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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next week I'm trying out for the tenor spot in a soul-Blues-Rock cover band. They advertised on the main musicians b.b. in Spain and speaking to the leader I learned that the current tenor player is leaving and they also have had some other personnel changes. They are not a professional band and so far only play for themselves, but with the idea of working into getting gigs. Cover groups are a dime a dozen in Spain and so the idea of being in one is really just so I can play and get better, not to make money. In fact since they rent a practice space, it will require chipping in on that. That is worth it to me because I really want to play in a blues/soul band to get more experience and to have fun.

Right now the group is 1 or 2 guitarists (not sure), a bassist, a keyboard player, a trumpet player, the drummer, and a singer. Not that it's important but the trumpet player happens to be American too. When I called up I was the second sax player to answer the ad but that guy only plays alto and bari, and the leader said that they were thinking of having two saxes to have more of a horn section. That sounded good to me in a way, because it would take some of the pressure off me I think....but maybe not. You guys can tell me if it is a good thing or not.

Anyway since I spoke to him he sent out an email that said there were two other candidates for the spot and they had pulled the ad so they could try out the four of us at different hours. It didn't say if those two were only tenor players, but they probably are., which means that I'm competeing against 2 other players.

They sent me the Bb charts for 5 songs and mp3s of the version of each the charts were based on, although they're not exact in all cases. These are not their own recordings either, but by other groups. I've started learning the parts and have played along with 2 of the recordings.

The songs are the following with the origin of the arrangement and the key:

Hold On I'm Coming (Chicago Catz and Bonnie Bramlett version) -- A concert -- B for tenor

Mustang Sally (Buddy Guy) -- D concert -- E for tenor

Tell Mama (The Hard Working Band) -- E concert -- F# for tenor !!!! :cry:

Chain of Fools (The Commitments) -- C concert -- D (Bminor ??) for tenor

Knock On Wood (an Italian group I think, Giogia & Lo Vorrey La Pelle Nera) Eb concert -- F for tenor


None of these charts have the chords notated and looking in a few real books I could only come up with charts for Knock on Wood and Chain of Fools, not in these keys, but of course I can transpose. My question is if knowing the changes, as few as they may be, is important to be able to play a decent solo on these songs or if unlike jazz all I have to do is play over the pentatonic and blues scales for the key of the song? I would assume they want the tenor player to solo, but maybe not. Or maybe only a short 4 or 8 bar solo in a particular section as a fill. I actually won't know until I go to the rehearsal.

So my first question is are the changes to those three other songs important? Chain of Fools is entirely in B or B minor in the Realbook version, but Knock on Wood is IV IV IV IV I I I I IV IV IV IV I IV I IV I I IV V which is sort of a standard blues tune.

If they are, does anyone know the changes to those songs either in the keys above or in Concert key? And if they aren't what do you recommend playing on, the minor blues, major blues, both minor and major blues, the pentatonic scales or a mixtture of some or all of those?

The other question is if anyone can give me general or specific advice on playing in this type of group and also playing for a tryout and what I should shed to prepare for it (besides the written parts I received)? I have never done a tryout and I have no idea how they are going to run it or any etiquette I should follow as far as playing the arrangements and soloing.

I should say about my experience that I've been playing in an amateur combo once a week since September. There are me and another guy on tenor, an alto player, a clarinetist, a quitarist, a keyboard player, a drummer, and a singer. So far we have played a mixture of jazz tunes like Song For My Father, Girl From Ipanema, So What, St. Thomas, Autumn Leaves and some rockish ones like I Will Survive, The Best, I Feel Good, and The Chicken. We gave a performance of these tunes just before Xmas at the Christmas Fair in a town up the coast and itwent very well. The audience enjoyed it a lot and said so afterwards. I got some complements on my solos, at least two of which I knew I had outdone myself on and sounded really good. Right now we are beginning to work on some other tunes, a jazz blues and a Stevie Wonder song.

Any advice anyone can give will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.

Jazz Is All
 

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I say to steal the solos from the well known recordings. People love covers that sound like the albums. Make sure your timing is good, and show how pleasant you are too hang out with.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good idea but my transposing skills are minimal and although I can pick up some things by ear, I don't think I could do it for a soul-rock solo. Plus I don't have that much time to prepare. The advice about timing is naturally something I'm very aware of...and concerned about having to play these for the first time with them....because that is a place where I do usually have trouble at the start with a new arrangement coordinating with the other parts and the vocalist. Naturally I only have my part and can't read the others so it is all about listening and time-feel which takes work for someone relatively new at playing in a band setting. As to the personability advice, that's a good point and I think I am fun to be with and people like me. and as a teacher over here for more than 2 decades, I am used to and enjoy meeting new people.

Thanks for the advice Paul, and for that scale chart, which I have been using since before I ever joined SOTW because it is the most complete concise scale chord reference I know of. It's a top-notch learning and reference tool and serves me well all the time. Your are to be commended for creating and posting it.
 

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Just enjoy the experience of trying out and meeting people - it's an opportunity to build your network.

Tough love here: This isn't something you can cram for. Be realistic. If it's this difficult for you to prepare for an audition, what're you going to do when you're in the band and have to learn 40 more tunes?

Preparing: Listen to the tunes on YouTube and similar for how the vocals and other instruments fit together. Of course, it would be better still if you were already familiar with the genre and its standards.

G'luck!
 

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Good idea but my transposing skills are minimal and although I can pick up some things by ear, I don't think I could do it for a soul-rock solo.
You can do it.

If there are two other people competing, and they can play the original solos, they'll get the job.

Improvising is useful, but more often than not playing the actual vocal melody with maybe some embellishments and a great R & B tone will be much more useful than playing jazzy solos round the changes - growl, altissmo, fluttertongue and a tone with the intensity of junior walker or King Curtis will be most useful.

Plus being a nice guy as mentioned. Good stage presence could also be a factor.
 

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Try to learn the original solos as that might be what they are wanting. If not then don't go wild showing off all you can do to try to impress them........keep your solo to the same length as the original...if they want more they'll tell you........keep the solos melodic and stay close to the tune.
 

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All good advice so far, especially about getting the style down and approaches to soloing... I'll still reiterate, try to learn the original solos (if there are some stand out ones) to the tunes they throw at you. In a pinch you could look up some stuff on saxsolos.com, and that might help you get started, but it's always better to work it out yourself. Like it has been said before, think Junior Walker/King Curtis type material if you really plan on improvising. Lots of solid tone, altissimo, growling, etc. It's stuff that you'll need to come out of the texture of playing against electric instruments (guitars mostly).

Also, I noticed that you don't seem to have a good liking for concert E... At first most people don't... If these guys are copping the original tunes, concert E will show up a good bit... It's a guitarist's favorite key! Get used to hearing it and really getting it under your fingers, it's not terrible to play in!

Most importantly, good luck and have fun!
 

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Growling, flutter tonguing, and squealing out high notes are the quickest way to sound like a rank amateur. Learn the tunes and play in the style, but play you.
Luckily, I play in a cover band that likes that I stretch some. I try to learn the original solos or style the way I would with a jazz tune. I'm not a Rock player, but I can play a solo on a Stones tune if I'm asked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Loads of advice so far, and I thank you for it. Preparing for this is kind of doing it blind, whereas in the band you would go over it with everyone and start working on it and thus know how things go.

I've already worked on Chain of Fools, and the thing is that the chart they gave me doesn't fully match the track of the committments playing the tune as far as I can hear. The solo is great and I'm going to try and copy at least some of the style but I don't think I can get every bit of it down. Tell Mama is fairly straight foward and easy and there is no solo on the recording so if they want one I just improvise one of my own. It's exactly like the recording they sent me so I'm playing along and it's a no brainer.

And although it's in concert E, it isn't really a problem playing it because most of the sharps are easy...I mean it doesn't take much to play F, C, G, and Ë as sharps. The only one that causes slight problems for me is A# because I have become accustomed to only use the Bis key mostly and it doesn't really work in this key too well so I'm having to get adapted to using side Bb.

Just enjoy the experience of trying out and meeting people - it's an opportunity to build your network.

Tough love here: This isn't something you can cram for. Be realistic. If it's this difficult for you to prepare for an audition, what're you going to do when you're in the band and have to learn 40 more tunes?

Preparing: Listen to the tunes on YouTube and similar for how the vocals and other instruments fit together. Of course, it would be better still if you were already familiar with the genre and its standards.

G'luck!
Well yes cramming is not really possible, and true I haven't played much music in this idiom myself, but I've heard all these songs all my life and sung along with them and danced to them. So I am not at all illiterate when it comes to the music itself. It's just getting my head and fingers into playing it on my sax, since I have focused on jazz so much, and like I've read elsewhere, rock and soul etc is a whole other mindset and often not as easy for jazz guys as they think.

The other thing is that I assume that the band has a repetoire, but since they don't play gigs yet I imagine or intuit that everything is a work in progress. So as to having to learn everything all at once I don't think it will be that bad, but I will have to work of course, and I expect and want to. The main thing is a lot of you guys on here have loads of experience playing in these kinds of bands and know more than I do about that, which is why I was hoping to get some pointers to avoid looking foolish and screwing up.

One thing I do know from playing with a couple of them is that drummers, guitarists and electric keyboardists keep upping the volume and so eventually I'll need either a monitor or one of those round things that reflects your sound back to you to hear yourself. Some times in combo I want to strangle them because I can't hear myself...and I'm playing a Berg with a synthetic reed too. I'M not sure how they aren't affected by it themselves, or is it just that they are alread half deaf?

Growling, flutter tonguing, and squealing out high notes are the quickest way to sound like a rank amateur. Learn the tunes and play in the style, but play you.
Luckily, I play in a cover band that likes that I stretch some. I try to learn the original solos or style the way I would with a jazz tune. I'm not a Rock player, but I can play a solo on a Stones tune if I'm asked.
You seem to be at odds with two or three others who suggest to do just that. So who is right? Truthfully it's a moot point and if they want a great altissimo player or a great growler than I'm not gonna get the gig, because the highest I can go with real control is G3 and can get a D but it's not a guaranteed thing and depends on the mpc/reed combo. I just tried it and can play back and forth from F#3 to D4. So if I work on that and can get F#, G, and D4 and feel confident enough about hitting them I can at least get a couple of high notes to hold long or riffw with to wow the audience. I however don't know how to growl, but I can use a lot of alternate fingerings and do a really nice wobble on Bb with 12 123Eb among other effects like that.

Any comments?
 

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If I were auditioning a horn player for our band, I would be looking for an indication that the player can listen to what the rest of the band is doing and fit in. Seeing that the player does not try to play too much, or play in places where he should not, would be just as important as whether they can play the solo from the original recording.
 

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Growling, flutter tonguing, and squealing out high notes are the quickest way to sound like a rank amateur. Learn the tunes and play in the style, but play you.
Luckily, I play in a cover band that likes that I stretch some. I try to learn the original solos or style the way I would with a jazz tune. I'm not a Rock player, but I can play a solo on a Stones tune if I'm asked.
You seem to be at odds with two or three others who suggest to do just that. So who is right?
Bobby Keyes.
 

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But then you would have to change your name as Jazz would no longer be all....

Regarding the Bis...

Are you able to play all you major scales (full range) with the side Bb or the Bis? That's a good place to start at getting used to switching to either one.

I find myself using the Side Bb a lot more in Bebop and swing than in rock or modern music. Like Donna Lee. That opening triplet would be real weird with the Bis.
 

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Tell Mama is originally by The Majestics:


I play this song in a 4 piece horn section of an instrumental funk band (instrumental only)
The solo is played by Alto, other instruments: Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone sax (me) Bass, Guitar, Keys & Drums.

Concertpitch F major.
 

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Good Luck, bring as much enthusiasm as you can, hopefully what you've practiced 'til now will suffice to get you the gig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quit reading all this baloney and go practice!
:lol: Practicing all along as we speak.



But then you would have to change your name as Jazz would no longer be all....

Regarding the Bis...

Are you able to play all you major scales (full range) with the side Bb or the Bis? That's a good place to start at getting used to switching to either one.

I find myself using the Side Bb a lot more in Bebop and swing than in rock or modern music. Like Donna Lee. That opening triplet would be real weird with the Bis.
My name is a bit of a misnomer, it was going to be Jazz Is Almost All Except For Blues, R&B, Soul, etc. etc. but I decided to stick to the main love.

I never think about which I use unless I come upon some combination that it problematic. I used to use 1 + 1 or 1 + 1,2 alot but dropped it for the bis key almost exclusively. Funny thing that playing all the major scales just now I realize that in F# I play Bb bis and roll to B going up but play Bb as 1 + 2 coming down. I just tried to see what that is like using the side key only and I find it awkward because I have to use my whole right hand instead of just my left index finger alone. I do use the side Bb in a number of places however with passing tones and chromatics and accidentals that then are naturalized where there is a lot of going up and down with A, B, and Bb in various combinations and rolling the bis becomes to slow and awkward.
 

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My question is if knowing the changes, as few as they may be, is important to be able to play a decent solo on these songs or if unlike jazz all I have to do is play over the pentatonic and blues scales for the key of the song?
Well yes, imo, it is important to know the changes when soloing. Having said that, you can do a lot with pentatonic and blues scales over these types of tunes. I'd still listen closely and try to follow the changes. These tunes are blues-based in that they mostly use I, IV7, and V7 chords. They are all in a major key, but keep in mind you can use the b3 a lot, and you WANT to use the b3 (of the key) over the IV chord.

Mustang Sally is a 24 bar blues. Just double the number of bars for the I-IV-V chords of a basic 12 bar blues and you're there.

I'd say for this type of band the most important thing going in is to be able to play the standard horn parts. They are fairly simple and you can pick them up off the recordings. Good luck with it. Hope you get the gig!
 

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A lot of good adice for you here. My add would be for soloing, I agree with Whaler. Don't go in there and try every trick in the book. Make it sound good and fit the feel. Use some repetitive licks, and try very hard to resolve at the right time. That will throw it all together, and they will remember that.

As stated before, make sure you take a friendly, positive attitude into the room. Make sure they know you're a great guy to be around, and it wouldn't hurt to tell them that you're willing to put in the work to continue to learn and become a solid, dependable member of the group. They're not just hiring a horn layer, they're hiring someone who they will be hanging around with and that does matter.

Have fun, and I wish you good success!

Jeff
 

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I was looking for a recording of Chain of Fools a bit more "authentic" than the commitments and after searching for I found this gem:

http://youtu.be/gyGMlutYlRU?t=11m29s

OK, no Chain of Fools but plenty of growl and altissimo from the rank amateur tenor player.
 
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