Rehearsal Before The Rehearsal

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I got a call to play a concert with a Faculty Jazz group at a local College, featuring Saxophonist Charles Pillow as a Special Guest.  Charles is a fabulous Musician and is on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

As I started getting ready for the show, I starting think about the process I use to prepare for such a performance. Students may be interested…..

There’s only 1 rehearsal scheduled, so fortunately there were charts provided for the Guest Artist. I’ll spend a few hours looking over and playing them in my studio, first alone then with a drum loops in Logic or Pro Tools, taking special note of the Form. It is likely to change once the live rehearsal starts, but it’s vitally important to know where the tunes goes. What key? Modulations? Any melodies played by me? Any difficult rhythmic sections? A thorough analysis is required to make for an efficient use of rehearsal time with the band.

The same process is followed for any charts provided for the tunes that don’t feature the Guest Artist. Most of these will be Standards, but it always pays to look them over and be ready for any different arrangements. {UPDATE: I just received these…. all original compositions. Time to get to the ‘shed!}

During all of this, I start thinking about the gear that I’ll use.  This gig calls for both Upright and Electric, so I have to be sure that I have both ready to play.  I’ve been having some issues with the ‘A’ string on my Upright (a 1950 Kay) and really should have a setup done. There’s no time before the concert, so I’ll do my best to compensate for the problem.

For the Electric, not knowing exactly what the Artist prefers, I’ll take both a Fretted and a Fretless. The fretless 5-string with probably get the call, but it’s always a good idea to have a spare.

Walter Woods M-100I’m planning on a Walter Woods M-100 amp with an SWR Bass Monitor a 12″ speaker for my backline.  The Walter Woods has 2 Channels, the second being preferred for the Upright.  It has just a little different sweetness than Channel 1.  The amp also has a Stereo switch which will allow for separate DI sends for each Bass.  The cabinet can be used as a tilted monitor, so I’ll be able to keep it out of the house. Sound Engineers tend to like that, sometimes.

It’s not very likely that I’ll use any effects, but just in case, I’ll throw a Chorus pedal in a Pelican with my cables and stands.

One last thing that I do is to start listen to lots of music in the style(s) of the music for the concert. ANY music in the style. Of course I’ll find as much by Charles as I can. He has recorded an very interesting treatment of  Holst’s “The Planets” that really knocks me out. We won’t be performing any of it, but it offers great insight into his playing style. Youtube is my resource of choice.

Charles also works with Dave Liebman, so some of his music goes on my iPod. He also plays Oboe and English Horn, so I’ll check out some Paul McCandless tracks.  I’ll listen to some Miles, and other straight ahead Jazz,  just to put some vocabulary in my mind.  All this listening happens while I’m working around the house, driving, and falling asleep at night.

Oh, did I mention that I got the call on Sunday for a Wednesday hit?
Nothing like a deadline to motivate you to get to work!

3 thoughts on “Rehearsal Before The Rehearsal

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