[Dixielandjazz] Band-In-A-Box vs. Aebersold Rhythm Tracks

Charlie Hull charlie at easysounds.com
Sun Nov 28 12:46:03 PST 2004

Before PGmusic came out with BIAB, I purchased all the Aebersold playalong 
LPs.  They were good, but you couldn't vary the tempo or key, and the piano 
chords were generally embellished... lots of altered chords.

The Music-Minus-One series had more basic chords, but each tune was an 
arrangement, and your part had to fit into the arrangement instead of having 
it all to yourself.

Especially when I'm learning a song, I like the 'vanilla' chords, to get a 
foundation of the basic harmonic progressions.  I can 'season to taste' 
later.  It's also easier to learn fast riff tunes at a slower tempo, 
concentrating on playing them rhythmically, then practice them at increasing 
tempos.  It's also nice to work in keys that fit your voice or lay better on 
your horn.

Band-In-A-Box accommodates all of those needs.  You have complete control 
over chords, key, tempo, number of choruses, etc.  If the melody is part of 
the file, you can view the music transposed to your horn key while the 
rhythm section plays in the selected key.  It will even show the notes a 
couple of bars ahead of what's playing so you can 'read ahead'.  Wanna try a 
tune as a latin, or rock, or ??  Switch styles while the tune is playing 
until you find one you like.

BIAB's 'dixieland' styles leave me cold.  They cram in ploddy tuba, bizzy 
banjo, klutzy klarinet, trying to emulate a 'New Orleans' sound, and it just 
doesn't swing.  I use a light swing style and change the rhythm guitar to 
banjo, and it works out well.. not getting in the way of practicing with the 

I make a fakesheet, using Encore, for each tune.  I have around a hundred 
'trad' standards, and many hundreds of pop standards, mostly with straight 
melody on the first chorus and rhythm only after that.

I usually sell them individually or in sets, but will trade file-for-file 
for tunes I don't have.  I can also provide the practice tracks as midi 

For a list of the trads and a sample biabfile, midifile and/or fakesheet, 
contact me offlist.  If you want to trade, send me your list.

Charlie Hull charlie at easysounds.com

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