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I've been working to put together a working big band, using all my arrangements/compositions.  This is the first rehearsal that I felt was good enough to offer up the recordings for general comment.  There are some issues with the playing at times, as some people are sight reading the charts. But on the whole, the band did an amazing job on these charts.

All comments, critiques, complaints, comparisons, and categorization welcome!

https://soundcloud.com/bluetonejazz/sets/nov-7-2017

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Hi Charles,

I like it. You’ve definitely got the swing part of it right, that jaunty swagger is spot on. the lush horn harmonies really work well, and overall I think you’ve got a good piece going. I especially like the drumming, so crucial in any jazz band, and he sounds like that rare breed of drummer who really knows how to use the brushes. A few points I suggest: the pace feels a little slow to me, and causes the energy of the piece to be less exciting than it could be. I realize that you can’t do swing too fast, but I think even as little as a 5% faster tempo might be a benefit. Also, and realizing this is a rehearsal session, there seemed to me moments when the music was a bit thin, with less accompaniment than I wanted to hear. A good swing piece hinges on maintaining that lush sound all throughout, and there were some times where I felt a deeper or perhaps even just louder accompaniment might be worth a try. Overall a very nice piece, and thanks for sharing!

Gav

HI Dave - thanks so much.  The end game is getting it recorded, and played live.  Beyond that, I feel like having a properly recorded album is a calling card for whatever is next.  Honestly, I write to keep me sane.  Everything beyond that is gravy.

Dave Dexter said:

Damn, this is smooth. I know nothing about the foibles of this particular kind of arrangement and setup but it sounds excellent. Is this single-mic/camera recording? And what's the endgame - get work as a gigging big band?

Ok, now I need to go rewatch Whiplash.

davedexter.com

I think you're totally right about the tempo.  It's always been a challenge for me, finding the right tempo in live rehearsal... nerves/adrenaline make me lose all sense of what is fast or slow, I suppose...  I also think that it might address the other issue you raised - that when the chart is played at it's "ideal" tempo, the rest falls into place.  Thanks for the feedback!!

Gav Brown said:

Hi Charles,

I like it. You’ve definitely got the swing part of it right, that jaunty swagger is spot on. the lush horn harmonies really work well, and overall I think you’ve got a good piece going. I especially like the drumming, so crucial in any jazz band, and he sounds like that rare breed of drummer who really knows how to use the brushes. A few points I suggest: the pace feels a little slow to me, and causes the energy of the piece to be less exciting than it could be. I realize that you can’t do swing too fast, but I think even as little as a 5% faster tempo might be a benefit. Also, and realizing this is a rehearsal session, there seemed to me moments when the music was a bit thin, with less accompaniment than I wanted to hear. A good swing piece hinges on maintaining that lush sound all throughout, and there were some times where I felt a deeper or perhaps even just louder accompaniment might be worth a try. Overall a very nice piece, and thanks for sharing!

Gav

Hi Charles

You've given us a lot to listen to!

I've listened to Dream Days a couple of times and am listening to it as I write this. Overall I enjoyed it immensely. A few observations. I can't really hear the guitar much - is it meant to be so laid back? The trombone(?) from about 1.16 to 3.20 sounded a wee bit too laid back and a wee bit muddy (maybe because it's playing in such low register) for my personal taste. I don't think the guitar(?) solo from about 6.30 worked as well as it could - the tone sounded a bit rough in the overall mix.

Loved Ether Angel but again I found the guitar tone a bit rough. Loved the crescendo from about 6.10 to 6.27.

Cheers, Colin

Thanks Colin - yeah the mix was just one mike in a room type of thing - the muddiness was just part and parcel for the space, unfortunately.  The electric piano player (what I think you're hearing) was making some less than orthodox voicing choices at times, and through the amp he was using, it ended up sounding very woofy...  Thanks for the feedback though.  I'll have to give it a closer listen next time, to see if there's something I can do from an arrangers point of view to rectify the issues...


:)c



Colin Dougall said:

Hi Charles

You've given us a lot to listen to!

I've listened to Dream Days a couple of times and am listening to it as I write this. Overall I enjoyed it immensely. A few observations. I can't really hear the guitar much - is it meant to be so laid back? The trombone(?) from about 1.16 to 3.20 sounded a wee bit too laid back and a wee bit muddy (maybe because it's playing in such low register) for my personal taste. I don't think the guitar(?) solo from about 6.30 worked as well as it could - the tone sounded a bit rough in the overall mix.

Loved Ether Angel but again I found the guitar tone a bit rough. Loved the crescendo from about 6.10 to 6.27.

Cheers, Colin

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