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New opportunity - function jazz

Phil W

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Some good news for me. I've been given the book to learn for a band that plays functions. Luckily I just bought a new tux. I know it's not quite at the level of a Vegas showband or the Playboy mansion but it's great news for me at the moment as I've been well short of gigs and money. I also get to play some jazz! :D


I already play with the guitarist so that's a plus, I guess I just have to impress the other instrumentalists/management at my audition/first engagement - probably one and the same thing.


The guitarists says that at the type of gigs they play, hardly anyone listens - we are just background atmosphere. To be honest, that doesn't bother me at the moment as I am happy enough to get the opportunity and there is an art to craeting the right background atmosphere.


Set List (so far) - I'm surprised the book is not bigger:


Black Orpheus

Blue Bossa



Girl from Ipanema

I'm in the Mood for Love

Ina Sentimental Mood

Litle Boat (O Barquino)

Little Sunflower

The Look of Love

Moondance (Morrison)

The More I See You

My Favourite Things

A Night in Tunisia

Papa Furado (Hermeto Pascoal) - lots of Brazilian stuff - this one has a great simple basline for fretless (11th and 12ths)

Quiet Nights

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head

Step Inside Love (Lennon and McCartney) - to my shame, I am not familiar with this tune!

Sugar (Stanley Turrentine)


Work Song :)


What's Going On :love:


I am so happy :D


I'll let people know how it pans out. The last time I tried out with a function band I learned the whole book (with no charts or CDs) only for the band to fold after one rehearsal due to someone leaving the country. I couldn'r have been that bad?! :eek:

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"Step Inside Love" is mainly known in the UK as a hit single for Cilla Black, written for her by her old Cavern chums Paul and John. This may ameliorate your sense of shame at not knowing it. Quite nice tune though, from memory.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Well, I got a call for a corporate gig on Monday - my first opportunity with this band. Then I got the question, Do you have a double bass? Could you borrow one? Apparently the agent had specified double bass. man, I wish I had one now, or had bothered to learn it properly. I guess that's my next mission. My friend who plays guitar with them is trying to convince them that my fretless sound and beautiful Wal will more than compensate. Fingers crossed!
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Record yourself playing fretless electric, then just lipsync while holding an upright. :D


Seriously, I know you're dealing with "what the customer wants", but unless you're the center of attraction at their event (doubtful) and you're playing entirely Big Band swing or rockabilly to a packed dance floor, I don't see the need for it. A little too anal for background music, IMO.

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  • 4 months later...

More news on this. Apparently the saxophonist and guitarist have met to discuss who to use on bass. I can have the regular gig (which pays very handsomely) if I play URB. I played double bass for a few weeks back fifteen years ago! Apparently (that word again) their audience expects the look and 'snob' factor of a double bass. This seems to matter so much that they'd rather have me on an instrument that (compared to real double bassists) I can't even play than have me play (as sensitively and groovily as I can manage) on my fretless.

Bizzarely, even an electric upright would do despite he fact that I've yet to see an electric upright as handsome as my Wal!

This sucks :mad:


"Ain't nothing going on but the rant!"

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It's a little surprising that the audience expects to see a double bass, even though they're not really listening. Appearances must be everything to them.


I hope it works out for you Phil, and good luck.

Visit my band's new web site.









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What a pain Phil! However, I'm so not surprised - double basses look like jazz. And we know which organs corporate clients listen with...


But it is a very cool instrument which naturally swings better than an electric bass - how many gigs will it take to pay for one?



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Hmm...it took them 5 months to decide this? How odd.


Perhaps they picked up another bassist (or two or three) in the interim? Careful with this one.


Maybe get a double bass on a rent-to-own program, where you can return it at any time and cut your losses, but still have the opportunity to buy (or trade up and buy) if that is meant to be.

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Hey Phil,


You can do the actor and tell them with a large smile " oooh yes shure I want to buy a doublebass before this summer, I can't wait to play this gorgeous instrument and bla bla bla......." and play on your fretless for the first few gigs... but YOUWANTADOUBLEBASS and don't be shy to call the manager-booker-bandleader. When things suck, be more sucker. (hm, this lick works well in french, that's a bad translation....)


good luck.

I've no more a guilty conscience, only a stomach.
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Davo & Alex, I would love to buy a urb; 2 problems: firstly, money and secondly, my wife has made it clear that she wouldn't be happy sharing a flat with one.


Ric, yes they used a couple of upright players in the meantime but weren't happy with their playing. The guitarist knows my playing well and wants to use me.



good suggestion. I think if the saxophonist hears me play fretless even once she will be won over but who knows?



I still have to win over my wife about the URB, I will one day!

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Originally posted by Phil W:

...I would love to buy a urb...my wife has made it clear that she wouldn't be happy sharing a flat with one.

Phil, I know that feeling! Maybe NUTT can loan us some bass storage space in his Houston pad...





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