Right idiom?


Well-Known Member
I went to a gig as a listener. Two friends, both fine players, were blowing sax in the hornsection in a band which I consider to be a Blues - R&B- band. It was also announced as a Blues - R&B gig. The band went through a number of songs and I started to think about how different players can play solos. It became clear when the played the song "Romance Without Finance" (Grimes) in an oldtime "New Orleans" - R&B arr/way. They played the song in E (C# alto, F# tenor).

The altoplayer played a lot of tones during his solo. I got the feeling he was playing jazz instead of R&B! Same volume and no accents (note bending...) during his solo. He played advanced, but it was hard for him to reach the audience. It was more or less like this through the whole gig.

The tenorist played different. Less tones and put some Rocksax effects into his solo. He played loud and spoke directly to the audience. He kept his solo "safe and easy" and stayed in the groove during the solo. The audience showed their appreciation during this solo.

So I started to think about some things:

Why did the altoplayer accept to play a solo (it was rehearsed)?
Why didn't the bandleader talk him into other ways of playing the solo(s)?
Why did he continue and extended his solo(s)? He could get off the solo by giving his fellow muscians a sign ....
Did the band know and listened to that kind of music?

Other questions went though my head as well!

I felt sorry for the altoplayer. I know he is doing fine with jazzband-jazzgig! It was bad timing for him. The place, audience, band, type of music should be differnt for him. Alltough he is a very good player and he is known for being very capable. His work in hornsection was good.

So right idiom is important?



Well-Known Member
What do you mean by tones? Do you mean modal? I can imagine that wouldn't work with blues/R&B at all :shocked:

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
I guess it perhaps isn't his preffered style, so his interpretation wasn't what you (and a lot of others) were expecting from that gig.



Well-Known Member
Kev: I hope you understand my thoughts. It's not that easy to give words to thoughts and feelings. I have to translate them English as well. So I guess I make a lot of mistakes.

Bill: Maybe, but he use to handlle this key (C#) fine. I like concert E. But on the other side, I play awful in all keys!

Artlady: I think he played too much. No breaks for the the audience to get into his playing. Less is more! Charlie Parker did this song with Tiny Grimes but it's more in the bebop style. This was a typicall R&B New Orleans arrangment. Beat 2 and 4 instead of 3 and 4?!?!?

Phil: It was a confused gig! There was about 150-200 persons who had paid entrance. I understand that mistakes can be done, but I it's easier to overlook at a smaller club without entrance. I know what the band charge but they should better prepared. The bandleader should tell the muscians what's the song about and how he want it performed. I got a feeling that they just bought a complete arrangment!?!?

It's easy for me to judge. I just play for fun with friends and if there are any listeners, it's more or less our families!!



ex Landrover Nut
I know I understand what I read from your post - it was excellent and clear. Whether you intended something I didn't get or not.....>:)

To me you summed it up brilliantly, your questions summed it up brilliantly. And idiom encompassed everything. Always enjoy reading your posts - they're clear and concise (I could learn something from that) :welldone

All I could do was agree, cos the answer to the other questions either came out in the answer to idiom - or would have been specualation on my part.

In short the alto didn't fit - style/length.... And wasn't guided by the leader/other band members. Blame on all sides there, including the alto player - he should have realised...

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