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A New Big Band - More Hendrix Re-Imagined!!

dcrigger

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So some may remember I released an odd meter jazz version of Foxy Lady about 6 months ago. At that time, I mentioned I was working on a second arrangement - but instead being a small group thing, this one would be arranged, orchestrated and performed by a whole big band. Well the tune in question is “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” (from Electric Ladyland) and I have finally finished the recording and video of it.

This is the first big band arrangement that I've created in decades.

Though I'm definitely working on writing more - in spite of the that this was probably the most involved, complicated thing I've ever tried to do. There were just a million steps to doing this. And made worse with everyone doing their parts remotely and separately. Though that aspect was a real blessing as well - because trying to do this traditionally - with rehearsals and in a big recording studio, etc. would have been an even greater logistical nightmare and cost a boatload of money to do.

Anyway - it’s finally done and I wanted to share it with you all. It was frankly a gas to play. I hope you enjoy it… David


 

drummingbulldog

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DC...this is outstanding. My hats off to you for taking Jimi into Gil Evans type territory. Jimi's music was definitely a cool palette for swing. I wanted to do something like this with Angel. Those chords would lend themselves nicely to similar treatment. Hats off to you and the players involved. Excellent.
 

hsosdrum

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THAT... was sensational, Dave! What a great musical vision you had (and realized) for that song. And everyone's playing was superb — that's a band I would definitely pay money to see play live!
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

Downbeat

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Fantastic!! Some great players you've put together and the arrangement is outstanding.
 

JDA

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I like the way you seem happy and satisfied with every tone in your drum kit - from years and years and years (man them Gretsch sound good.

Unlike some places
where (a) two week old purchase starts the sell itch
 
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DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Bravo! David, I'm by no means qualified to critique anything coming from the big band world, me being rather ignorant of the codes/rules of the genre and all... All I can say is I thoroughly enjoyed the piece, it was a great display of musicality, talent, dedication and enthusiasm.

You seemed very happy to present it, rightly so. I sure would be as well if I had just written and/or performed something of that magnitude.
 

Sinclair

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Absolutely excellent Dave. What a mammoth undertaking, even after writing the arrangement which is great!. Beautiful horn writing. Fantastic mix, my goodness.
Can't go wrong with Ken Wild. Nice to hear Colin Kupka and Steve Bartek too!!
 
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drums1225

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Very nice, Dave! Curious, did you write the parts in 11/8, or alternating bars of 6/8 and 5/8? Or something else?
 

dcrigger

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Thanks for all the very nice comments. I'm going to answer a couple of posts more directly, but didn't want anyone to think I haven't totally appreciates all of the very kind words. Thank you all.
 

dcrigger

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I like the way you seem happy and satisfied with every tone in your drum kit - from years and years and years (man them Gretsch sound good.

Unlike some places
where (a) two week old purchase starts the sell itch
Well sometimes I feel like I just want to run over my drums with a truck... but you're right in that I tend to find something I like and just stick with it - instrument-wise. Though I've, of course, played countless rental/backline sets over the years - but personally I've only really played a small handful of different kits spanning my entire career.
 

dcrigger

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Absolutely excellent Dave. What a mammoth undertaking, even after writing the arrangement which is great!. Beautiful horn writing. Fantastic mix, my goodness.
Can't go wrong with Ken Wild. Nice to hear Colin Kupka and Steve Bartek too!!
Thanks Sinclair - all of that means a lot. Yes I've played with Kenny a bazillion times - particularly with Bruce Lofgren's band and he's always a treat. Plus for ages, I've wanted to attempt this acoustic bass in a rock/fusion setting - of course, parts of this were straight-ahead, so a no brainer for the stand-up. But using it in the more rock fusion-like section was more of an experiment - which I knew Ken would be able to pull off if anyone could. Though I have to admit, it did present it challenges when it came to the mix. It just fills the space way different that an electric bass does - so I had to really work a bit to get it to work. Not because of what Ken did - again that was fantastic - just sort of the nature of the beast, I guess.

And of course Steve has played on projects of mine going way back into the 70's. Probably my favorite guitarist in the world - certain an unsung treasure when it comes to being a soloist (which he doesn't get to show here either). Anyway, of course, he is always so busy - it is always a thrill when he's available to play on something.

Now Colin was totally new to me. We've never played together or even met. I just knew I wanted/needed a hot-shot, firebrand, gun-slinger type tenor soloist. One that could come in hot and just get hotter. I actually "found" his playing through video on YouTube - mainly with Elliot Deustch's Pandemonium Big Band (but some other things as well). He very much seemed like he could be the guy. So I sent him the play-along-track and chart to find that he was interested. And even then remember writing to him and explaining basically all of what I wrote above. That even though we've never worked together - I wanted him to show no restraint - to totally go for it without reservation.

And that if he was unsure to even send me multiple versions... Well he obviously heard me, because he sent me one take - and it was absolutely what I was looking for.

And FYI I did a full mock-up of this for players to play too including me playing real drums - but then after the parts were back - I then played a final pass of the drums. So while I know what the soloists were playing to when they recorded - I could then take it further by reacting to what they did as well.

For stacking overdub projects - I've long been a huge proponent of doing a drum pass early on - then doing the "for real" drums right at the end.

Again - thanks for the kind words...
 

dcrigger

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Very nice, Dave! Curious, did you write the parts in 11/8, or alternating bars of 6/8 and 5/8? Or something else?
Great question - and a topic of great debate (in my head and with some buddies)

The first question was should it be meters over 8 (11/8) or meters over 4 (11/4) - we have two different feels - the rock/blues or of 12/8 shuffle which just scream to be in 11/8. But then there's the two be-bop/swing sections that really want to be in 11/4.

This ended up being a no-brainer for me as I know horn players can chew through the most syncopated jazz craziness with ease, if it is written as 1/4s and 18ths. To take the rhythms from the shout chorus section and write them in syncopated 1/8th's and 16th's would be flushing years and years of technique and experience gained from playing in big bands since high school for most of them down the tubes.

So that meant writing the shuffle sections in 11/4 - sort of like they are in cut-time - which yes looks bizarre - with every 3 quarters feeling like one beat. But I know the caliber of rhythm section players, I would be playing with - and know that they are used to making these kinds of transactions pretty effortlessly.

So 11/4 it was going to be - but there was another obstacle.

But first, I did consider writing it as three bars of 3/4 and one bar of 2/4 - but then that makes multi-measure rests very confusing - or impossible. You kind have to write out all the rests - and then it just seems that the players are drowning in rests.

So I wanted 11/4 - but I also wanted to use a technique I saw used in many old Don Ellis charts - and that's where each bar of 11 would a have dotted placed at each subdivision. Like faint ghosted sub-barlines.

The only problem with this is that while easy to do when hand copying - Finale really doesn't make using those easy at all. So it was a bit of a nightmare - but it was worth it. And I could hear it in the confidence the horn players played longer notes - as if the odd meter notation is at all confusing, they have a hard time keeping track of where to cut long notes off.

And finally in the spirit of probably sharing to much information - there's a point (I think at the beginning of the shout chorus) where the rhythms sort of go against the 3+3+3+2 sub-division that's everywhere else. So for that bar, I just went mixed meter - and wrote 4/4 & 3/4 & 4/4 - having the bars go with the phrase and making it more comfortable - and thus more sight-readable.

Because frankly this whole discussion is about how to make things as sight-readable as possible.

Sorry for the long response - but again, it was a topic much discussed for while.
 

Skinsmannn

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Talent. What a gift!
Thanks for sharing.
Best musical treat I've had in years!
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Oh and I forgot to add, you've got a great deep speaking voice. Ever considered doing radio/podcasting or the likes?

I'm pretty sure your rich professional life's experiences give you a special point of view and a wealth of knowledge and stories worth sharing.
I mean don't get me wrong, I like and respect that you already share casually and freely here on DFO. But, as a lover of the spoken word, I would listen to that same type of content in a recorded medium, with great interest.

Food for thoughts.
 


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