Do you think when playing chords in a big High school jazz band, that I should use full, 4-6 string chords, or do you think I should take the easier route and play the less string using skeleton/shell/whatever chords?
Just wondering opinions from those who have had the experience.
There is a pianist and bassist, in case you were wondering.
Thanx a lot!
Flajazzical Grass-rock fusion! Now we're having fun!
Post by Professor1 on Aug 13, 2004 22:47:28 GMT -5
I play in a big band, and I mosty use 4 note chords. Sometimes I play the bass notes, and sometimes I play higher voicings, depending on the most accessible version of the next chord....mostly. The bass, the piano, the trombones, and the bari saxophones will all be playing the bass register roots at some point. I see no need to simply repeat the bass notes.
You'll love it! It looks just like a Telefunken U-47.
With the piano and the bass, the guitar seems to be to really become a percussive instrument: 1)You never want to double the bass notes with the bassist there... it could get some much more interesting!
2)Pianists either hate or love guitarist. I tried to talk to my pianist in my jazz band and we get along really well musically, I stay out of his way, and he stays out of mine... it's the way that it should be... for (especially) if you're using the full set of strings, you'll notice it really seems to clash at times with what the piano is doing. Most of the time I go for a complete immitation of Freddy Green, by using 2, 3, occasionally 4 notes at a time and have that really percussive sound by rolling back the guitar volume and digging in with eighth and quarter notes for that famous Freddy Green sound. Now, I know that most jazz bands (especially in high school) stick directly to big band arrangements from the 30's to the 50's... but it's really fun to throw in a modern arrangement or style to do. Often my director does Pat Metheny because he knows I love doing that. Also, there's always a Latin chart in the folder: When you do that kind of stuff, you can really explore the possibilities (rhythm / chords).
I'll back up houseofshawn on this. Study Freddie Green, he's the master.
Freddie almost never played more than 3 notes in a chord. A lot of the older jazz charts just write in the realization of the full score. Often there's no way a guitarist can play all of that (nor should they, IMO). Using a Freddie Green approach lets you just hit the important parts of the progression. Freddie would often work a chromatic progression of a single note within the chord.
Freddie Green basics are to play a short (but not too short) chord on every beat. Not a chop, but leave plenty of space between the chords. Think rhythm over chord (ie be a percussionist). Freddie would also accentuate the off-beat just a little more. This approach has the guitarist as much more of a percussionist than a major part of the band. You should be felt more than heard (all of us have egos, but you gotta shove it into the background -- you can have your fun on the modern funk stuff). The effect of this style is simply marvelous, though, as it compliments the entire band so well (you may not stick out, but you'd be sorely missed if you weren't there). Besides, it lets the pianist comp all over the place and you don't walk on each other.
One good way to get started, BTW, is to play only the chords that are written on the off-beats. You can work 1 and 3 in later.
Post by dogletnoir on Jul 11, 2009 21:38:14 GMT -5
Less is more... Freddie Green is definitely the man to study for big band comping. Play a 6 string chord voicing in a big band setting & all you'll hear is mud... now try playing gapped chord voicings on strings 6, 4 & 3 & you'll be amazed at how punchy & clear it is. You will be outlining the main notes of the chord usually leaving out the 5th & emphasizing the root, 3rd & 7th ( which give the chord it's character). 'Chunk' it by lifting your fingers off the fretboard slightly after you play the initial attack, & use mostly downstrokes.. it will sound huge when you play it right !
It is much easier to concentrate on timing yourself and maintaining rhythm when you break down chords into two and three notes. It is easy to come up with a variety of forward motion when you improvise, if you initiate ideas on the upbeats.