[Dixielandjazz] Hypothetical Question

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 3 17:40:16 PST 2009

> "Ken Gates" <kwg28 at sbcglobal.net>
> Maybe this question will spark some interest.
> Let's say there is a 7 piece OKOM band with conventional front line of
> three instruments and 4 piece rhythm section.  Each player is of  
> satisfactory,
> but not extraordinary skill level   If ONE player were to be  
> replaced with
> a person of the very highest skill level, which instrument would  
> make the
> most difference in the upgrade of the collective sound of the group?
> A member of the rhythm section?  Of the front line?  Which instrument?
> I'm wondering if my choice of --- string bass player ---is shared by  
> anyone.
> Seems to me an upgrade of the  rhythm section will improve the sound  
> of
> the front line.. Not sure if front line upgrade will necessarily  
> improve the
> function and sound of the rhythm section.
> Any opinions?

Dear Ken:

Here's my 2 cents, not about one instrument, but about front line and  
rhythm section as two different groups.

It has been my experience that the rhythm section is THE key to making  
a 6 or 7 piece band sound good.  When they are cohesive, play the  
right chords, right bottom notes and set up a swinging pulse, it  
becomes much easier for the front line to play well and those gigs  
where everyone is in the groove (or pocket) are a wonderful experience  
for players and audience.

IMO, two good horn players in the front line can cover for a bad third  
one, but that is not true in the rhythm section. Bad chords, or bad  
bass notes, or a dragging drummer will bring the whole band down.

Steve Barbone

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