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Topic: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

  1. #1

    Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Forum Members,

    This is my first post on this forum. It is a bit of a departure from the lovely orchestral work that I have been listening to (and learning from) over the past several months. It's my first attempt at arranging brass with JABB and I would like your comments on the arrangement.

    It's a blues tune called, "Time for a Change" that I wrote in 1989. We played it live with a four piece rock group back then, but it always needed horns!!!


    In this arrangement I have a brass ensemble in one instance of KP2.

    3 trumpets (all trumpet 1 with variations in cc26 & cc27 controllers) (note:didn't like the others for this arrangement)
    2 tenor saxes (1&2), 1 bari sax (1) and 1 bass sax (1)
    3 trombones (1, 2 & 3)

    I also have a solo sax (tenor 1) and solo trumpet (1) in another instance.

    I've studied the Jazz arranging tutorials and have diligently avoided 5th in the brass harmonies. But I would love your opinions on the brass harmonies. Also, I feel the arrangement is a bit stiff and after loads of tweaking, I am at a loss on how to "cool" it up, so to speak.

    The trumpet shakes still needs work as I am having trouble finding the sweet spot between the portomento, attack and length controllers to get a softer snap between notes.

    Reverb is Perfect Space in Sonar PE 7. Drums are EZD Nashville. Bass is Dimension Pro. Acoustic is a Taylor 414. There is also a strat and Gretch in the background on rhythm and those $10 chicken egg shakes.

    Thanks for listening.


  2. #2
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Bellingham, WA

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread"
    "There's no fool like an old fool"
    With my introduction out of the way, I will offer my opinions, which you are free to totally ignore.
    I am not into this genre' (type) but what you've done sounds very true to it's nature in my estimation. The instrument sounds are bright and clear but the style or interpretation sounds a bit stilted to me, or as we used to call it "tat-tat-tata." It's difficult to say much about your brass voicings as there is not really much to go on. What I did hear sounds correct.
    "Trail and error" is a time honored approach so hang in and post some more.


  3. #3

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Not my style either, but why do you start all beats of all instruments at exactly the same instance? This makes it sound mechanical. The sound is bright and clear. Please mess it up a bit and add some different dynamics at random spots. It is too neat.


  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    I think it's a good tune. The brass sounds fine to me.

    The basic beat sounds a little mechanical to me. The guitar strumming down with the snare constantly fatigues the ear.

    I'm thinking that you should keep that guitar strum but maybe use the bass more for the beat and move around on the drums a little to break it up. One needs to try different things until it works.


  5. #5

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Thanks for the comments Gents. I've listened to the piece so much, I've become a bit numb to it and your fresh ears certainly help.


    Excellent observation. I couldn't put my finger on what was robotic, but you are right about the snare and guitar.

    Raymond and SOS,

    The each brass piece is offset for start and length of notes, but apparently not enough. I will go back and "humanize" it more.

    Thanks so much.


  6. #6

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Scott, thoroughly enjoyed this. It's solid
    work -- writing, arranging, overall.

    But I think maybe I'd like to hear you loosen
    up a little, and swing the whole deal with a
    bit more freedom.

    This is blues, man... lol! Get into it!

    Scott, I hope you'll bring this on back to us
    after you put some attitude on it... definitely
    some fine chops, here!

    All my best,


  7. #7

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Scott -

    It's been said: loosen it up a bit, vary the traps, etc. I'd add two things:
    One: a little embellishment on the horn leads;
    Two: the vocal pulled me in my first several listens . . . it's actually pretty good, "readable" and clear. Don't lose that while tweaking.

    Thanks for putting this out there.


  8. #8

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    LOVED IT! This is "my thing" and I thought it sounded great.

    If I may suggest something as well: Try altering the drum pattern so that it bounces off the bass rather than following it. That'll give it much more forward momentum. Also, you could increase the guitar and drums power in the "chorus" sounding bits - fill in yet more of the gaps. If any of that makes sense - sorry, I'm not very good at explaining what I'm hearing.

    This is a fantastic song, Scott. I really enjoyed it.


  9. #9

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB

    Hi Scott,

    This is a really cool tune; as others have said, I think you just need to "dirty it up" a little. Precision is almost your enemy when using "computer assistance" in this style of music, so it really does take some practice in sliding notes around, adjusting velocities, and applying "special" controllers such as shakes and doits in the brass.

    I applaud you for taking the time to study up and apply what you've learned. Also keep in mind that once you have a firm grasp of jazz/blues voicing "rules" for each instrument -- it's time to break them! (Well, at least some of them now and then.). I think it's best to follow your ear, keeping those rules in the back of your mind to fall back on.

    The mixing and rendering were quite well done. Impressive job with that!

    A great first post! Looking forward to more...


  10. #10

    Re: Time for a Change - Blues Piece with JABB


    I am a blues man from way back and enjoyed this. I agree with the above comments and think they will only help the piece. Get dirty and throw out the rules!


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