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Jazz ensemble journal 1

On the ride up to Boone with Pavel, he invited me to play second tenor in the university's jazz ensemble. This may be a stretch for me, as I'm pretty much a self-taught saxophonist with very little experience sight reading. Granted, I've been taking piano lessons for three years, and my reading is getting better, but I haven't played saxophone in a formal (note reading) band since I was in the ninth grade (the '77-'78 school year). So it's been awhile. I've been a saxophone dilettante now for maybe the last five or six years; sometimes I play a lot, sometimes I hardly play. But I've pretty much limited myself to playing by ear or else by lead sheet. A few years back I played bari in the "B" or second string band. This is a little tougher assignment.

How has it been so far? Well, I've rehearsed twice with the band, and I would say that more often than not I'm lost. But I want to make it happen, so I've been practicing. I even took a lesson with Tyler. Today I took my recording gear and recorded the rehearsal, in order to play along with the pieces as I practice. I'll continue with updates on how it goes until our concert, which is in early December. So basically, I have a month to get it together. We're playing

Satin Doll, and A Train. We haven't even rehearsed the pieces yet since I've joined the band. At least I'm familiar with them.

The Chicken. An old James Brown (Maceo) number. With the exception of the complex passage starting at measure 47, I'm doing OK. I recorded Tyler playing it last night, so I have that to work with.

God Bless the Child. Not too hard, but there are some high notes that I hardly know how to finger.

There's a Charlie Parker number that I look forward to playing, and a Maynard Ferguson chart that's not too bad.

Plus another six tunes or so.

Last Thursday, in lieu of rehearsal, we had a clinic with Jeff Coffin and his band. He's played with Dave Matthews and Bela Fleck, but his band, the "Mu-tet", with Felix Pastorius on bass and a couple of other monsters, was great.

I'll let you know how it goes. It'll be an adventure. Rehearsal on Thursday and another lesson with Tyler on Sunday.



Play some Skynyrd, dude!

April 2018



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