space is clearly delineated. What do you do on stage while not playing? Sit in your chair.

There are a few bandleaders of big bands who will open up charts for extended soloing, but even so it's almost always one or two choruses. Only the most freewheeling big band situations will there be an "all skate" or an opportunity to hog the solos.
 

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...I often would just finish getting a tune up as it was getting counted off to begin playing...
Rule number ONE for big band playing: keep the book in order!

I have come back from vacations to find a sub player left my book in disarray. About the second time that happens, that sub player falls off the list. When I sub, I try to leave the book in better condition than I found it.

Three other points:

1) You MUST ALWAYS have a #2 pencil with eraser! In the olden days, if you didn't have a pencil the bandleader would sell you one - first time, it's $5; second time, it's $50; there isn't a third time. Do not mark parts with ANYTHING other than a #2 pencil!

Every instrument case I own always contains at least two pencils.

2) I strongly recommend that individual players not take books home. If someone can't make a rehearsal or a gig, and the book is in the hands of the bandleader, all you've got to do is find a player. If that someone also has the book, you'll be undergoing all kinds of gyrations trying to get the book back to someone. In the current era of cell phone cameras, you can just take a photo of any troublesome sheets and print it out at home to practice.

3) I also strongly recommend a number system for organizing the book (OP, you're the new guy, you won't be in the position of making suggestions to the bandleader about organizing the book, but I say this for reference anyway). I've worked with bands that try to do "set order" or "alphabetical" or "however the last guy left it" and it's always a hassle. Number every chart, keep 'em in order; bandleader calls "112" and there's no question. Everyone finds the chart, right there between 111 and 113 like it ought to be. Go!

And one last comment: has anyone else ever noticed that sax players always HAVE the book; they always have all the charts that are called, and they can always find the charts - whereas trumpet players are always scuffling to find the parts, don't have the book, where's the third part, that chart seems to be missing, oh I think so and so took that one home, etc., etc., etc.? Does anyone else have this experience?
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Rule number ONE for big band playing: keep the book in order!

I have come back from vacations to find a sub player left my book in disarray. About the second time that happens, that sub player falls off the list. When I sub, I try to leave the book in better condition than I found it.

Three other points:

1) You MUST ALWAYS have a #2 pencil with eraser! In the olden days, if you didn't have a pencil the bandleader would sell you one - first time, it's $5; second time, it's $50; there isn't a third time. Do not mark parts with ANYTHING other than a #2 pencil!

Every instrument case I own always contains at least two pencils.

2) I strongly recommend that individual players not take books home. If someone can't make a rehearsal or a gig, and the book is in the hands of the bandleader, all you've got to do is find a player. If that someone also has the book, you'll be undergoing all kinds of gyrations trying to get the book back to someone. In the current era of cell phone cameras, you can just take a photo of any troublesome sheets and print it out at home to practice.

3) I also strongly recommend a number system for organizing the book (OP, you're the new guy, you won't be in the position of making suggestions to the bandleader about organizing the book, but I say this for reference anyway). I've worked with bands that try to do "set order" or "alphabetical" or "however the last guy left it" and it's always a hassle. Number every chart, keep 'em in order; bandleader calls "112" and there's no question. Everyone finds the chart, right there between 111 and 113 like it ought to be. Go!

And one last comment: has anyone else ever noticed that sax players always HAVE the book; they always have all the charts that are called, and they can always find the charts - whereas trumpet players are always scuffling to find the parts, don't have the book, where's the third part, that chart seems to be missing, oh I think so and so took that one home, etc., etc., etc.? Does anyone else have this experience?
I hear you, but these guys have embraced the Technology age. Ipads/tablets for all members, with PDFs of the setlists. I wasn't familiar with the book, so finding parts was the number 1 problem. And they sort alphabetically, but includenall parts in each pdf. Also, they easily support markups with a stylus or such. I did bring a pencil in case, but most of the day was just scrolling away through the PDFs to find tenor 2 (which sometimes didn't exist).

Sending me the PDFs won't prohibit anyone else since it's digital copies luckily!

But still, Plenty to learn from on that first sit in rehearsal, but I do remember flipping through pages in the past (school and a local town band for the town festival). No longer a worry! Everyone else had their parts ready to go though!
 

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We're talking about a big band here. Most big band charts the solo space is clearly delineated. What do you do on stage while not playing? Sit in your chair.
Ooops... :)

I thought he started off saying he was invited to play in a small fusion group, so I assumed the guys talking about big bands were in left field...this isn't the first time I myself was in left field after not reading all the replies!

Anyway, file away my words of wisdom for the next jazz gig...:)
 

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What you need to strive for is showing a level of competency that makes the entire group better, but with an artistic side that is wildly unpredictable and dis-functioning. Then you'll find a ride provided not only to practice, but to gigs as well. As for rehearsal pay demands, start with a twelve pack...
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
Ooops... :)

I thought he started off saying he was invited to play in a small fusion group, so I assumed the guys talking about big bands were in left field...this isn't the first time I myself was in left field after not reading all the replies!

Anyway, file away my words of wisdom for the next jazz gig...:)
It started out that way! But that group never came to fruition. Big band is the path forward for me now!

I'll remember words of wisdom for the smaller combos I hope to be a part of from this group.
 

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Thanks everyone! Agreed, and they are preparing for a gig this Saturday - but made it clear that I wasn't expected to be at this gig.

Uber is pretty pricey, it's an hour 15 drive. Probably $150 total. I've heard back that it would be okay to miss this rehearsal. My wife also had some things to take care of tonight so it'll work out best this week to be home, but ill be practicing the material hard!
Congrats! I super-envy you right now.

While on official business (one time only), I met a local retired music prof who is a current big band leader. Our chit-chat wandered into music and I mentioned I was saving up for a bari. He invited me to come join the band when I got it. Told him I'll think about it but "I'm busy right now and not available until summer 2022". About a month ago, he sent one of my colleagues (his main business handler who took over from me) to ask me to call him. I told my colleague "you know I can't access his details again on our system or call him unofficially". The IT guys are ever watching anyone accessing info without jurisdiction (a sure way to get fired very quickly). It will be a breach of HIPAA just as I told him (the prof) during our only meeting: I can't accept his open invitation to visit him at home again until I at least join the big-band and have an excuse of contacting/knowing him outside of official business that brought us together.

I also met another retired music prof who is a recording artist. He showed me around his professional (home) studio. He gave me an open invitation to come back. Politely explained I can't. Another lady invited me to come join their (another) big-band/choir with my bari. All during official business and small talks that got to music (my passion).

For the first big-band leader (above), I would love to go sit with the band and learn/experience big-band. Trouble is I'm up to my neck in MBA classes, working full-time and have kids in high, middle and elementary school. I prefer to play music by ear but started out as a choir member/organist......so after accompanying SATB choirs on hymnals years ago, I still sight-read but mostly during private sax (tech book/main instrument) practice now.

I took my new bari to a local repairer to play-test and give opinion on its set-up/regulation since I just ordered it online from Germany (Thomann). He gave the thumbs up and I discovered he plays bari in a couple of big-bands. I could contact the prof's big-band (I know they have one bari player ....from their pictures on Facebook) online and find out when practice day/time and go watch them practice (about 45 minutes drive away). My hesitation is I don't want to get invited as I don't have time now until I finish my program. I am in for 3 concentrations (finance, marketing and supply-chain management) and have completed 2 already. One to go and a few core courses and I'm done. My fear is after graduation, I may accept an offer that will mean moving away from my current locality/state and missing the opportunity of experiencing big-band membership. Don't know where 'life' may take me next year.

So.....I envy you.

Does anyone have suggestions for me about what to do about these big-band invitations/opportunities that seem to be coming my way because of bari?
 
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