[Dixielandjazz] Band Set Ups

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Tue Dec 20 23:13:31 PST 2005

OOPS! I stand corrected.  I don't know why I said Buddy Rich I know better.

The "V"setup works if you have a good room and you don't have a rhythm 
section that swamps the other side of the band which this particular band 
leader has. Add an electric bass and a refugee from a rock band and I don't 
care who you are you aren't going to hear the other end of the band.

There is one other factor that Stan Kenton had and that's the finest 
musicians around.  These guys can pull off things that average musicians 
just can't.  They are also listeners.  That is they know when they are out 
of balance with the rest of the band and correct for it.  The wannabe's just 
don't compare and I still think this setup isn't for the average band.  With 
modern charts often doubling the bari sax and bass bone the danger of 
phasing is likely.  In the stacked setup the bari is right in front of the 
bass bone which usually eliminates the problem.

The other thing about the SK band and other bands of the same caliber is the 
amount of time spent with music which is not the case for most big bands 
today some of which play five gigs a year and don't rehearse.  To adopt a 
setup just for the looks that your band just can't handle is idiotic (the 
good Doctor's Idol is Stan Kenton, hence the setup).

The amount of time that a band spends playing tunes is a big factor too. 
Most of the time the guys around here are sight reading the tune and lucky 
to get a rehearsal before the gig.  If you play night after night with the 
same band and the book is more or less the same even average musicians will 
get very tight.  I'm just saying that few big bands today can match that in 
musician quality or time spent with a book.  So IMO a setup becomes a factor 
in performance quality.

The angle of the V might play an important part..  If it's straight (As this 
band leader does) and not really a V then there is a problem but if the V 
was closer sort of pointing at each other  (@135 degrees  __ /  or less) 
might be an advantage.  At that angle the outer parts of the wings would 
have their inside ear pointing directly at the other end of the band as well 
as their bells pointed in the general direction of the other side of the V, 
yet the appearance would still be more or less the same.  At the same time 
the rhythm section is moved back yet visually is still in the center.

We used this more angled setup for awhile in the AF band and it worked out 
fairly well but it was discontinued for the more conventional set up.  I 
think it was because this setup requires more room than is usually available 
and doesn't add anything to the sound..  I don't recall any problems with it 
then even outside but we did have most of the formula, good musicians, 
adequate rehearsal time and everyone knew the book.

It is great for photos though.
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Vaxtrpts at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:51 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Band Set Ups

> In a message dated 12/20/2005 12:32:38 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
> larrys.bands at charter.net writes:
> One time  I played with a stage band that used the extended "V" Buddy Rich
> set
> up.  In almost all cases this setup is a disaster without a really  good
> monitoring system.  The problem with the setup is that the  brass, 
> especially
> the bass trombone are 20-25 feet away from the sax  section with the 
> rhythm
> in the center.  Great if you are a drummer  and are going for visual 
> effect
> but ordinarily there is no way that the  Bari Sax can hear the Bass 
> Trombone
> on the other end of that mess so you  have constant phasing between the 
> two
> ends.  Of course the band  leader of that particular group is an idiot but
> that's another  story.
> Interesting.  I saw Buddy's band many times and never saw him set up  in a
> "V."  That is the way we set up with Stan Kenton's band most of the  time. 
> And
> --- most of the time there were no monitors.  We were lucky  to have a few
> mics for solos.The Bari Sax and the Bass Trombone played very good  time, 
> just as
> the rest of the band did.  The phrasing was impeccable. It is  all in what
> you get used to.  (And the leader of the Stan Kenton Orchestra  was 
> definitely
> NOT an idiot.) Stan was one of the finest musicians and leaders  that ever
> lived..........
> Mike Vax
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