Sax on the Web Forum banner
81 - 100 of 103 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,405 Posts
There are rehearsal bands almost everywhere. Personally I wouldn't throw the commitment to a band into the mix you're describing just yet; I'd wait till you get better settled. When Covid wanes, all those rehearsal bands will be starting back up. Figuring out how to find them is a trick, but a good starting point would be to search "community band" in your location. Many amateur concert bands also have a jazz band annexe, which is almost always a standard big-band. Those have been the starting points for most of my big-band playing through the last 40 years.

For example, a local guitar player wanted to start up a show band; he contacted an old friend of his who happened to run a rehearsal band that I was in. So I played a couple rehearsals for that band, it never went anywhere, but when the tenor player I was sitting next to decided to start a society band, HE contacted the same rehearsal-band director to get a sax section for a one-off gig; gig went well; I played baritone in that band (a professional dance/wedding/event band) for the next 10 years.

That's the way this stuff goes. If you can read, solo, understand the role of the baritone sax in the sax section, and have a pleasing big compelling sound, you'll get work on bari. There's a big difference between the guy that owns a bari and the guy that's committed to the big horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
35,495 Posts
Told him I'll think about it but "I'm busy right now and not available until summer 2022".

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...

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.

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?
I have trimmed your note (above) for your reflection. You make a compelling case - you are committed already.

My case has been not so different, and now I am on the other side of it. I had no time for an ensemble when in school, and committed to my academics for 12 years until I completed my Ph.D. Once I found a job, I landed a gig (on bari) in two big bands - one where I worked and another where I lived (45 miles from work). I eventually “outgrew” the big band near work (couldn’t stand the drummer), but stayed with the other band for 20+ years, moving from bari to second tenor, then ultimately to first tenor.

My suggestion is to respect your commitment to your family and your studies, and shed like crazy on your horn when you can so you are ready to make the commitment to a band when it becomes available and you have time in your life for it. Summer of ‘22 is really not that far away.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DeNote Sax

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,921 Posts
Big band sure is complicated for you guys. I just show up and play. If someone is in over their head or can't get their sh*t together, they usually drop out on their own. Same goes for those who are at a much higher level than the rest of the band. I can usually tell how it's going to go after reading the first chart. In our band, if you can swing, play in tune and read well enough to get it on the 2nd or 3rd try, you're in.

As future opportunities go, it's great if those bands can wait that long for you. But whenever I have a slot to fill in my band, I'm not that patient. I beat the bushes until I find someone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
I have trimmed your note (above) for your reflection. You make a compelling case - you are committed already.

My suggestion is to respect your commitment to your family and your studies, and shed like crazy on your horn when you can so you are ready to make the commitment to a band when it becomes available and you have time in your life for it. Summer of ‘22 is really not that far away.
There are rehearsal bands almost everywhere. Personally I wouldn't throw the commitment to a band into the mix you're describing just yet; I'd wait till you get better settled. When Covid wanes, all those rehearsal bands will be starting back up. Figuring out how to find them is a trick, but a good starting point would be to search "community band" in your location. Many amateur concert bands also have a jazz band annexe, which is almost always a standard big-band. Those have been the starting points for most of my big-band playing through the last 40 years.
........................
That's the way this stuff goes. If you can read, solo, understand the role of the baritone sax in the sax section, and have a pleasing big compelling sound, you'll get work on bari. There's a big difference between the guy that owns a bari and the guy that's committed to the big horn.
Thanks Dr G and Turf3 (it just feel inappropriate for me to reply/type your username, starting with small 't' :). Pardon my capital). I've always respected your logic and contributions on this forum. It makes sense to prioritize appropriately, shed and be ready for future opportunities.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #85 · (Edited)
Always great advice. Just adding the oncoming details:

They did their gig sans Tenor 2 (which has been their normal for a while). It went well - I've got their next setlist for upcoming gig. And I've got all the band sheets! Time to get reading, rehearsal coming up Tuesday :D
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Rehearsal went pretty good. I did get one solo, which went well until I jumped the gun and ended the solo section 4 bars early.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Filled in for the 2nd alto player and we had a great tenor player sit in with the group in my seat. Fun to play the different parts, but definitely found myself overblowing trying to keep up with the brass. May need to take my high baffle piece for this group on alto :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,676 Posts
Filled in for the 2nd alto player and we had a great tenor player sit in with the group in my seat. Fun to play the different parts, but definitely found myself overblowing trying to keep up with the brass. May need to take my high baffle piece for this group on alto :D
That might not be a very good idea Jared! One of the most important things of playing in a saxophone sections is blending with the rest and staying under the volume of the lead alto. High baffle pieces normally don't do a good job in Big Band sections because they disrupt the balance.

Better is to work on your airstream support with your current setup. If I remember well you have a 10mfan alto piece and Mark's mouthpieces always play easy and can take a lot of air, so I would concentrate on getting the full benefit out of that setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,269 Posts
Yup- I played a lot of 2nd alto and 2nd tenor in big bands. IMO these are the most difficult sax chairs since you are often playing in harmony to the lead lines. I used a nice playing Meyer 7M for all the alto work. It can be difficult to hear yourself not just because of the volume but simply due to where the lines lay in relation to what's going on in the rest of the section and entire band. Also, if you're sitting in the sort of "standard" big band arrangement where the bones are sitting right behind the saxes and the trumpets standing in the back; the brass is always going to sound really loud because they are basically blowing directly into your ear. I'd go at least a few more rehearsals before switching to a really bright piece. I'd also consider if you playing louder or with more edge is really the right solution for the band as a whole. Some of the rehearsal bands I've played in set up in more of a U shape, almost like a small orchestra, instead of the traditional bleacher-style configuration and that helps quite a bit though it's often not ideal when playing gigs. Likewise, the brass may just need to learn to play with more control and your conductor should be correcting that.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Ah thanks! I was actually kidding. Should have used a more sarcastic smiley face. But all good notes. The overblowing was more a sign I'd been practicing tenor almost exclusively.

I actually was told I had a great sound and blend for my first day on Alto.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #91 ·
Well, figured I'd throw in another update for everyone. I'm filling in for our 2nd alto player, first gig with the band is NYE. I've also got a Solo part on soprano for the next rehearsal.
I've worked up well on a few parts. I am indeed feeling a lot more comfortable blending and playing proper dynamics and articulation. Hope that can begin to show more in my solo playing and videos. Thanks for all the help everyone.

Sidebar, 2nd alto is indeed an easier part than the 2nd tenor. I swear they just look at whatever note is least emphasized from a chord and thats what 2nd tenor plays. Jumping all around the horn aimlessly sometimes :p.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
35,495 Posts
Told you so.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,408 Posts
Good for you, Jared, I'm glad you're getting out there! Nothing gets you better at doing the thing than... doing the thing. :)

And yeah, 2nd tenor/2nd alto books will improve your reading chops more than almost anything. Incidentally, if you want the North Texas sight-reading boot-camp series of texts, it's basically these: the Charlie Parker Omnibook; all the etude books by Dan Higgins; and – gnarliest of them all – "Advanced Rhythms" by Joe Allard. That one is the sight-reading equivalent of jogging with a backpack full of rocks at 5:00am in the Ozarks. (Which is to say, highly recommended!)
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Good for you, Jared, I'm glad you're getting out there! Nothing gets you better at doing the thing than... doing the thing. :)

And yeah, 2nd tenor/2nd alto books will improve your reading chops more than almost anything. Incidentally, if you want the North Texas sight-reading boot-camp series of texts, it's basically these: the Charlie Parker Omnibook; all the etude books by Dan Higgins; and – gnarliest of them all – "Advanced Rhythms" by Joe Allard. That one is the sight-reading equivalent of jogging with a backpack full of rocks at 5:00am in the Ozarks. (Which is to say, highly recommended!)
It's been a while since I tried some Omnibook, I have never been able to get much of it up to tempo. May be time to shed some Bird again!

Then maybe I can work my way up to the weighted hiking trip ;), it's been a few years since ive had to do that as well haha.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Played my NYE gig, had a great time. However, maybe some advice needed. I rarely practice for more than 2 hours, and this was a 3 hour gig. However, my Chops were fine, but around the two hour mark, something odd happened.

The whole horn became very hard to play, especially at quiet dynamics. I was struggling through notes, and checking for sticking pads, but it felt like something was stuck in the horn (or so I thought). At the next break I swapped over to a different reed and everything opened back up. So , I wonder if it's my reed going soft on me and I should toss it? Or do I need to go up in strength? Or something else?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,269 Posts
If you're using a synthetic it may be closing up on you. If your playing cane it's more likely the reed absorbed enough moister to swell away from the table just behind the window or, especially here in CO, it dried out along the rails- could be some of both as well. Either of these will increase the amount of resistance a lot. I typically keep a glass of water handy to dip mouthpieces in every so often to avoid the drying problem. I just dip the beak of the piece with the reed attached to make it quick and simple.
 

·
Registered
Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
Joined
·
2,345 Posts
Played my NYE gig, had a great time. However, maybe some advice needed. I rarely practice for more than 2 hours, and this was a 3 hour gig. However, my Chops were fine, but around the two hour mark, something odd happened.

The whole horn became very hard to play, especially at quiet dynamics. I was struggling through notes, and checking for sticking pads, but it felt like something was stuck in the horn (or so I thought). At the next break I swapped over to a different reed and everything opened back up. So , I wonder if it's my reed going soft on me and I should toss it? Or do I need to go up in strength? Or something else?
What was your setup (reed and ligature in particular)?

Beyond the reed just drying out, one thing that has happened to me in the past and was baffling until I figured it out was my ligature working itself loose over the course of a long playing session. I haven't had this happen with two-screw ligs, but it has happened with various single-screw ligs (including Rovners). Either way, it's good to have a spare reed wet and ready to go when you're planning an extended playing session. When playing long gigs, I usually switch out my reed during the intermission or set break.
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #98 ·
If you're using a synthetic it may be closing up on you. If your playing cane it's more likely the reed absorbed enough moister to swell away from the table just behind the window or, especially here in CO, it dried out along the rails- could be some of both as well. Either of these will increase the amount of resistance a lot. I typically keep a glass of water handy to dip mouthpieces in every so often to avoid the drying problem. I just dip the beak of the piece with the reed attached to make it quick and simple.
Was a synthetic, switched to Cane when I fixed things. Was thinking a stronger synthetic may help resolve jt. I like not having to worry about a reed drying out in the 'wonderful climate' we have lol
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Discussion Starter · #100 ·
What was your setup (reed and ligature in particular)?

Beyond the reed just drying out, one thing that has happened to me in the past and was baffling until I figured it out was my ligature working itself loose over the course of a long playing session. I haven't had this happen with two-screw ligs, but it has happened with various single-screw ligs (including Rovners). Either way, it's good to have a spare reed wet and ready to go when you're planning an extended playing session. When playing long gigs, I usually switch out my reed during the intermission or set break.
Interesting point! The lig was causing me some issues, but moreso after swapping reeds to my cane reed.

Setup was a Forestone White Bamboo 2.0 reed (my go to) with a Vandoren M/O log (single screw) on my 10mfan Daddy-O 6. I swapped to a Boston Sax Shop 2.5 Alto reed.
 
81 - 100 of 103 Posts
Top