[Dixielandjazz] Tune Lists for gigs

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 12 14:19:55 PDT 2007

Ginny makes a good point about tune lists. Certainly there should be no
discussions on the bandstand about the next tune and/or a vote by the
sidemen as to what they want to play. Not even in "All Star" bands  put
together for jam sessions. The session leader gets the big bucks to lead and
that's what he/she should do.

While my band does not use an advance list, except in rare instances, we do
not have gaps in the performance choosing the next tune either. Sometimes
part of my shtick is to ask the band for a tune selection and then after a
very few seconds of mock discussion say.; "We can't make up our mind for the
next tune so we are going to play "Undecided".

What I do, as band leader, is choose the first tune before we get on the
stand. Then while we are playing it and one of the guys/gals is soloing, I
look at my tune list for a second tune. Pick a different key/different tempo
tune. Then when my patter between tunes is over, I call the tune over the
microphone to the audience, which is usually the first time the band knows
what it is.

Why? Because I like to gauge the audience reaction. I look at their eyes,
their feet, their expressions and try and get an empathetic feel for what
turns them on, or not. And I also think it helps the sidemen pay attention
not knowing what they are going to play until the last minute. And I believe
it helps them be more creative when improvising.

It works for us, and may not work for others.

Steve Barbone

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