We're pleased to announce the resumption of JazzAmerica in 2017, starting with our annual study of Traditional Jazz.
Rehearsals will again take place at the Musicians Union, 817 Vine St., Hollywood 90038, from 9:45 am to 12:30 pm, every Saturday through May 13.
Opening day is January 7, 2017.
Performances of the Trad Band: Sunday - April 2 (1:30 pm call time, 4:00pm finish) at the Valley Jazz Club, 20925 Osborne St., Canoga Park, CA Sunday - April 9 (5:00 pm call time, 7:30 pm finish) - Northridge United Mehtodist Church Sunday - May 14 (2:00 pm call time, 4:00pm finish) at SBNOJC, 230 Avenue I, Redondo Beach, CA
Everyone who wants to be in the 2017 Trad Band must submit a "remote audition" - a recording of yourself playing the Melody and a Solo on any 5 of these tunes:
All of Me, Avalon, Bye Bye Blackbird, Do You Know What It Means, Honeysuckle Rose, (Back Home in) Indiana, Struttin' With Some Barbecue, Sweet Georgia Brown, Way Down Yonder, and When You're Smiling
You may submit your recorded audition any time between now and December 31, 2016. At the January 7 rehearsal, you should be prepared to play ALL of the 10 pieces listed - not just the ones you record for your audition.
(NOTE: Lead Sheets (i.e., melody and chord changes) for all 10 tunes can be found at www.JazzAmerica.org Once you're on our website, go to SHEET MUSIC. Scroll past all the 2015 Big Band music until you see a Burgundy-hued paragraph that says The following are not Big Band tunes. The website is undergoing reconstruction, but you will find all 10 Lead Sheets for your instrument with some patient scrolling.)
Traditional Jazz is traditionally played Without Sheet Music. To pass the final audition (in-person, 1/7/17) and gain acceptance to the JazzAmerica Trad Band 2017, you'll be expected to have the 10 tunes Memorized.
Everyone will need to demonstrate their knowledge of each Melody, and everyone will need to play a swinging Solo that follows the Chords and Scales of each tune.
Also, prospective Trad Band members will need to be able to play their own Backgrounds, Fills and Harmony Notes. There's no standing (or sitting) around in Trad Jazz without each player providing a "voice" to the "collective improvisation" that is essential to this idiom.
For guidance in becoming more familiar with Trad Jazz, there are some great resources available at jazzednet.org.
You should spend some time visiting the site and creating your own access to the resources there. One of many helpful pages on that site is this one:
YouTube is a good place to go to hear these 10 tunes played in Trad style.
Why not listen repeatedly to the Audition tunes - and Transcribe some nifty Solo phrases from the recordings? TRad Jazz is an Aural medium; all the great players stole from those who came before them. There has never been a Trad trumpet (or cornet) player who didn't try to sound like Louis Armstrong.
Every year we hear about some students' activities that conflict with our every-Saturday rehearsal schedule.
Every year, some students are disappointed that they are not permitted to Perform after they've missed rehearsals leading up to a performance.
We try to be flexible and fair, but we don't always please everyone.
Please bear in mind: this is a Group activity. We try to teach values such as Commitment, Respect and Group Needs vs. Individual Wants as well as music.
If you see now that you will have to miss 4 or more rehearsals - between January 7 and April 1 - please don't plan to participate in the 2017 JazzAmerica Trad Band
Also: if you see now that you will not be available to perform on April 2 or May 14, please don't plan to participate in the rehearsals.
(Alternatively: We plan to have a 2017 JazzAmerica Big Band beginning in mid-May, so check your schedule for your availability from that date through mid-August.)
If you know of a student who wants to join the Trad Band, please forward him/her this message.
Get Ready to Swing!
JazzAmerica announces Remote Auditions for its Trad Band 2017.
We're going to start the musical conversation with these classic American tunes:
All of Me
Bye Bye Blackbird
Do You Know What It Means
(Back Home Again in) Indiana
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
Sweet Georgia Brown
Way Down Yonder
When You're Smiling
Copies of those 10 Tunes are available for you to download from this website.
To find them, please scroll past the following titles: Second Line, Night Train, Such Sweet Thunder, Aprin in Paris, Jumpin' at the Woodside and Au Privave
Then you'll see copies of All of Me and the rest of the Top Ten Trad Tunes. Be sure to print the copy for Your Instrument.
Traditional ("trad") Jazz finds expression in a group where everyone plays the same song - differently! It's a conversation where everybody speaks at once. Usually, a Trumpet or Cornet plays the melody. A Carinet plays an almost continuous "commentary," as if reacting to the melody in an upper register. A Saxophone or two will play "fills" in the holes or spaces in the melody, using scale and chord notes. The Trombone thinks it's a Bass - playing lots of Roots and Fifths and short bursts of rhythmic punctuation. Piano (and/or Banjo/Guitar), Bass and Drums keep everyone hopping with rhythm you can dance to.
To have fun playing Trad, it's most important to
(1) learn the Melody of a song
(2) learn the Lyrics - so you know the story the composer wants to tell
(3) learn the notes hidden inside the Chord symbols. When a Chord symbol appears on a piece of sheet music - such as C maj 7 - we musicians need to know that C, E, G and B are the strongest notes to play. The notes in between those scale notes - D, F, and A- are "Scale Tones," neighbors of the chord notes. Trad Jazz players choose a handful of Scale and Chord tones from each Chord Symbol, and the notes we play change each time the Chord changes.
(4) listen to Trad to pick up its basic Rhythm. "Swinging eighth notes" are the building blocks of jazz rhythm. Some say the rhythm of jazz happens when eighth notes alternate beween 'loud' and 'soft'; others say jazz rhythm consists of "dotted eighth, then a sixteenth"; still other insist: jazz "swings" because it dances along with a series of eighth-note Triplets.
Imagine a drummer holding a stick and aiming it at the top of a cymbal. His goal is to give the band the Tempo (rate of speed) of a song. To establish the Swing or Jazz "feel," he'll tap the cymbal on the first eighth note, lift the stick on the second eighth, and tap again on the third eighth. Immediately after that third tap, he starts again - so his pattern is a pretty rapid Tap-Rest-Tap, Tap-Rest-Tap - until the band agrees the song should end.
You can play Trad Jazz with JazzAmerica in 2017!
We will meet beginning Saturay, January 7, 2017, at the Musicians Union, 817 Vine St., Hollywood 90038, from 9:45 am to 12:30 pm, every Saturday through May. We will Perform three Concerts!
All you need is to:
(a) listen - on recordings or on YouTube clips - to the tunes listed below, so you begin to get the feeling of the music
(b) download the 10 pieces provided here
(c) memorize five of them, and try to Solo, using Chord Tones, Scale Notes and short bursts of rhythm
(d) record yourself playing the five tunes, and include your Name, Age, School, contact phone (for texting) and street address
(e) do all this by December 31, 2016
(f) send your sound files to: UFOBASS@aol.com
(g) prepare to join us every Saturday morning through May. We allow as many as 4 absences - and we'll need you to commit to playing at our performances:
- Sunday, April 2 - 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Canoga Park - Sunday, April 9 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm - Northridge - Sunday, May 14 - 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Redondo Beach
"Night Train" is one of the most recognizable blues tunes ever stolen.
Here is one version of how it came into being, according to Wikipedia:
Origins and development
"Night Train" has a long and complicated history. The piece's opening riff was first recorded in 1940 by a small group led by Duke Ellington sideman Johnny Hodges under the title "That's the Blues, Old Man". Ellington used the same riff as the opening and closing theme of a longer-form composition, "Happy-Go-Lucky Local", that was itself one of four parts of his Deep South Suite. Forrest was part of Ellington's band when it performed this composition, which has a long tenor saxophone break in the middle. After leaving Ellington, Forrest recorded "Night Train" on United Records and had a major rhythm & blues hit. While "Night Train" employs the same riff as the earlier recordings, it is used in a much earthier R&B setting. Forrest inserted his own solo over a stop-time rhythm not used in the Ellington composition. He put his own stamp on the tune, but its relation to the earlier composition is obvious.
Like Illinois Jacquet's solo on "Flying Home", Forrest's original saxophone solo on "Night Train" became a veritable part of the composition, and is usually recreated in cover versions by other performers. Buddy Morrow's trombone transcription of Forrest's solo from his big-band recording of the tune is similarly incorporated into many performances.
A jazz fan writing on the site Jazzwax.com offers this 'Take':
"Such Sweet Thunder"is the name of an extended work by Duke Ellington. It displays his deep understanding of both music and literature - drawing upon themes in several of Shakespeare's plays. The individual piece, Such Sweet Thunder, found its impetus in Shakespeare’s most magical play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, notably in a line that so well captures the harmonious clashing of styles and languages in both the Duke and the Bard: “I never heard so musical a discord, such sweet thunder.” Dangerous Minds quotes Ellington, who called the piece his “attempt to parallel the vignettes of some of the Shakespearean characters in miniature—sometimes to the point of caricature.” The suite of songs premiered at New York’s Town Hall in April, 1957, at a concert called “Music for Moderns.” (from the website opencuture.com)
"Jumpin' at the Woodside" is a signature piece of the Count Basie Big Band. You can find various examples on YouTube, perhaps the best of which is from 1945, featuring tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Another terrific version features saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.
The band functions as a "riff machine," tossing out rhythmic ideas in unision to keep the soloist jumpin'.
The chord changes for Soloing are provided at the end of the individual instruments' parts, below.
"Au Privave" (probably a misspelling of "apres vous," or "after you," in French) is a Charlie Parker tune based on the chords of the blues in F. The arrangement we are playing takes Bird's melody in unison, harmonizes his recorded solo across the saxophone section and then gives way to improvised solos. This is the modus operandi of the group Supersax, led by Med Flory.
(The following pieces are not Big Band material. They are tunes to be learned by members the JazzAmerica Trad Band, which convenes in January of each year. Please do not download them for the Big Band season.)
The first ten pieces for you to download are for those of you who play Concert C instruments - flute, piano, guitar, drums, oboe, vibraphone
Now you have the repertoire for the first segment of the 2016 JazzAmerica Trad Band semester.
Look for YouTube videos of these songs being performed. Try to memorize some 'licks' or ideas from the soloists you hear. Play arpeggios through the chord changes. Try playing along, collective improvisation-style.
See you Saturday, January 7, at 9:45 am.
Download your 2015 JazzAmerica Big Band music here!
Look for your instrument and be sure to print out every page. (In some cases, an entire part is included in one link; sometimes, the individual pages were scanned separately.)
(If you want to practice Soloing, print the Guitar part or Lead Sheet for the solo chord changes.)
In its first performance of 2013, the JazzAmerica Trad Band performed to a packed house on Sunday, March 17.
Under the auspices of Jazz Forum, 17 musicians wailed through an hour-long set of "early jazz" tunes.
Jazz Forum meets one Sunday per month, providing a haven for fans of "trad" jazz and a place for trad and mainstream-jazz players to jam. Jazz Forum also encourages young musicians to attend, listen and jam; in fact, every other month, Jazz Forum presents a youth band, and then presents a different professional group on alternating months.
Among the outstanding soloists in the JazzAmeric Trad Band were: - Jason Kurokawa, trombone - Jarred Dahlerbruch, trumpet - Dylan Grecius, clarinet - Jamael Dana, piano - Julian Gomez, bass - Max Kim, bari and alto sax - Darynn Dean, vocalist
Also playing with distinction in the ensemble were: - Harmony Wassil, bass - Sasha Brustinov and Gabe Feldman, drums - Massimo Paparello, trumpet - Cameron Klein, clarinet - Vincent Le, alto - Andrew Cohen, trombone - Cooper Simpson, alto - Pat Chartrand, alto (mentor and soloist)
from left: mentor Mike Price, Carlos Jimenez, Kevin Mendoza, Zully Flores (not pictured: Jarred Dahlerbruch)
JazzAmerica Raises the Roof again -
opening Day two of the 17th Annual
The Central Avenue Jazz Festival!
visit www.centralavejazz.org for details
On Sunday, July 29th at 11 am, The JazzAmerica Big Band brought down the house with a mixture of ballads, blues and be-bop.
Three thousand jazz fans marveled at the precocious talents of the 24-piece band.
"Blues Walk" by Clifford Browhn gave everyone a chance to solo on the Blues. Standout soloists included Max on baritone and Carlos on trumpet.
"A Night in Tunisia" started with a stout bass intro by Abe. Mentor Mike Price delivered a scorching solo as if in tribute to composer/virtuoso Dizzy Gillespie. Closing the piece were dazzling cadenzas by Rickey Lucchese on trombone and Jarred Dahlerbruch on trumpet.
Vocalist Darynn Dean then took center stage. She evoked oohs and aahs in the early phrases of Ellington's lush ballad, "I Didn't Know About You," which featured a heartfelt introduction on alto by Tom Djerjian. Darryn then paid tribute to her teacher, Barbara Morrison, by singing one of Barbara's charts on "Do Nothin' til You Hear from Me."
Other highlights included Jamael Dana's soulful solo paino on "Miss Fine"; Christopher Astoquillca's vibrato-laden treatment of "Harlem Nocturne"; and violinist Francesco Canas's excellent solo on the Gerald Wilson classic, "Blues for Yna Yna."
Providing solid support throughout were flutist Chelsea; trumpeters Zully and Kevin; trombonists Andrew and Royal; saxophonists Tomo, Cooper and Dylan; and drummers Nashir and Sasha.
photos by Cesar Mendoza
For a review of the entire Festival, please paste this link into your browser window and read the fine article by Ricky Ricardo: