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Discussion Starter #1
Thought it might be a good idea to start a separate thread so we don't further hijack this month's TOTM-Beatrice discussion.

Steve Neff wrote
We had this discussion awhile ago when this all started about changing up the tunes every month so that it doesn't become all about the good players hogging the stage. I think we have to be careful because there are a lot of players on SOTW that want to take part in this but they will feel frustrated if we call what to them is an obscure and hard tune and they have been shedding tunes from the real book. It would be like they came to an open jam with their sax in hand and they don't know any of the tunes being called. I think we have all been there at one time or another. As I remember, I thought we discussed switching up the months so if a hard tune was called then we would go for an easier or more well known tune the month after. That's how I remember the discussion going anyways. So the most people on SOTW could take part and enjoy it.
I do recall some discussion along these lines, and do appreciate there's been a few more challenging tunes lately. While it's a bit subjective as far as what's difficult (a lot of things are difficult to me) to each player, but there should certainly be plentry of common ground as well.

One thought I have about the last few tunes called is that being essentially instrumental tunes, vocalists have been left out. Also, while a lot of us are jazz players might be interesting to see something a little more R&B/Blues based every now an again. Any suggestions for upcoming TOTM songs?

A few ideas I had..

Night has 1000 Eyes

How High the Moon

Out of Nowhere

12 bar blues - player's choice as far as key, tempo, etc.

A Sleepin Bee

My Shining Hour

something from Jobim/Bonfa...
 

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I think my favorite so far was Maiden Voyage, although it was kinda' boring listening to everyone flub through the melody. I came up with a funky, cool backing track for it on guitar. (I probably couldn't come up with a funky, cool backing track on guitar for Stablemates.) Unless the point of TOTM is to see how well we play the melody, probably best to steer clear of tunes with a long melody. Seems that some here consider tunes without alot of 2-5-1's to be unworthy - or maybe they need alot of changes to give them something to do (and probably don't play full-time in blues bands). Speaking of 2-5-1's, how about Joyspring? That's the most 2-5-1'sy tune I know of - we could see who can play it the fastest! Is there a way to reduce Giant Steps to just three chords???
 

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reposted from April TOTM Re: Tune of the Month suggestions/recommendations

Probably this is the better place to discuss these ideas, so I'm reposting it (with some random humor removed).

Although I'm very, very happy with the TOTM thread, saxmanjack's post *might* be an indicator of some unmet needs out there.

Perhaps there are enough players out there for more than one TOTM thread.

For example, there could be a main one (this one), with the content determined by the tune choice being passed along as done here... maybe a "standards totm", a "rock/pop" totm ... or separate rock and pop totms... I dunno. Or maybe there could be a TOTM 1, 2 and 3, with open content, but that would provide variety.


Of course people could start these threads on their own...with titles like "Let's jam on "Perdido"---April 2012" but having them sticky is a huge help for participation (and there'd probably be reluctance to put the month or "of the month" in the name without some consensus?).

I love these main TOTM threads, and they should clearly endure, and I also look forward to them having some variety...but I also dig that we go on jags for a few months (like this one of tonal, relatively "inside" 60s-ish post-hard-bop tunes) but maybe a sticky'd alternative thread or two wouldn't hurt anyone...it's not like disk space is scarce at the server farm. What do people think?

Of course there's the Beginners/Intermediates thread, which I've been enjoying (currently people are posting takes of Chitlins con Carne, as well as some rock and pop songs)... but that's not going to meet the needs of experienced players
like saxmanjack and probably others...


Best,

Howard
 

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Re: reposted from April TOTM Re: Tune of the Month suggestions/recommendations

Shawn, I like all those ideas... would especially dig doing a bossa. Even, okay, especially something well-known like Girl from Ipanema, if it's not been done recently. A classic blues tune would be fun too... or player's choice on the blues. Also (again subject to not having recently been done):

My Funny Valentine (anybody know/have a link to a backing track that doesn't double the time for the solos?)

The Party's Over (Adolph Comden / Betty Green tearjerker, can be made bluesy or torchy... fun, anyway)

Pick up the Pieces (I guess this must be the Smoke On the Water of high school sax players... so what, it'd be great fun)

A classic bop tune, by Parker or Tadd Dameron or such would be fun at some point...

Some fairly elemental Mingus: Jump Monk. Haitian Fight Song. E's flat Ah's flat too aka Hora Decubitus.

Basically, I'm up for whatever but I must admit it is easier to get into soloing on some of the less harmonically complex, and
more harmonically compelling, stuff, like the blues, Valentine, or Party, or even various post-"standards" pop songs.


Etc....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like all those ideas... would especially dig doing a bossa. Even, okay, especially something well-known like Girl from Ipanema, if it's not been done recently...
Of course I suggested the samba/bossa thing, since I love to play a lot of brazilian tunes and tunes in those styles. At first, I felt Girl from Ipanema was too loungy, but it has great changes to play over and has really grown on me.

As far as the ii/V thing, they're so common in many of the tin pan alley tunes, standards, and jazz standards it's hard to get away from those. Someone definitely needs to call a blues thing, not even a bebop blues. How about some Louis Jordan or something along those lines. Something more raw and riffing!

Shawn
 

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A while ago the suggestion was made to make available a backing track WITHOUT specifying the tune (and with no points for trying to recognize the original tune or play it). The purpose is to have people make up their own tune. This is a far more creative exercise as it requires first a melodic idea, and also allows for a more creative solo that isn't constantly overshadowed by what famous person played it and who can sound most like them. I think there would be more of an opportunity for individuals to find/use their own voice in this exercise.

As one who has not participated or been interested in the TOTM format, it could be that I'm totally off base. Is everyone fulfilled playing/competing at playing tunes the general public don't know or care about? (IMHO) there are lots of areas of music worth exploring that don't depend as much on egos and technical prowess. Putting all the mainstream ideas and attitudes aside for a few moments just might lead to some interesting results.

I don't own a single backing track but have been impressed with the quality of many that are available. Anyone out there have one (not too recognizable) that's worth putting forward?
 

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Re: reposted from April TOTM Re: Tune of the Month suggestions/recommendations

Shawn, I like all those ideas... would especially dig doing a bossa. Even, okay, especially something well-known like Girl from Ipanema, if it's not been done recently. A classic blues tune would be fun too... or player's choice on the blues. Also (again subject to not having recently been done):

My Funny Valentine (anybody know/have a link to a backing track that doesn't double the time for the solos?)
I have an mp3 backing track that I downloaded awhile ago, but I don't recall where I got it. It doesn't double time the solo. I could post it, but I don't know if that would violate some copyright or something.

Also, as far as a torch song, could I suggest "I'm Through with Love", it's wonderfully ironic the difference between the lyrics and the tune, makes for interesting solo possibilities.
 

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I've been doing the TOTM for a while now, and I really can't say the tunes are ones 'nobody knows'. Sway, It Could Happen To You aka Fried Bananas, a blues, My Favourite Things... So recently two somewhat esoteric tunes came up - well, I enjoyed that too. It's a nice way to get inspired to learn a new tune. For me it is a way to expand my library of tunes and an interesting way for self criticism, since usually I don't record myself or use play-alongs. Also, I get (re)aquinted with a tune much deeper than before, since after all I play it, shed it, and then record it over a whole month. Therefore I'm glad that once in a while a tune comes up that I don't know.

I've also stated in the TOTM thread that for the TOTM to be shared it might have been time for a different groove so that the people who are into music other than jazz can participate too. It is true that the TOTM is heavy on the jazz part, irrespective of the tune. It seems to me that something like the TOTM should be shared by the whole sax playing bunch on this forum. It will be interesting to see what happens if a song like Soul Stew is called, because there's a tune that I really don't know - and that is a great incentive to try to play it - I might learn something off of that.

Reine
 

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I do like it when it mixes it up a bit, but I dont take too much issue when someone calls something out of my league. I give it a shot, and if it doesn't flow, well, I just wait till the next month. Sometimes a couple months in a row are out of reach (like the last two months, I just couldn't get Serenity and Stablemates down), but that doesn't happen too much, and even then I get something out of it as I try to learn what I can, and listen to the other player's versions. More often than not, I'll learn a new tune that I hadn't heard before and really dig it. Examples are Ceora, Night and Day, Everything Happens to Me, Half Nelson... none of these I'd really HEARD before... but liked them enough to introduce them to the band I play with and now we've incorporated them.

I think it's great as-is, and I've been participating on and off on the "post your own" longer than most - 6 or so years now. People come and go, and it's all cool. Some may not remember, but there's been many attempts at changing the format over time, but all have failed... because this just works. Right now, there are more skilled players on the thread than there ever has been in the past, and I really dig it as it stretches me more and I learn more. Sure, mix it up a bit with standards, ballads, and the like, but the outside-the-lines tunes are an essential piece of the process to keep the breadth of people we have involved. And a big THANK YOU to the guys that lead the charge on this.... I'm happy to have you around.

Pete
 

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Fully agree with most points mentioned above.

I bought an USB mike in Q4 of last year and started doing TOTM's since then. Most of the tunes called in the past monthes where a bit to difficult for me and not really in the style I like, but still I did my recording and posted them (even while I was not happy with most of the results). Now, looking back, I have to say that it's a good thing to try playing tunes that are out of your normal comfort zone. I learned some things of it, besides that it's fun to listen to the recordings of more (and less) skilled players and to interact with them on the posts. So for that I really started to like TOTM and would advice to keep it as it is. But it would be good to have some easier tunes so now and then. Some of my calls would be:

- Blues (any tune)
- I Got Rhythm (or alike tune)
- Back Home In Indiana
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee (traditional)
- Undecided
- Walkin' Shoes
- Ballad
- ... (could make a much longer list)

If we wan't more people to attend the best way would be to have one or more backing tracks and a chord scheme (for C, Bb and Eb instruments) available for the tune posted.

Peter.
 

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I think the best way to do it would be to make a list of everyone that wants to participate and when your name comes up on the list you pick the tune we do. Jazzers will pick something hardcore but maybe the next month it will be someones turn that would go in another direction and pick something like 'Sweet Georgia Brown'..it seems to me if all abilities and tastes come into play then there would eventually be something to satisfy everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just thinking today, it would certainly be fun to throw a change up or two out there as far as tune selection from outside the jazz world a little bit...

I could imagine some guys rocking the joint with a song like Hideway, Black Magic Woman, Little Wing, How Sweet It Is (Holland-Dozier-Holland), or maybe some tasty Steely Dan like Home At Last, Chained Lightning, or Bad Sneakers.
 

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There's a backing of Tequila that one of the members put up a while back.... If you want to take it in another direction I cant imagine something more fun than that....
 

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There's more than one way of playing a tune. Here's Maceo doing a Monk tune:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6zC54vNWw8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The other day I saw Joe Lovano, and he played Donna Lee - as a ballad.
The issue is not so much the kind of music - I think - but the chord density of some tunes that can be off putting. I would be happy playing Tequila - it could be the vehicle for something totally cool.

Reine
 
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