[Dixielandjazz] A capella front-line

Doug Burnley jazzhags at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 23:21:44 PDT 2004

Hi Dan

    Our band (Riverside Dixieland Jazz Band), will do this
occasionally, usually on an upbeat tune like "Runnin' Wild".
We usually do a full chorus just prior to the final out chorus
and as you said we try to play it soft & "bouncy", then the
rythm comes in for the final "take no prisoners" out chorus.

    It can be very effective, if not overdone.

Doug Burnley
Cornet - Riverside Dixieland Jazz Band

Dan Augustine wrote on 7/27/2004, 1:14 AM:

 > DJML--
 >      Just listening to a very experienced band (on
 > a 1979 recording) struggle with a style that when
 > well done is wonderful, but it's hard to do.
 >      I don't know what you call it, but it occurs
 > when everyone except the trumpet, clarinet, and
 > trombone (usually) drop out and the three of them
 > play by themselves a capella for 32 bars or so
 > (of the main melody).
 >      To me, this seems very difficult to do well,
 > because roles must be filled while improvising
 > interesting counterpoint.  The rhythm (beat) must
 > be maintained, the harmonies music be preserved,
 > and the melody must be at least alluded to.
 >      The articulations are usually short and the
 > dynamics are soft. The trombone (it seems to me)
 > should take over some of the bass-harmonies while
 > also keeping the beat, but also doing part of the
 > usual trombone-role.  The trumpet needs to play
 > enough of the melody to let everyone know where
 > they are, while interspersing rhythmic antitheses
 > to the trombone.  The clarinet weaves in and out
 > of the trumpet's path like a cat walking in front
 > of you behind you.
 >      Seems difficult to do, and this band i was
 > listening to didn't bring it off very well,
 > possibly because they hadn't played much together
 > before.
 >      Some bands at Sacramento did this
 > occasionally, but is it dying out?  It would be a
 > shame to let this most evident of improvised
 > counterpoint slip away. Does anyone's band on
 > DJML still do this?
 >      Dan
 > --
 > **--------------------------------------------------------------------**
 > **  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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