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easy street (from annie)


a boy named sue

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I'm playing (electric) bass for our town's production of Annie. They also gave me the musical director's chair which is a bit of work but does let me make calls on arrangements -- the easiest way to get the sound from my head to others ears is to get others to play it ;) .

 

One of the numbers in the show is "easy street" the chorus is quite loud and strident with a chord progression (each chord being held for 2 beats)

C C C7 C7 F F Ab7 Ab7 C E7 Am D7 F/G F/G G7 G7

C C C7 C7 F F Fm6 Fm6 C A7 D7 G7 C C E7

 

Now, when everyone is singing I need to play (and accent) the first to beats of every 2nd bar on the root to keep it all together. I muck about on chord notes after that. There is a 32 bar dance bit in the song so I said "sax solo over the chorus twice" and everyone agreed (the sax player missed that rehearsal :) ). My question is that the mucking about which sounds great/busy/loud etc during the singing is way too busy to play under the sax solo. This is because I'm following the melody a bit with my mucking about and the sax player wants to move away from the melody. Fortunately the sax player is blaming the keys at the moment but she'll work out that it is me eventually!

 

Any ideas on what to play? I don't listen to much of this style of music and am struggling. Pumping 8's on the root doesn't seem right...

 

NB I'm away from the internet for a week, so I'll need to leave the discussion until then.

A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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The song has a "2-beat" swing feel. The bass could play straight quarter notes.

 

Whatever you do, do not play "pumping 8ths": that's completely wrong for the style. Never mind the sax player, if a bassplayer did that the drummer would have a good reason to kill you.

 

The sax player will be complaining, not because of your note choices, but because he is supposed to be playing "swing eighth notes" which is a triplet feel.

 

A root on the chord note and a fifth or a third on the "other note" will be perfectly fine.

 

You could try this:

 

|:C G C E|F A Ab Ab|C E A D|G D G B|

|C G C G |F A Ab F|C A D G| C C E B:|

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Thanks jeremy,

 

I'm fine with the feel of the song, rythmicaly speaking (but it is nice to know the proper music way of describing it). I'll give that walk section a go on Sunday -- I had tried to come up with that sort of a feel (straight quater notes), but my root-5 lines are a bit tedious for everyone to listen to.

A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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What happens on the recording? Do you have a copy? Get a copy, listen to it over and over again. What is the bass player on the recording doing? I promise you the bassist on the recording can play his/her ass off, but played what was best for the song. Do that. You have already told us that the "mucking around" sounds too busy during the sax solo, so why not play less? While you're at it, why not try playing less while the cast is singing. You might be suprised at the result.
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Thanks tnb,

 

I'm not overplaying -- I almost never overplay. The bass section on the recording is done by upright, tuba and a couple of trombones. We have a 6 piece band of bass, drums, sax, flute, trumpet and keys. The recording has around a 20 piece orchestra.

 

why not play less? playing straight root-5 crotchet's sounded wrong, a walking part is called for as we are getting the sax player to do a jazzy solo. I just couldn't work out the walking part -- Jeremy gave me a good start and I'll use that, possibly changing a note here or there.

 

why not play less while the cast is singing? Dynamics -- this song needs to be loud and a bit chaotic sounding. The cast practically yells and is filled with class inspired angst/greed. Also, I'm cueing in the singing with the heavily accented root notes at the beginning of each couple of bars (the notes I showed in bold). There is a really quite section then I play "boom-boom" to bring in the chorus. Once I've started with loud "boom-boom" it sounds a bit empty if I leave too much space. That said, I've not played with trumpeter yet so he might be able to beef up the chorus and let me walk the whole way through...

 

I don't play busy for any other song in the show -- and my version of "busy" would be considered pretty sparse by some. I just play with accents outside of 1 and 3 and use a few more high notes.

A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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