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I keep finding myself in a place where I feel like the least important member of the jazz band. In my eyes, I feel like the second alto part is almost useless. The lead parts are filled with solos, high notes and get take an active role in the overall band. I see the lower trombones and trumpets playing interesting parts, I even see the second tenor getting some love. When I listen to professional big bands and sax sections during solis I always hear the lead alto as a given. Just under that, I can hear tenor 1 and the bari. And when I actively listen I can hear the second tenor. But quite rarely do I ever hear the second alto, the occasions I do it is very faint and unassuming.

Now for my school jazz band sax section, the first tenor and I are told to back off. From my ears, it sounds like my tone is edgier than the other saxes and I always feel like I'm playing over the others. I'm almost certain that I'm the only one who has an actual "jazz setup" so that may be a factor in our section balance. I asked my band teacher about it after our last sectional and he said that he's gonna encourage the others to play a hint louder and may start sharing the lead part between us.

So my main question and struggle for the time being is:
As the second alto player, what is my purpose in the ensemble, and in the saxophone section which members(other than lead alto) should the most prominent voices?

My Jazz Setup:
YAS-26
JodyJazz HR* (6*)
Vandoren V16 (3)
BG Duo Ligature(Silver Plate)

I can get a good range(dynamic and altissimo) on this setup and actually just recently started trying the V16 reeds which are working better than the reeds I used to use. I'm also working on producing a warmer tone and reigning in the edginess slightly. I won't be able to get a new MP or sax soon so I can't change those.
First thing you have to do is check your ego. You're playing in a section. You need to be all in to working as a unit. If you want to play lead because you want to be heard over others you have the wrong attitude for playing in a group situation. If you think you're a better alto player then you should ask to challenge for first chair. But beware, if you don't cut it you will be more dejected than you are now. If you want to play lead and solo more try getting some other band members together to jam.

Anyway, you and all the members of your section need to have one mindset and be all in it for the sound. That goes for every section in the band, everyone is tight! That makes a great band. :mrgreen:
 
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