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Hi All, this is going to be long-winded so I apologize in advance. I've been studying with my teacher for going on 10 years now, and I'm in my early 40s with a full-time job, etc. I have been in a rock band since 2008, and 2 years ago I joined a jazz quintet that was put together as very much a side project for everyone involved, and mainly for fun. The jazz quintet gigs sporadically every few months, and we will play standards for a few hours for cash. Very loose, very informal, but fun.

My teacher has been on me for the last 6 months especially to "start my own group" and lead it. I really enjoy playing standards and that is what I'd want to do. I'd love to put together a quartet to play corporate gigs, or weddings, and focus on events that would be worth our time financially. I have a few questions.

In my shoes, with zero jazz connections, how does one go about putting together a group? Should I just go to jam sessions and network? My teacher has offered to help, but that leads to my 2nd (and bigger) issue.

I have almost crippling self-doubt about my abilities, and I feel incredibly inadequate especially when potentially playing with seasoned jazz musicians. My teacher swears I'm "ready" to do this, but I'm not, and don't want to embarrass myself or waste other people's time with my lame-*** playing. I've posted some things here before, if you've heard any of it, what do you think (honestly)?

Any direction or advise is appreciated. My teacher is more like a very close friend by now, and I know he has the best of intentions in mind for me. I don't think he'd set me up to fail, but he does have a tendency to kick me out of the nest to see if I can fly... if that makes sense.

Thanks all.
 

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Go to the open mics and put it out there. Risk the embarrassment; you'll gain a high threshold for embarrassment, which is a good thing. When I was young and playing a lot of musicals, actors informed me that to be an actor, you have to be willing to go out on stage and make a complete and utter fool of yourself, without regret or remorse. Do that!
 

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Hey it's easy get at least 4-5 players in each category, drummers, bass players, keys, gitar etc, that way when you get the call you'll be able to reach at least one of them. Then scour your neighborhood town city state etc for places to play and beg them for $200 to book the Q'tet.. be sure to have fun while you're doing this..

Cheers


oh yeah never mind how you sound just show up on time !
 

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Would any of the guys in the jazz quintet you've been playing with be interested or suitable? If so, you might start there.

As to your confidence, part of the deal is you just have to go for it, fearlessly.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Would any of the guys in the jazz quintet you've been playing with be interested or suitable? If so, you might start there.
My teacher wants me to find some "heavy cats" with the idea that playing with people light years better than I am will make me better. My thought was "Why would guys that good want to play with me?"

Also the guys in the quintet are all in multiple projects so it's already difficult to get us all together to gig.
 

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Who do you want to kick out of your quintet?

I’ll respond with a serious answer after I have time to think about it. I need to do this too (just moved to a new area and have no musical connections).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey it's easy get at least 4-5 players in each category, drummers, bass players, keys, gitar etc, that way when you get the call you'll be able to reach at least one of them. Then scour your neighborhood town city state etc for places to play and beg them for $200 to book the Q'tet.. be sure to have fun while you're doing this..

Cheers


oh yeah never mind how you sound just show up on time !
Solid suggestion. Also I show up on time and am easy enough to get along with, so I don't have those things working against me at least.
 

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Who do you want to kick out of your quintet?

I’ll respond with a serious answer after I have time to think about it. I need to do this too (just moved to a new area and have no musical connections).
LOL that's amazing
 

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My teacher wants me to find some "heavy cats" with the idea that playing with people light years better than I am will make me better. My thought was "Why would guys that good want to play with me?"

Also the guys in the quintet are all in multiple projects so it's already difficult to get us all together to gig.
If you wait till the time is right it will never be the right time. Someone always has to be the worst player in any situation (often its me), but someone also needs to put the work in getting the gigs and organising rehearsals etc, and you dont need to be a great player to do that.

Why would they want to play with you? Well, for the money for starters, assuming paying gigs work out;) But also for the opportunity to play with the others in the group too and to not have to do all the legwork to get the gigs organised.

Go for it! Good luck. Whats the worst thing than can happen anyway?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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If you have the coin it's not hard to put together a group that will resolve both your issues. Many band leaders have self-doubt. Many have good reason. As the band leader, you should surround yourself with the best players you can find. (They should all be better than you if at all possible) If you provide the gigs, you'd have to be pretty bad indeed to be unable to fill a slot. Being the leader has it's privileges...

You should also begin making a list of "fill-in" players. IF you're playing standards, or "predictable" music, players are interchangeable.


Edit: I see now the post before mine pretty much says the same thing... Hey - You read it on the internet twice. it MUST be true!
 

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Also you can be the band leader, but hand over the responsibility for "musical direction" to someone else if you feel you dont have the musical authority to call those shots...
 

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I was in a similar situation a few years ago. Got back into playing after a 35+ year layoff. Started playing with a friend's R&B band and another friend's rock/jam band just to get back into the habit of performing. Wanted to take it to another level and especially to get into playing jazz. The best thing I did was to find a small local music school that offered adult jazz ensembles. Not only did it hugely improve my playing (got me to practice more as well so I would not embarrass myself in front of the others in the ensembles) but I met tons of other musicians from beginners to pros. Eventually we formed a group of musicians out of which we had several permutations that formed jazz bands (I'm currently playing in three gigging jazz bands plus still with the jam band - and occasionally get called by one of the many folks I've met who are playing in other bands to sit in). The owner of the music school, who was a serious gigging musician, started getting us gigs in some good clubs opening for his various bands. That led to us getting gigs on our own. What i learned was that 1) you are probably better than you think, 2) most audiences (and club/restaurant owners) are way less critical of how you and the band sounds than you are, 3) playing with heavy cats will make you sound better as the band will sound better - especially if you can get a killing rhythm section together (I always say that if I'm playing with a strong rhythm section then I can play the scale and it will sound good), 4) play within yourself and keep it simple and the audience will still dig it (again, especially if you are backed by a strong rhythm section, and 5) many heavy cats will be happy to play with you if they are getting paid. I'm amazed at the quality some of the folks I've been able to play with. And after you do this for a year or two you will be amazed at how better you play and how comfortable you have become. As far as finding gigs on our own, I and the folks I play with are always asking restaurants and clubs about gigging there, and it works.

Btw, I listened to some of your posted recordings and you have a great sound, a good musical sense, and will not embarrass yourself. You sound more musically entertaining than some of the gigging horn players in my neighborhood who play like they are getting paid by the note.

Good luck!
 

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Seriously Buddy go for it, it's worth it when you hit the stage.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I plan on doing it. I appreciate everyone's input on this thread. I have plenty of performing experience with the two bands I'm in now, it was more about not feeling adequate with players who are well beyond me in talent.
 

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What instrumentation?

My dream team would include a B3. I like quintets with tenor sax and trombone.
 

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What instrumentation?

My dream team would include a B3. I like quintets with tenor sax and trombone.
Bass, drums, guitar. I really like the sound of a mellow electric jazz guitar filling space.
 

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I plan on doing it. I appreciate everyone's input on this thread. I have plenty of performing experience with the two bands I'm in now, it was more about not feeling adequate with players who are well beyond me in talent.
Good for you. I've listened to some of your stuff and you sound great. Stay humble, keep it real, and always remember art does not have to be technically complicated to be real and honest and that is really what an audience responds to. Hopefully you do start playing with some really seasoned players and begin assimilating what they have to offer. You will probably find that you have some musical strengths that they can lift off of you. That's part of what Jazz is.

I have similar goals in mind but I think I'm a year or two behind you. Maybe more.
 

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Buddy my experience is this:
a band is easy, finding gigs is work. When you have a paying gig lined up, you can call the best players available, they say yes or no. If no, move on to the next phone number. Good players do not rehearse for casual "standards" gigs. They don't need to. They know the tunes or can read any lead sheet you put in front of them. Make a book (3 copies) of standards that you know and like to play. On the gig just call the tunes, side men don't want to have to think. If you are to be paid by a check, bring cash for the side men, they don't like waiting for their bread. Call players who work a lot. If they like your playing they will recommend you to others and you will also get gigs as a side man.

If your teacher says you are ready, you probably are ready.


best wishes!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Solid suggestions I think, thanks. My quintet plays out of real books already so should be easy enough.

Buddy my experience is this:
a band is easy, finding gigs is work. When you have a paying gig lined up, you can call the best players available, they say yes or no. If no, move on to the next phone number. Good players do not rehearse for casual "standards" gigs. They don't need to. They know the tunes or can read any lead sheet you put in front of them. Make a book (3 copies) of standards that you know and like to play. On the gig just call the tunes, side men don't want to have to think. If you are to be paid by a check, bring cash for the side men, they don't like waiting for their bread. Call players who work a lot. If they like your playing they will recommend you to others and you will also get gigs as a side man.

If your teacher says you are ready, you probably are ready.


best wishes!
 
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