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Real book vs. Combo charts

 
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bluestraveler



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Real book vs. Combo charts Reply with quote

I am a guitar player in a community jazz band. There is no try out and a broad spectrum of abilities. I consider myself intermediate. We have band rehearsal each week - an hour-fifteen with a large ensemble (25) and an hour and a half with a smaller combo (10 of less).

Until yesterday we played big band charts in the ensemble and real book charts in the combo. Yesterday one of the players in the combo brought in some combo arrangements so we don't have to play unison on the head and going out. The arrangements are not in the same key as the real book and they are well - arranged - differently.

I am questioning whether we should be venturuing outside the real books. To me the purpose of the combo is to memorized standards in the real book so we can play with others outside our group now and in our future jazz endevours. Bringing in different keys and arrangements doesn't seem helpful for someone at my level.

I might add that we already do plently of arrangements in the ensemble so its not like we are not getting that experience. In that setting I focus on playing rhythm with shell chords. In the ensemble we typically learn seven or eight tunes every four months, play them at a concert, and move on to a new set. It is totally different than the approach we have taken with the Real Book tunes where we expect to play those for the duration of our musical career.

I would like to make an argument for ditching the arrangements for the combo - permanantly. Do I have case to make when I say that real book charts are the native combo music language and learning (and even memorizing) that language will increase our ability to play with others outside the community band.
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randalljazz



Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds like you are getting some really excellent experience!

i wouldn't be too concerned about the issue you raise. the real book is very common, but players do use other sources (other fake books, learning from recordings, etc), and many standards are commonly played in several keys. and if you back up vocalists...well, any tune could be in any key.

so it will do you well to be comfortable in different keys. (learn the chord progressions to tunes by function.)

that said, real book keys will serve most of time.

$.02
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steve



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 867
Location: oz

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said randalljazz, here here.
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bluestraveller,

Keep it up! You are getting invaluable experience. In the old days, folks would write arrangements for bands. Those days are gone, I'm afraid.

It is TOUGH for a larger ensemble to work from lead sheets. It's a mess, really. The Real Book contains a bunch of lead sheets--melody and chord charts. This will get you through the head of a song. Intro? Ending? Forget about it.

Even the great jazz bands had great, worked out arrangements. The "jazz" took off from these anchor points. Now, it's just--at most--state the head (often with no intro) and BOOM, everybody solos.

It's kind of hard on the audience. No wonder there is a vanishing market for jazz. We owe it to our audiences to pull them in.

Be sure to learn how to do intros and endings.
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