Topic: How Do You Know When You Are Ready  (Read 4111 times)

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NY Frank

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How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« on: April 26, 2008, 08:19 PM »
Mmmm.  So, I certainly have experience playing rock gigs in yesteryear, but I can't claim any semi-pro experience in the jazz arena.  I have been studying at home, and I did a class, but that's about it.  So, I have a friend who is a great jazz drummer, but, he has never heard me play jazz drums.  He has only heard me play rock bass.  He keeps trying to throw me jazz gigs, yet he nor their band have heard me play jazz drums.

I just spent hours with him at a gig, and he wants me to sub for him in 2 weeks.

If they heard me and wanted me, I would be So Supremely Excited, but they have never heard me.  On top of all of this, the sub that he sometimes gets is - yikes - Adam Nussbaum.  For those of you who don't know, Adam is a supremely top shelf player.
Among the best in the world.

In reality, these guys are out of my league.  But, the thought of sneaking a gig in
with them is - amazing.

How do I know if I can modestly cut it?


Chip Donaho

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 08:38 PM »
Just get in there and go. You'll never know how you'll stack up with them until you try. They put their shoes on the same way you do. Besides that, the experience will be great for you.   8)

Mister Acrolite

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2008, 09:27 AM »
How do I know if I can modestly cut it?

By doing the gig.

And by how you handle yourself on the gig. Listen hard. Play simple. Consider how many of the classic jazz recordings such as Kind Of Blue feature very simple, repetitive drumming. Most jazz cats are perfectly happy with a drummer who just lays down the groove.

Listen to the soloists. Support them, stay out of their way, and help them build the shape of their solos. Start out simple and quiet. And don't be afraid to ask questions. If they call a tune you've never heard of, ask them "what's the feel on this one? Is it swing, Latin, a ballad, or what?"

It's a balancing act: on one hand, you need to play with confidence. But on the other, you're still learning, so don't be afraid to ask for guidance.

And the overall rule of thumb: if you can't hear what everybody else in the band is doing, you're playing too loud.

Have fun and good luck!

NY Frank

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2008, 12:31 PM »
You guys are great.   Thank you.

Paicey

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2008, 02:53 PM »
Any hypnotists in your area?, have one cause you to think that you are Jack Dejohnette. Adam Nussbaum?, ya, hes ok, aint got a dam! thing on the New Yorkermeister though. N.Y. ya got ballz-O-steel, accepting that gig would mean certain sleepless nights for Paicey. If you are even questioning it you must feel at least a certain confidence in the situation. Dont pass it up. Remember, the most successful of people are the ones that were willing to fail more than once. You may not even fail!, you might just surprise yourself. DO IT.

Rusty Beckett

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2008, 02:04 PM »
To add my two cents worth I'd say just go for it.  If you've spent time listening to what he plays with the band you'll know, or have a good idea what to play.

A couple of years ago I sat in with a big band after one rehearsal, I thought I sucked, but that was partly because most of the copies of the tunes we played that I listened to were from bands with drummers like Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, etc!  I focused on the bass player and just kept time and I was told I did fine.  After that gig I read something by Phil Collins about when he played with the Buddy Rich tribute band and he had to submerse himself in big band music to feel comfortable with the stuff.




Jim R.

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2008, 02:50 PM »
Maybe he's booking you to play bass.  :o

Well, he is staking his reputation on his referral as well, so you have to trust that too. Take the gig and do your best...it's a great open door opportunity that may not come again. Get through the 1st night and you will have 2 weeks to get doing a better job each nite. I think Mister Acrolite has great advice for you.

Years ago, I got to sub for my teacher with some great jazz players. I was nervous playing with them, especially the seasoned bass player. But I got compliments in the end, they said "Your teacher said you would hold it down and you did man"

Best of luck and congrats!

Nick

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2008, 05:56 PM »
By doing the gig.

And by how you handle yourself on the gig. Listen hard. Play simple. Consider how many of the classic jazz recordings such as Kind Of Blue feature very simple, repetitive drumming. Most jazz cats are perfectly happy with a drummer who just lays down the groove.

Listen to the soloists. Support them, stay out of their way, and help them build the shape of their solos. Start out simple and quiet. And don't be afraid to ask questions. If they call a tune you've never heard of, ask them "what's the feel on this one? Is it swing, Latin, a ballad, or what?"

It's a balancing act: on one hand, you need to play with confidence. But on the other, you're still learning, so don't be afraid to ask for guidance.

And the overall rule of thumb: if you can't hear what everybody else in the band is doing, you're playing too loud.

Have fun and good luck!
I couldn’t agree with this more without special equipment …

Mr. A has basically said everything I was thinking and far more, with much more eloquence.

If you keep it simple, in time & with groove I can’t see you can go wrong…

Good luck, I am sure it will be an amazing gig!

Cheers

 :)

N

chilledbongo

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2008, 11:04 PM »
start out simple and quiet is right. if you can swing, you should be alright. if you have to trade fours, don't go for anything too fancy.

how are your buzz rolls and press rolls? don't know about you, but they scare me... ;)

Hannah Ford

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2008, 11:10 PM »
Hey Frank,

I can tell by reading the many posts and the private emails that you send to me that you LOVE jazz drumming.  Don't let the opportunity to perform with some really great players pass you by. If you do you will always look back and regret it.

I know how you feel. I get invited to make a lot of guest appearances or sit in on jam sessions where I know these guys are serious jazz artists.  It's kinda scary.  

I've never sat in that I didn't end up having a blast!  Even if I didn't know the tune, which happens a lot. I'm too young to know all the tunes a 40 or 50 year old player might know...so (has been said earlier) I ask them the form...once I get that I just feed off the other players and be the best musician I can be for that moment in time.

Like you I want to be a GREAT jazz player. To be one it sure does help to play with great players...here's your chance!  GO FOR IT!!

Let me know how it turns out.  ;)

Hannah


Dave Heim

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2008, 11:49 PM »
Just jump in and do it. 

Some thoughts - in no particular order. . .

1. Arrive early
2. Don't  bring the Terry Bozzio set.  Think Jeff Hamilton
3. See if you can get a typical set list ahead of time
4. On the gig, listen to the other players.  Don't step on their solos.
5. Keep it simple, stay out of the way, don't overplay
6. Eye contact - great for endings, stop times, stuff like that.
7. Some leaders use hand signals to roadmap the tune in real time.  These are pretty universal (at least here in Chicago): closed fist means 'take it out'; touching the bridge of the nose: 'go to the bridge'; touch the top of the head: 'go back to the top'; FYI - you'll sometimes see players signaling on-the-fly key changes this way as well: one finger pointing up=one sharp; 1 finger pointing down=1 flat, etc.
8. I now I already said 'listen', but - listen.
9. Get a felt bass drum beater.  You may need/want to 'feather' the bass drum on lighter tunes.
10. Have fun.



David Newman

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2008, 12:25 AM »
Mr. A's advice was excellent, so I'll just chime in to give my support - go for it! You'll learn a ton in a short time. Don't be afraid to ask about the form/feel if you don't know the tune, the bass player will often be your pal.  :)

NY Frank

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2008, 06:06 AM »
You folks are really great.   Solid gold, helpful commentary.

Last night I started an all out focus on - time.  I put the books and exercises away,
ran the Audacity recorder again, and taped and listened back to every minute of my practice yesterday.

I'm going to put aside for a while any new tool building and just focus
playing very cleanly anything I can already do - using the recorder.  If I do a couple of weeks of this, instead of a couple of days like I have in the past, I think I will take a step.  Audacity is a very strict coach.  :)

Well, I don't know for sure if I'm getting the gig, because he Does have a call out with a pro.  But, if it doesn't happen on this one, it will certainly happen very soon.  My friend - very generously - looks intent on getting me into this project.  [He has significant back and shoulder problems, and really needs to get a regular, easy-to-book sub.]

Again - thanks for great, inspiring stuff.   Whenever it comes, I'm going to
take the next chance I get.

Mister Acrolite

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2008, 06:21 AM »
Just jump in and do it. 

Some thoughts - in no particular order. . .

1. Arrive early
2. Don't  bring the Terry Bozzio set.  Think Jeff Hamilton
3. See if you can get a typical set list ahead of time
4. On the gig, listen to the other players.  Don't step on their solos.
5. Keep it simple, stay out of the way, don't overplay
6. Eye contact - great for endings, stop times, stuff like that.
7. Some leaders use hand signals to roadmap the tune in real time.  These are pretty universal (at least here in Chicago): closed fist means 'take it out'; touching the bridge of the nose: 'go to the bridge'; touch the top of the head: 'go back to the top'; FYI - you'll sometimes see players signaling on-the-fly key changes this way as well: one finger pointing up=one sharp; 1 finger pointing down=1 flat, etc.
8. I now I already said 'listen', but - listen.
9. Get a felt bass drum beater.  You may need/want to 'feather' the bass drum on lighter tunes.
10. Have fun.


Great input!

And number 6 is EXTREMELY important. Don't go off in space. That's one of the number one mistakes musicians make. Stay visually connected with the band at ALL times.

smoggrocks

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2008, 05:26 PM »
wow, that's quite an opp! i wish you well with it.

i am the resident wuss that is always afraid of the jazz jam, namely b/c there are so many sick players here.* but you definitely seem to have a lot of jazz exposure/knowledge, so if you want to, you should go for it.

i definitely would prepare, though, and check on the setlist. i know you asked about real uptempo jazz tunes to practice to--not sure how you made out on with those, but if you found you were shakey, see if they plan on including any of those and if they'd be ok with slowing them down somewhat.

i definitely agree that it's critical to play with people who have it really together and can challenge you--that's the best way to learn. but i also have a thing about being taken seriously. that is, i'd want other players to be confident about my abilities, such that they are comfortable doing their thing. that's why i think having a sense of what they're going to play would be helpful. also, it'd be nice to be asked back, so whatever you can do to make your first shot a positive experience all around can only help you. it's like chick says: 'create a win for yourself!'

your friend certainly seems to believe in you, so that's a vote of confidence. dive in! it'd be great to hear how your experience went.



*the one time i summoned the courage to sit in at a jazz jam, who waltzed in but adam nussbaum. he blew this insane solo that pummeled the players and the crowd. i got totally intimidated and snuck out the back door. super-wuss!!!!! ;D

NY Frank

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Re: How Do You Know When You Are Ready
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2008, 06:04 PM »
Well, I lost round 1.  The drummer was able to book the pro he wanted.

But, hopefully round 2 is on the horizon, so, I better get to work.

 

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