I planning to buy the Garritan Big Band and Personal Symphony and my current keyboard isn't adequate. Feel seems like a matter of taste, so let's not discuss that please.
How important is aftertouch? What does Garritan do with it anyway?
I understand that with Personal Orchestra key velocity controls attack and a wheel or whatever controls volume. (Yes, it is not that simple, but this is the general idea.) Does the Big Band work the same way for wind instruments? I would expect not: jazz has much more emphasis on accenting individual notes and this would be difficult with a wheel.
What do the wheel and sustain pedal control in Garritan Big Band?
Hi and Welcome to the forum, The controllers you asked about are much the same in GPO and JABB. The mod wheel (cc1) controls volume/expression. The sustain pedal (or cc64) is used to trigger a tongue/slur with the wind instruments and key velocity controls the attack or accentuation of the note.
In JABB, aftertouch is used to control the vibrato and cc17 vibrato speed.
If you are using GPO or JABB within a sequencer program like Sonar or Cubase, you can enter values for all these controllers into the piano roll view or midi editor with your mouse and wouldn't necessarily need a keyboard controller to play them in real time.
There are many more uses of cc number values to control aspects of the different types of instruments. The brass instruments have controllers particular to the use of mutes and different articulations, and the rhythm section instruments all have their own controllers.