Authentic Sounds Of The Big Band Era Guitar
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The usual secondary school performance opportunity for the guitarist is the jazz band. The secondary school jazz band is (or should be) a musical experience that requires music literacy. The reality is that if the resources are available the band director needs to connect the young rock guitarist with a qualified jazz guitar private instructor who will stress music literacy. The following are guitar pedagogy suggestions:
This is the original textbook of the Berklee College guitar program. It provides reading skills through the 4th position based on learning the fingerboard through application of movable scale fingering patterns. It also provides a resource of movable chord forms. These techniques are the foundation of reading advanced melodies and playing advanced chord forms found in the guitar parts in a jazz band.
Most jazz guitarists prefer tube amps over solid state amps for a warmer sound. However, solid state amps can be more durable in the school band room setting. The electric guitar player must learn that the guitar amp is equally important to optimum sound production.
This is one of the most common problems I observe when adjudicating secondary school jazz bands. The guitar player should be seated in the front row at the end of the saxophone section nearest to the rhythm section, but not directly in front of the drummer. NEVER locate the electric guitar player (or bass player) behind their amplifier. Locate the amp behind them, so that they can hear it and also use their body as a buffer between the amp and guitar pickups to prevent feedback. Do not block the bass drum or bass amp with the guitar amp.
Douglas Maher is the Adjunct Instructor of Guitar and Jazz Combo at the University of Connecticut. He earned a B.M. (Jazz Guitar Performance) from Berklee College of Music, M.M. (Jazz Pedagogy) from The University of Miami, and Music Education Certification from Central Connecticut State University. Doug has over 40 years of experience as a high school band director, jazz band clinician and performing guitarist.
The Monday Night Big Band was formed in 1992 by a group of Cincinnati area musicians, to bring back the authentic sound of the big band era andgive listeners high quality music at an affordable price.
The Monday Night Big Band is ready to bring the sounds of the greatest big bands to your event including music of Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Harry James, The Dorseys, Stan Kenton, RayAnthony, Les Brown, Count Basie as well as contemporary sounds.
Big bands generally have four sections: trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and a rhythm section of guitar, piano, double bass, and drums. The division in early big bands, from the 1920s to 1930s, was typically two or three trumpets, one or two trombones, three or four saxophones, and a rhythm section of four instruments. In the 1940s, Stan Kenton's band used up to five trumpets, five trombones (three tenor and two bass trombones), five saxophones (two alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones, one baritone saxophone), and a rhythm section. Duke Ellington at one time used six trumpets. While most big bands dropped the previously common jazz clarinet from their arrangements (other than the clarinet-led orchestras of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman), many Duke Ellington songs had clarinet parts, often replacing or doubling one of the tenor saxophone parts; more rarely, Ellington would substitute baritone sax for bass clarinet, such as in \"Ase's Death\" from Swinging Suites. Boyd Raeburn drew from symphony orchestras by adding flute, French horn, strings, and timpani to his band.
There was a considerable range of styles among the hundreds of popular bands. Many of the better known bands reflected the individuality of the bandleader, the lead arranger, and the personnel. Count Basie played a relaxed, propulsive swing, Bob Crosby (brother of Bing), more of a dixieland style, Benny Goodman a hard driving swing, and Duke Ellington's compositions were varied and sophisticated. Many bands featured strong instrumentalists whose sounds dominated, such as the clarinets of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, the trombone of Jack Teagarden, the trumpet of Harry James, the drums of Gene Krupa, and the vibes of Lionel Hampton. The popularity of many of the major bands was amplified by star vocalists, such as Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey, Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly with Jimmy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb, Billie Holiday and Jimmy Rushing with Count Basie, Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest with Harry James, Doris Day with Les Brown, and Peggy Lee with Benny Goodman. Some bands were \"society bands\" which relied on strong ensembles but little on soloists or vocalists, such as the bands of Guy Lombardo and Paul Whiteman.
Other bandleaders used Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music with big band instrumentation, and big bands led by arranger Gil Evans, saxophonist John Coltrane (on the album Ascension from 1965) and bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius introduced cool jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion, respectively, to the big band domain. Modern big bands can be found playing all styles of jazz music. Some large contemporary European jazz ensembles play mostly avant-garde jazz using the instrumentation of the big bands. Examples include the Vienna Art Orchestra, founded in 1977, and the Italian Instabile Orchestra, active in the 1990s.
The Prohibition Orchestra of Chicago is a 10-piece band dedicated to playing the music of the early big band era. All of their arrangements were published from 1923 to 1934. It's the real authentic sound, and they are the only Chicago-area band currently playing in this style. These are the songs folks in 1924 heard at the Chicago Theater played by the pit orchestra, and now played note-for-note by the Prohibition Orchestra of Chicago in the beautiful Sanfilippo Theater. (Hey folks, if you want to dress 1920s for this one, we would welcome it!) This is authentic music played by great musicians and not just for the old-timers!
But not Pink Floyd. The band never sought to hide behind a comfortable domain for the sake of commercial success. They have remained true to their message by expressing it as authentically as they can through their music.
There are usually three guitar players that come to mind when you think of a characteristic Pink Floyd solo: Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, and David Gilmour. And each of them have been able to inject their personality into the band with their soloing approaches.
Traditional New Orleans jazz is band music characterized by a front line usually consisting of cornet (or trumpet), clarinet, and trombone engaging in polyphony with varying degrees of improvisation (without distorting the melody) and driven by a rhythm section consisting of piano (although rarely before 1915), guitar (or, later, banjo), bass (or tuba), and drums delivering syncopated rhythms for dancing (usually, but not always, in common or 4/4 time).
Back in 1994 I had been playing guitar for a couple of years and wanted to play in a real gigging bar band. I had been playing with my high school buddies in a band, and we did some house shows, but now I wanted to be the lead guitarist in a hot cover band that played lots of gigs.
So I went to all the local music stores and found the ads for bands that were needing lead guitarists. If you have ever done this, then you know how strange it can be to call someone out of the blue and try to convince them that you are a real guitarist. You meet some very interesting people doing these kind of things I will assure you.
The need to fill massive halls with danceable music shaped the structure and the sound of swing bands. The rhythm section -- piano, guitar, bass, and drums -- had to work in near lockstep to supply the underlying groove. The bass and guitar would strike each beat. The pianist would pound out 4/4 time with a left-hand stride as swing drummers thumped.
Meanwhile, a style of Western dance music called Western swing became popular in Texas, Oklahoma and California. Western swing bands used amplified instruments like pedal steel guitar to create music loud enough to be heard in large dance halls. Their music was a lively mix of Western country music and swing jazz, and one of the most popular bands was Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys. Another style called rockabilly developed when Western swing bands began playing R&B songs as well as country songs. When singers like Elvis Presley heard this new mix of country music and R&B, they formed rockabilly bands with acoustic guitar, electric guitar, stand-up bass and drums. Elvis had several rockabilly hits early in his career, as did Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. Cash became one of country music's biggest artists in the 60s when he combined the sounds of rockabilly with those of honky tonk. He soon became known as the \"man in black\" because he wore black clothes instead of cowboy clothes, as did Roy Orbison who wore dark sunglasses as well to complete his look.
Honky tonk first developed in the 1940s in working-class honky tonk bars near the oil fields of Texas. Honky tonk bands usually included acoustic and pedal steel guitars, fiddle, stand-up bass and drums, and the songs were often about loneliness, love, heartbreak and pain. Working-class people could relate to these songs, especially those of country music's greatest singer-songwriter Hank Williams. Hank drank too much, had a difficult relationship with his wife Audrey, and died young at 29. But in his short, troubled life he wrote hundreds of beautiful and powerful songs, many of which have become country-music standards like Lovesick Blues, Cold Cold Heart and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.
Another style called bluegrass began in the 40s when Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys led a revival of old-time country music. It featured stringed instruments like guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and bass, and vocals were usually sung in two, three or four part harmony. Bluegrass