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R&B Horns Advice Needed


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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: R&B Horns Advice Needed Reply with quote

Some guys up the street have invited me to sit in with their Blues/R&B trio - guitar, bass, drums.

I asked what charts they use and basically said "Charts? We don't need no stinkin' charts!"

They did give me one of their playlists which includes Knock on Wood, Soul Man, Stormy Monday, Just a Little Bit, and many more.

I play mainly swing and Dixie so I'm in need of some advice on how to come with the horn parts. I ordered the Hal Leonard R&B Horn Sections book and plan to get cozy with You Tube.

I've also been searching online for horn part PDFs and have found a bunch, including some free ones but not many that match up with their tune list.

Any suggestions so the drummer doesn't fling his cymbal at me?
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim- -too much reading.

The answer's the same for any popular/improvisatory music: listen voraciously and learn the horn lines by heart.

Believe me, the other players, if they don't use music, can and will turn on a dime and they'll leave you shuffling pages. Also, some of the keys may be awkward at first.

This might all be uncomfortable in the short run, but'll pay off in the long run. And you just might find yourself picking it up quicker than you were expecting.
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Last edited by kehaulani on Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking the same thing. I'll just trust my ears. I love R&B and I'm sure a lot of licks are hiding somewhere in my brain just waiting to be released.
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crose
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LEARN THEM BY EAR

Will be the greatest thing you ever do for yourself - it was for me

Use youtube and play along

There is a learning curve and it may be frustrating at first

Resist the temptation to think too much and don't write anything but a set list down

Read that last sentence again - trust me

You can do it!
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmmmm
I do a lot of horn R&B gigs, a lot
and i am a fan of having a book for a few reasons:
1)If you play with lots of bands its clear that they all do them differently. Have your book organized by band you play with
2)there are a LOT of tunes out there, and the more obscure ones are now the ones hip ones. Nobody plays soul man.... that was back when the blues bros came out. Still you have to be able to play soul man, and in lower keys too.
3) have the other horn parts in your book too, not just the trumpet part. That is huge if you need to put horns together for a band.
4) It is NOT unhip to have a music stand on stage (at least not like it used to be) music stands, if they look good can be a prop that makes a stage look professional and elegant, and EXPENSIVE.
5) if you get known for having a book, bands will call you to add horns for bigger events when they have more budget. More bands = more money, more fun, etc
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good, guys - thanks!

I just spent an hour with my headphones on playing along with the Muscle Shoals Horns and others. Way more fun than pounding Schlossberg!
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bnsd
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've played those songs since they were top 40... I learn them by ear first, then write out the parts for the horn SECTION... trumpet, sax and bone.

I find if I don't do that, everybody learns just the lead line, and no harmony.

MOST of these types of songs are minor pentatonic, have 2 or 3 horn sections, and the chart is really just the road map. Intro AABAsoloAB outro...using this format, I can usually put 8-10 songs per page, email them out, and the horns can learn them. Haven't had a real rehearsal on these tunes for years.

PM me, and I may already have some cheat sheets on the tunes, and a song list that may give them some more ideas
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim, sounds like fun and congrats on your new opportunity! As the only horn you can take liberties, which is almost certain to happen your first time out even if you're trying to play everything note for note.

I agree with the consensus, you want"cheat sheets" rather than charts. I can usually have everything I need right on the set​list. I just concentrate on jogging my memory as to what differentiates one song from another so I don't wind up drawing a blank.

The work to arrange parts for a section will hopefully become necessary at some point ...
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Lawler Bb
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lipshurt wrote:
hmmmmm
I do a lot of horn R&B gigs, a lot
and i am a fan of having a book for a few reasons:
1)If you play with lots of bands its clear that they all do them differently. Have your book organized by band you play with
2)there are a LOT of tunes out there, and the more obscure ones are now the ones hip ones. Nobody plays soul man.... that was back when the blues bros came out. Still you have to be able to play soul man, and in lower keys too.
3) have the other horn parts in your book too, not just the trumpet part. That is huge if you need to put horns together for a band.
4) It is NOT unhip to have a music stand on stage (at least not like it used to be) music stands, if they look good can be a prop that makes a stage look professional and elegant, and EXPENSIVE.
5) if you get known for having a book, bands will call you to add horns for bigger events when they have more budget. More bands = more money, more fun, etc


I'm with Doug. I always use a book and I know almost everything I play from memory too (especially after playing it a few dozen times). Simple soul tunes are one thing, trying to learn Chicago, EWF, TOP, etc. by ear can be extremely difficult. I've heard more than a few bands that think they play Chicago, etc. well, but they leave out lots of little details or flat out play wrong notes and voicings.
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Rod Haney
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spotify is your best friend. Get the song by a number of artists play it and play along. Some will be in different keys but most will be what the singer or guitar player likes. Get an idea what fits and dont worry about what is played in the recording just make it sound good and contribute something that approximates a horn line or a melody line ??

Are these guys gigging or having fun. If they expect horn lines you are gonna be awfully lonely up there. And if they want to get paid they will probably have some expectations they will let you know about. If tey dont do it for money relax and have a good time. You should know your keys and scales and how to get your key from concert, but if you know that then you can have fun. And Spotify helps me get a t least an hour in learning new stuff everyday, and it wont sound like much when you 1st start but will get better all the time. Then if you like it you can get Abersold and Bolvin and learn blues and chord progressions and find there is a whole new set of things to learn but if you like it .....
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These guys just jam for grins. They play at block parties and barbecues. I'm looking forward to my first session with them and hope to bring a tenor and bone player along with me.

As for learning the lines, I agree that playing along with Spotify is a great way to progress.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like others, I’ve been doing that type of stuff for MANY years, here are a couple of thoughts, some of which you probably already know: if they’re playing mostly for fun, I would not be too concerned about being judged if you bring some charts. Keep in mind that they may or may not do the songs in the same key as your charts, but oftentimes this sort of band will do the songs in the same key as the best known version of the original. Just be flexible. Being able to do them without charts, though, is probably a good goal, especially for future gigs. If you do bring a sax and trombone later though, unless those guys are up to speed on those tunes, without charts you may end up with a unison horn section, as someone else mentioned.

Getting up to speed comfortably on these and other similar songs might well get you more, and paid, gigs. In my area that genre is still fairly popular, at least “commercially”, more so than swing, dixieland, etc.

Have fun!

Brad
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oxleyk
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take your earplugs.
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falado
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, There is an R&B Real Book out. I got mine on eBay. But, I've done so many R&B gigs that I have a lot over that stuff memorized or can play it off the top of my head. That includes stuff like Superstition and Shining Star from the 70's too. The R&B Real Book may be a good investment.

Dave
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homecookin
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also, have played those kind of gigs for many years.
I agree with others that have stated that it would be best
to learn the tunes by ear. Trying to find published materials
with the exact horn parts could be challenging and expensive.
And besides, learning the tunes off the recording by ear is excellent
ear training. And once you get the hang of it it really doesn't take that
much time. Most of the licks are really not that hard.
You could use YouTube, and find most of the tunes
you need. As you're learning them by ear, just write
out the licks on a piece of manuscript paper if you like,
and you are good to go
A few basic tunes...
Mustang Sally...C
Soul Man...Ab or F
Knock on wood...D
My Girl...C
Pick up the Pieces...Ab
Play That Funky Music...E
Brick House...C
Ladies Night...E
Shake Your Booty...Eb
The list could go on and on.
If you learn the tunes in the record key,
It's just a matter of transposition,
if the singer does it in a different key
Good Luck.
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falado
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently played a gig with The Right On Band. We did one set, but it was 3+ hours long. It included medleys of songs by Earth Wind and Fire, KC, and a Motown. All that stuff from the 70's too. It was a fun gig and the sight reading, though difficult at times (guitar keys), wasn't bad as almost all the tunes I had played at one time or another. I was amazed at the tunes and lick I remembered. We also did tunes that they had no parts for. The trombone player led us through the licks. Wasn't hard, just a long gig. Sometimes the steps (choreography) was more difficult. Can't do just the notes, gotta have the moves too. It's a show!


Dave
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Jazzalive
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, what a great opportunity. For the most part, unless you are going to play EWF, TOP, Chicago, Parliment/Funkadelic, Michael Jackson, or Quincy Jones's stuff, the horn licks are not technically difficult, but are more about feel and that having that special "swag." I recommend as others suggested, listen, and learn by ear, but be sure to write out the licks so that you have a nice book of R&B gems. But what you are doing, hell man, that's what we do
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jazzalive wrote:
Wow, what a great opportunity. For the most part, unless you are going to play EWF, TOP, Chicago, Parliment/Funkadelic, Michael Jackson, or Quincy Jones's stuff, the horn licks are not technically difficult, but are more about feel and that having that special "swag." I recommend as others suggested, listen, and learn by ear, but be sure to write out the licks so that you have a nice book of R&B gems. But what you are doing, hell man, that's what we do


+1.

Brad
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Bill Ortiz
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was working with a soul singer once who said "we play both kinds of music-R and B"
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giantsteps
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Learn the intervals used in the horn lines. For example, instead of "D F G A" learn it as I, bIII IV V. That way when the guitar player decided to do the tune in concert A instead of Bb you have a good enough basis to get in there with little fudgy fingers.
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