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What's your favorite group configuration?


cgiles

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Leaving 'economics' out of the equation, what is your favorite configuration for playing? For me, it's the classic Organ quartet with female vocalist. That is, Organ, guitar, sax (preferably tenor), drums, and female vocalist/stylist. If I thought I could hack it, next would be piano, upright bass, drums, and female vocalist.

 

For whatever reason, I've never felt comfortable with a bass player when on organ (although I have done it when, during a momentary lapse in sanity, I played with a cover/tribute band).

 

chas

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My standard has always been a quartet - guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards or a 4+1 with a female vocalist up front, and I spent virtually all of my career in one or the other of those configurations. If cost was no object, I would add 3 or four horns, back up vocalists, and even though I've never done it, a second keyboard player. I particularly like the AP + Hammond combination. Think Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour or really bangin' Gospel records.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, sax, vocalist, second guitarist/ keyboardist.

 

The inclusion of that last member, being able to play EITHER guitar Or keyboard, depending on the need of the song, has made some groups I have seen quite versatile.

 

Of course, I also would require at least two other band members to have great harmony capabilities and preferably some lead also.

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2 keys stations, one with a B3/147 and one with a Yamaha CFIIIIS.

Kit drummer, toys/hand drums percussionist.

3 saxes (ATB), 2 trombones, 2 trumpets.

1 bass player

2 guitar players. At least one acoustic and one Telly between them.

Dedicated band sound engineer and lighting tech

Male and female front persons

Instrumentalists should all sing and have an even gender distribution.

 

Hey, you said budget was no object. :)

 

Wes

 

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

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Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I'm very utilitarian.....I like each person to be as useful and versatile as possible.

 

If I could have my way....

 

Drums

Keys/Sax/Guitar/vocal

Bass/Vocal

Lead Guitar/Vocal

Rhythm Guitar/Keys/trumpet/Vocal

Female Vocal/violin/keys/acoustic guitar

 

At any given time, one person would be strictly lead vocal with no instrument so they could move around and work the crowd. Shoot for 50/50 male/female lead vocal. Each keys player capable of any keys, but individually more fluent on piano, organ, or synth.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Speaking of Blues, Classic Rock and Soul, I'd love to play voice accompanying quartets of power trio (guitar, bass, drums) + keyboards (one or two players: piano and organ focused ones, both playing synths, Mellotrons and clavs). From Allman Brothers to Deep Purple, from Steely Dan to Average White Band, from Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer Group to Robben Ford and The Blue Line. Let's keep progressive out of the equation for a while.

 

But bands formed as power trios (or trios plus singer) seems to be very resistant to became quartets. Even more quintets, when (at least in my region) keyboadists ignore each other.

 

IMHO, guitarrists - always them - don't want to invest in a repertoire that depends on other harmonic/soloist instrument. Drums and bass just follow him/her. So, we keyboardists became facultative - or we are in this condition from the start, being it sincere or not from the other members - the "pseudo quartet syndrome".

 

I bought a SK2 to do this (Hammond + other thing simultaneous) and to invest in becoming some sort of an organist by learning left hand bass gradually. But after some time insisting, I will focus now in the only quartet format I think its possible: instrumental - a power trio + keys group, started by me to study The Meters, now adding Scofield, Medeski, Martin and Wood repertoire.

 

But nothing beats the organ trio for Hammond afficionados. The bassist must go out of our lifes, breaking the guitarrocratic triumvirat. Just MHO in this too.

Leo Dutra

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Jazz piano trio. Ac bass, drums, piano ...preferably acoustic. :cool:

 

I do like comping behind a horn-sax, trumpet, bone, even vibes in a Quartet setting.

 

Used to dig playing with 2 or 3 horns but not so much anymore.

 

Do enjoy accompanying a good singer. Didn't used to dig it but have done so much of it over the last 15 years, I feel I'm getting pretty good at it. Need them not to do be doing the same old same old though. Like it best when they are open to taking chances and being more exploratory.

 

Also really enjoy just duo with Ac bass. It has to be the right bass player, where we are both feeling the time in the right place ..as well as similar musical sensibilities.

 

Basically as long it's with high quality musicians who can play, swing , play in the *Tradition* but still are forward looking enough where they can stretch a bit, are flexible, and can play a little on the outside of the harmony and groove.

 

One of the most important things is, everyone needs to listen to each other. Which is usually the case when you get high quality guys together...but not always.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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Currently having fun with a double keyboard band. I do AP,EPs, and clavinet (via Nord) plus Hammond clone and the other keyboardist concentrates on orchestration and horns via Kurzweil, although we sometimes do the gospel style AP, Hammond thing too between the two of us. We have a drummer, bass player and saxophonist as well. Everyone handles vocal chores. Notice... no lead guitar. First time I've ever tried this but like it so far. Certainly a challenge at times but for an R & B and funk thing it seems to be working.

 

 

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My inner reactionist says piano trio (bass, drums). My current listening says piano, bass and a wind-player. Sort of like Lee Konitz' Alone Together cut. My current songwriting says drums, bass (electric and synth), synths+piano and a bit of guitar - and a male voice on top.
When in doubt, superimpose pentatonics.
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Keys, Guitar, Bass, Drums. Female singer for the icing on the cake. That's the config I've been working with for the last few years and it's got lots of space for everyone but can still sound fat.

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Small jazz combo. Start with AP/EP/organ, bass (acoustic preferred), drums.

 

Guitar player is optional. When it's the right person, it sounds great.

 

Any combination of sax (alto or tenor), trumpet, trombone.

 

No vocalist.

 

I also like big band very much. Something really cool about 18 talented musicians playing those great charts.

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In my area, big bands are always looking for piano players. If you'd like to try Big Band, Rusty Mike, I bet you could find a group to play with if you put yourself out there.

 

And yes, it is quite a lot of fun.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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the last 2 worship bands I was in consisted of 2 guitars, 2 keys (1 AP, and me on synths/organ), bass, drums with most of us handling backing vocal duties. 1 guitarist was lead vocals. I like having 2 keys players, personally. It opens it up when it comes to arrangements. Just my personal preference.
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For maximum enjoyment, no singers please.

 

Interesting. Like Dave Ferris, I also enjoy working with a GOOD vocalist. For one thing, it gives me a chance to relax a bit and secondly, it forces me to listen more intently. I approach playing behind an instrumentalist (soloing) somewhat differently than playing behind a vocalist. With the instrumentalist, (for me anyway) it's more about being non-intrusive and providing a clean palette, allowing 100% of the focus to be on him/her. With a vocalist, it's more about really listening and trying to compliment what they're trying to do (I love working with 'stylist' in the mold of Shirley Horn, Carmen Mcrae, etc.). Subtle differences I suppose but it definitely influences the way I approach playing. Just a thought.

 

chas

Legend Exp,NC2x,Crumar Seven,KeyB Duo MK111,Nord C1,Nord C2D,Triton Classic,Fantom G7,Motif ES,SonicCell,BK7m,PA1x pro,VP770,TC Helicon,Leslie 3300,MS Pro145,EV SXA250(2),Traynor K4,PK7a,A70,DM10 Pro.
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Depends on genre.

Less Common things I like are:

 

1) 2 female vocals. The harmonies are killer with 2 girls in the mix. This is why I like to play Sweet Home Alabama because we could actually do it. The secret was the girls. This works great in the Pop band I am in. Worked really well in Top 40 Country.

 

2) Horn bands. I like a trumpet, trombone and 2 Tenor Saxes. Twin Tenors are killer. I especially like it if one tenor can double on Bari. It is great for the Tower of Power covers.

 

3) I like no more than 1 guitar. If we HAVE to have 2 guitars I will offer to cover the guitar parts. I am a decent player. 2 full guitar players suck unless one guitar is a utility man with other things to do and and can stop wanking on guitar when it isn't needed. I played guitar on 40% of the stuff in my old Top 40 Country band.

 

4) I've played in 2 keyboard bands and it is great. One band in particular I was the principle guitarist and the other keyboardist was a great tenor sax player. We were vertile as heck.

 

My band with 10 members is a lot of fun it's line up is:

- Lead Vocalist / hand percussionist / plays piano on one tune

- Trap kit drummer

- Congas and bongos

- Timbales

- Trumpet

- Trombone

- Tenor sax

- Bass

- Guitar

- Keys

 

A bari sax would be nice but the band is already difficult to schedule rehearsals for.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Keyboard, guitar, bass, drum, singer.

 

I like this setup because as a keyboardist I have plenty to keep me busy. When songs don't have keyboard parts I can cover rhythm guitar, orchestration, horn sections, any solo that is not guitar, and sometimes even guitar solos. I am always happy to cover any missing instrument on my keys.

This post edited for speling.
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Like some others here, my preference is Organ, Guitar/vocals, Bass, Drums playing Blues Rock performing originals. No cover bands and NO GIRL SINGERS! I use an SK2 for organ/pianos.

 

Otherwise I'll just take a nice easy solo piano gig playing pop and jazz covers just because I have a mountain of material ready to go.

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Mike Stern, Dennis Chambers, Marcus Miller, me on keys... (I guy's allowed to dream, right ?). Some funk hits with Donna Summers on vocals would be right, too, but some things aren't achievable. Staying realistic, I think the "group" of Supertramp is probably one of the best examples, in fact with quite some space for keys in it, of what a good modern, jazzy and funky rock formation should/could sound like, just like some of the grand Jazz groups which transformed music forever.

 

T.

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As I play in smaller clubs/bars....less is more :) We don't have the luxury of a sound man (run from stage) and the stages are very small.

 

For the rock stuff we do I like guitar, bass, keys, drums, and would prefer no front-person and have all the above do vocals--but I admit a good front-person can really get the audience into it. Having only one guitar really helps the keys have their day in the sun and it's critical (guitarist solos, keys and bass are holding down the rhythm etc).

 

And more $$ with less people...although it just goes from "a little money" to "just a little bit more money" lol :)

 

 

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Thats a great question..Im in South Fl..anything goes here, so there are sometimes surprises aplenty. Solo, to any config up to big band. Im fortunate in that all the calls I get are jazz things. Whether its "cocktal jazz","show jazz" or out n out playing depends, most are out n out. So its hard to answer as I enjoy different configs depending on the players. I really like sax quartets plus percussionist..or trumpet/sax quint..or add a killer vocalist..or 3 horns, vox plus perc, or..trio, or duo..shoot I dont care, I just love to play. I adjust myself

to different situations n have fun.

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I play in a horn band with lots of vocals! Was a blast!!!

 

- Lead vocalist

- Drummer

- Percusionist

- Trumpet

- Trombone

- Tenor sax

- Bari

- Bass

- Guitar

- Keys

 

 

Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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In the 70s I played in a six piece band (trumpet, sax/flute, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards). It was great for the disco and funk stuff.

 

Now I really enjoy playing in a quartet (guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards). We perform some tunes with horns (even Pick up the Pieces by AWB), and I like the challenge of providing a lot of sonic range and capabilities. The other musicians in the band are quite good, and I think everyone needs to pull their weight in a quartet. Sometimes we miss the second guitar, or real horns, but when it all clicks it is a lot of fun.

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