[Dixielandjazz] Re: Bass Solos

Russ Guarino russg at redshift.com
Fri Jul 23 10:29:40 PDT 2004


I think one of the really tough jobs is to make every tune unique and avoid
boredom.  How do you really do it?  Obviously the band personnel "cycle" gets
boring.  These are some of the things I've tried...

1]  Sing a four beat break instead of play it.  Have you heard Milenburg Joys with
"Sweet Boy, syncopate your Mama" in the middle of a solo chorus?  Unexpected and a
"wake up" bar. But I find most of my musicians are too shy to sing it. I sometimes
grab the mike and sing that bar in the middle of the Bass Sax solo.  [ pre-arranged

2]  Start the tune with a one horn solo with the band coming in at "A".

3] Start or insert the tune with a duet, say, cornet and trombone.

4] the music leads to a four beat break.  Why not four beats of silence? Very
unexpected and another "Wake Up" sound. Or lack thereof. [ No more than twice in
one night ].

5] Start the tune with one horn and pyramid the rest of the band in four bar

6] Short drum solo in the middle of the tune.

7] Accent cymbal sounds at the peak of phrases.

8] Sing he second or third chorus.  Harmonize it.  Need musicians with good ears
and lack of shy attitude.

9] Trade fours.  Background must be very soft or it just sounds the same as the
regular chorus.

10] Tempo changes, fast to slow or slow to fast.  We do this with "Tin Roof Blues"
and it is really neat.  Slow to fast, double time.  Sometimes the rhythm goes to
double time but the tune continues in original time.

I would be interested in any other ideas the readers might have.

Russ Guarino

Dan Augustine wrote:

> Rebecca and DJML--
>      Indeed, i agree, but go further: why should
> ANYONE solo?  95% of the solos i hear, even in
> so-called professional bands, are just noodling,
> have nothing of musical interest, repeat stale
> musical motifs, have no originality, and are not
> even very good technically on the instrument.  So
> why do people feel forced to take solos when they
> have nothing good or original to say? Most solos
> don't even remind one much of the original tune,
> unless the player is good enough to use parts of
> the original melody in his solo.  Talk about ego
> and solos?  Bass/tuba players have (and have to
> have) less ego than the front-line players.
>      "Just hoping it would get better, man", as
> the sax-soloist said in response to the question
> of why his solo lasted for 20 minutes.
>      Now, 5% of the soloists consistently have
> something good, or original, or technically
> impressive, or just different to say, most of the
> time.  So why should the audience have to listen
> to 16 bars of the original tune, followed
> automatically in every tune by 32 bars of solos
> by the clarinet player, the trumpet player, the
> trombone player, the piano player, and the banjo
> player, with a final 16-bar reminder of the
> original song at the end?  Very boring. Bands
> play different songs because they like the songs
> and the songs are different from each other (one
> hopes), so why not play more by the whole
> ensemble?  That's when actual
> 'dixieland'--improvised polyphonic
> counterpoint--occurs.  There's no dixieland in
> solos, which have no counterpoint.  There may be
> jazz (not bloody likely, usually), but no
> dixieland.
>      With regard to bass/tuba-players (not "with
> respect to", since they don't get any), 99% of
> them can't take a good solo (including me, which
> is why i don't). However, the 1% that usually do
> play good solos are better at it than 95% of the
> solos by the other instrumentalists, so i'd
> rather hear a solo anytime by Dave Gannett than
> one by the trumpet player in band X.  Bass/tuba
> players are not necessarily worse or
> less-talented musicians than any other
> instrumentalists, but they're treated that way in
> bands, and are written for that way by composers
> and arrangers.
>      That should be enough for a while.  End of rant.
>      Dan
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >From: "Thompson" <rebecca.e.thompson at verizon.net>
> >To: "'dixie'" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> >Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 07:44:55 -0500
> >Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Bass Solos
> >
> >Which leads me to ask the question.  Why are bass players given a solo?  Is
> >it just for their ego?  Or just a way to give the other players a rest?
> >Seems no one really appreciates them...
> >
> >I LOVE the bass line when played with other players.  BUT solo?  Very
> >seldom.
> >
> >Rebecca Thompson
> >Flower Mound, TX
> --
> **--------------------------------------------------------------------**
> **  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
> **              "Do not try to be a genius in every bar."             **
> **         -- Advice to students by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)         **
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