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Topic: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

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  1. #1

    VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    After years of trying to emulate that classic big band sound, I'm nearly there so I thought I'd share a little piece with you for some feedback.
    I have tried many different sample sets/vsti over the years and the quality has improved vastly of late.

    This piece "No Time for Love" was created almost exclusively with samples with the exception of the saxes. I have VSL tenor saxes, sample modeling Mr Sax T, AMG Kick Brass saxes but after trying them all, I had to resort to playing the real thing. Shame. It was so close but it just wasn't passing the 'muso test'.

    Here is a list of VSTi/sample sets used:

    Piano - Akoustic Piano (Yamaha C7)
    Bass - VSL - Upright Bass
    Drums - Battery 3 - Full Jazz kit (IMO better than EZX Jazz)
    Guitar - Warm Jazz (through GR3)
    Trombones - Kontakt 3 library
    Trumpets - Sample Modeling - The trumpet

    Saxes - Yanagasawa T992 after blowing away the attic cobwebs

    So, has anyone got any more suggestions for big band sax samples?

    Thanks,

    K

  2. #2

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Sounds very realistic to my ears, and the singer sounds great too.

    You did a fine composition and arrangement, well done!

    Best,

    Gunther

    PS In a short time Sample Modeling releases a new sax.
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  3. #3

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Welcome to the forums from an old jazz arranger and sideman.

    Nice job! It swings. I enjoyed your creation very much. Thanks for posting it. I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Best Regards,
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  4. #4

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Now thats really good. Like it a lot.

    For the Big Band libs out there:

    BBB , Chris Hein Horns ( Vol1 & Vol2), Samplemodelling ( for solo suff), VirSyn Mojo ( not released yet) Wallander Instruments.... and so on.
    best regards

    Przemyslaw K.

  5. #5

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Three cheers for Kevin!

    Everything sounds great, and it swings, too!

    Great piano solo, do you play that as well as the saxes?
    Greg Schlaepfer
    Orange Tree Samples
    Ultra-realistic sample libraries for Kontakt

  6. #6

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Thanks for comments folks!

    Piano is my main instrument - Sax is secondary really. I can get away with section stuff. For speed I used my tenor for all 4 parts. Really I should have used my alto for 2 and changed mouthpieces to get a more authentic blend.

    I may polish this a little more - one or two timing issues which are bound to happen when you try and create a whole band, one instrument at a time. There is very little quantization other than the off beat closed hats and the occasional bass drum.

    The real test will be a faster, be-bop type arrangement.

    @ Greg - piano solo was 3rd take and I'm still not happy with it. How far do you go though? Could have been on it all day and still not been happy. That's jazz musicians for you.

    K

  7. #7

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Kevin that sounds GREAT!!! Nice work..

  8. #8

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Wow Kevin,
    what a fine piece!
    Definetly means a thing!


    Hans

  9. #9

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wright View Post
    I may polish this a little more - one or two timing issues which are bound to happen when you try and create a whole band, one instrument at a time. There is very little quantization other than the off beat closed hats and the occasional bass drum.
    One thing that I noticed is the snare accents that occur on the upbeat realistically have a little more swing (in the technical sense of being delayed to a specific degree). This will help create more forward motion.

    Generally in these slow/medium swing tunes the default is to have a lot of swing. During fills you can purposefully reduce the amount of swing in order to create rhythmic tension that is released when the groove returns to the normal amount of swing.

    You probably have already observed this in jazz that is swung--the slower the song is, the greater the amount of swing is.

    In terms of accents, a lot of people assume that 2 & 4 are the accented beats in swing. A cool trick is to make the chorus follow this pattern, but you can distinguish the feel of the verses by making the accent only on the 2 or only on the 4--you have to figure out which is appropriate based on the song.

    With slower swing tunes like this, you can also put in hints of 12/8 in the drums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wright View Post
    @ Greg - piano solo was 3rd take and I'm still not happy with it. How far do you go though? Could have been on it all day and still not been happy. That's jazz musicians for you.
    It's interesting--we usually take advantage of the way you can do multiple takes in the studio, and your best one (or sometimes a collage of your best takes) ends up in the final mix. But is this necessarily representative of your own playing? Beyond the tendency for the first take to sound the most inspired, multiple takes allow you to play like you would not be able to on the stage. I can do a thousand takes and turn out an amazing solo, but it does little to service my own playing and growth.

    That's the process-focused approach. Of course, when you concentrate on the product, it's perfectly acceptable to do multiple takes. There's no right or wrong, it's just different approaches.
    Greg Schlaepfer
    Orange Tree Samples
    Ultra-realistic sample libraries for Kontakt

  10. #10

    Re: VSTi Big Band Sound - nearly there!

    Great job Kevin!

    Just coming back to the instrument sounds for a moment. I've always had the benefit of my best friend being a very good trumpet player and that has always given even my early MIDI noodlings an edge. The presence of any live instrument (particularly 'top end') in the mix just makes the listener believe in the sound a lot more. Here you have both a singer and a whole sax section which is more than enough to do that.

    The bass sounds great but there are plenty of great acoustic basses now that will do the job. I use mainly Majestic for this, as it has that nice 'loose string' sound at the bottom, which I like.

    Piano is very nice too. I use Ivory but yours has a nice presence to it. Another trick I have used in the past (because I don't trust my soloing in one take) is to do the comping on my live grand and overdub the solos with Ivory - the mix is very believable. I am lucky to have a 5'8" Boston in what is a very small live/practice room, but close-miked it sounds fine in there.

    'The Trumpet', is as good as you can buy to my ears, though I don't have it (it would upset my friend too much!).

    Your bones are the same ones I have settled on for now (Kontakt 3) and they are probably your weakest link at the moment. They just have little dynamic range/timbral variation and would struggle on heavier pieces I think - they do the job okay here though and they aren't playing in a range which really jumps out at the listener, just warming up those middle frequencies.

    As for me and saxes, I started learning the sax only a couple of years ago (with my son who is already better than me) and have a long way to go but again, even with my limited talent and some judicious use of Melodyne I can get a sound which is much better than any VI out there. You can get a very decent sax for around £300 in the UK now and for that money I would urge anyone to have a go!

    I only have Tenor and Alto too and although I have the full Vienna Saxophone collection, my favourite baritone is still a bespoke sample which I created manually from the performance 'solos' on Chronic Horns. I cut up some short and long notes of various dynamics and created my own patch. The result is a less than uniform sound across the range but that's really what makes it sound alive - it has real punch and presence too.

    I've just picked up the Jazz EZX which will be my main jazz drum kit now. Before, I would use the Nashville kit or just a Superior Drummer brush kit.

    Still experimenting with guitars but the PH Warm Jazz guitar sounds very impressive to me. Again, when I can, I pick up a guitar but I'm not really very comfortable with anything other than power chords and pentatonic scales! No, guitar is not my forte.

    But I'll continue to build my collection of real instruments. I used to play trombone as a kid, so that may make a reappearance at some point, along with clarinet if I continue to progress on sax. Even a relatively cheap instrument, played competently (and with Melodyne as your friend) will still sound more believable than almost any VI. It's just that technically some performances can't be achieved without a lot of painstaking editing - at which point the VIs (or a session player) may become a more viable/cost-effective option.

    Just a quick plug for Vienna's Chamber Strings too - just beautiful on jazz ballads!

    Again, great work though Kevin, I enjoyed that.

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