[Dixielandjazz] A capella front-line

Brian Towers towers at allstream.net
Tue Jul 27 08:50:53 PDT 2004


Good point and I am a firm believer in this. I must remember to have my
group do it more often.  Every band should try to do it now and then for a
chorus - two,three pieces even just one..  It is a true test of a band's
counterpoint, polyphonic abilities, feel for the beat, the spirit and the
individual's grasp of the chord structure.  If the instruments are efficient
in their OKOM role, it will sound just super.  When when the rest of the
band comes back in - wow, it really takes off!
 (On the other hand, if the front line instruments are not up to it, it will
sound like a dog's breakfast and  should be avoided as a device!).
I like to do it also when I am doing a number with a guest trombonist - both
taking turns to take the melody line and then the counterpoint - great fun.
The device also makes the front-liners more appreciative of the back-liners
(rhythm section) too!

Brian Towers
(aspiring trombonist)
http://hotfivejazz@tripod,com (band web sites)
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dan Augustine" <ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 1:14 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] A capella front-line

> 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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