Jazz Band Update
I started to start a jazz band back in August. My idea was a little untraditional. Instead of a standard fixed line up for the band, I decided I wanted to have a “collective” of musicians who could play whenever they are available. There were good reasons for this.
First, most good musicians are busy, and often in multiple bands. So asking for a major commitment would make it extremely difficult to find members. With a collective the commitment is much less. Collective members can come and play three or four songs at a gig. They don’t need to learn forty songs to gig with this band. And I limited practices to once a month.
Second, having a fix lineup in the band limits what you can do musically. Having several players available opens up lots of possibilities for song choices and arrangements. It will also make the gigs a little different every time depending on who is there.
Third, with a fix lineup, is everyone can’t make a gig, you have to cancel. With a collective, you can gig with the players who are available.
In August I send out an email to about 15 musician friends to see if there was any interest in the collective idea. And to my surprise almost all of them said yes.
So the collective (currently) consists of:
I plan to let the band come together naturally. I will guide it, but not force it to be something it isn’t. For example, I wasn’t initially thinking of having vocalists, but three excellent singer friends of mine have expressed great interest in singing jazz. So I invited them and now I have three amazing singers in the collective. I have tried out several jazz standards with them all and it sounded amazing.
One instrument I really wanted was a keyboard player. Most of my original songs were written for a guitar/keys/bass/drums line up. So want these to be the core of the band. But I couldn’t find a willing keyboard player. So I have been forced to play the role of the sole harmony instrument. It has worked so far but It has limited my ability to do my original songs. Which is one of my main reasons for starting the band. Then our drummer talked to a friend who plays piano with him in another band, and she is sitting with us at practice in a couple of weeks. If she likes the band, we may be set for instruments.
The band has had three “practices.” Which have been really more trying out songs to see if they seem like good fits for the band, and worth pursuing. So far we have about 16 songs that I am confident we will do.
Limiting practice to once a month will make things progress slower, but I have met with some members separately and that has helped. I hope to continue to add three to six songs per practice to our song list, and hope to be gigging sometime early next year.
I am really looking forward to gigging with this band. And I hope to see you there.