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Jazz Sax Lessons: “Does This Chart Make Me Look Phat?”

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[MUSIC]
Okay, you are now ready to
join the Gordon Goodwin big fat band.
[LAUGH] So we're gonna do it.
We're gonna work on a chart.
Now from the new Gordon Goodwin's Big
Phat Band album Life in the Bubble,
this one's called, Does This
Chart Make Me Look Phat, P-H-A-T?
Not my idea for the title, but
hey, it's a cool tune regardless.
[LAUGH] Great.
So what I provided for you is the track
of the song without me in the track.
There's a little bit of bleed.
When we recorded the song, we all recorded
live so you can hear me in the neighboring
microphones, from the second alto
player and the fourth tenor player.
But its definitely diminished greatly,
so when you play along with this track,
you'll be able to feel like you're
playing lead alto in the section.
So in looking at this chart,
there's a couple
of things that we haven't seen to this
point that I wanted to point out to you.
One thing that you're going to
hear is down here In bar 32.
It obviously says lay back, and
that means that we're gonna lay back,
as it would suggest.
These four notes, these last four eight
notes, are just sitting back a little bit.
You know when we were recording this,
Wayne berjuan is the lead trumpet player.
And in a big band,
when you're playing a rhythmic
figure, it's up to the lead trumpet player
to establish things like laying back and
that kinda phrasing.
Also dynamics, you see all kinds
of dynamics throughout this chart
back up at bar ten you see
that mezzo-piano here,
down here in 34 you see the mezzo-forte.
And so, those are dynamics but
they are relative.
A mezzo piano on one song or one part of
the song might be a little bit different.
I mean, it's relative and it is music,
and music is art, and art is subjective.
So be aware of those details too.
With regards to this laid
back part of the measure 32.
Give a listen to the track to
really know where that is.
When I play it, and
hopefully have you play it along with me,
you'll be hearing that as well.
When we get to the second page
where the sax slowly starts,
you know it starts at mezzo piano so
it starts definitely down.
You'll definitely hear a difference
in the rhythm section as well.
These crescendos in bar 48 happen
just like in the simple blues track.
They happen rather quickly over just
the course of one beat each in bar one and
bar three.
Our dynamic comes way down.
There's a decrescendo in bar 52.
And it comes way down to a piano
in bar 53, a little bit louder
in bar 54 to a mezzopiano, and then, boom,
all of a sudden on the end of 2 in
the next bar, bar 55, we have a sforzando.
Bam, it's a fast hit, bam.
So the difference between that and
seeing the accent without the sforzando
would, well it would be subtle
but you'd still be accenting, because
you have the accent indicated, but so
far our dynamic here is gonna be,
is still mezzo-piano.
So without the sforzando which
means you're playing to a forte and
then coming right back down.
Without that you play the accent within
the realm of the dynamic of mezzo piano,
w hich would obviously be more subtle.
You've got your scoop up here
to the C sharp and, yeah,
we're gonna stop right here,
at the end of the soli, at bar 78.
So, we're gonna be playing from the very,
very top of the chart down to here.
One of the more, most difficult perhaps,
parts of the song are gonna be right there
at the very top where we're counting.
Be aware that long rests
are their own challenge.
You look at that and you say,
it's a rest, big deal.
It's a really big deal because you have to
really be paying attention to your rests.
I was on a movie date years and years ago
and I had 143 bar rest before a big solo.
I had an alto solo in the middle of
the orchestra and the tempo was one,
two, three, four, two,
two, three, four and
my rest was 143 bars long.
So I was, concentrating very, very hard.
And as a matter of fact,
when I made my entrance,
the conductor actually
cued me one bar early.
He had actually lost where
I was supposed to enter.
And I held my ground and
came in where I was supposed to.
And he kinda looked at me at the end
of the cue and said thank you.
[LAUGH] So concentrating on our
multimeasure rest, as that is.
There's a shorter one down at
the bottom of the first page.
You know, just keep your concentration.
It happens, obviously, that we lose that.
But there's nothing to grab on to,
we're not playing actual notes.
So when you're counting,
just really keep track.
Sometimes you just wanna, one, two.
It's a good actually, little trick.
When you're counting a rest in band,
a 1, 2, 3, 4, 2,
2 keep having it go with your fingers,
3, 2, 3, 4.
And that way you can kind
of double check yourself.
So you don't have to look at your
neighbor and say where are we?
Ok, so let's fire up the track.
You've got it there, and enjoy playing
along with Gordon Goodwin's big fat band,
and here is,
Does This Charge Make Me Look phat?
Here we go.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Okay.
Was that fun?
Did you enjoy that?
Great.
So if you're playing the lead alto part,
which you must be This is
the first thing we're doing
in my school here where you're
playing in the sax section.
So it's virtual,
you are playing to a track,
it's not like your actually
got horns next to you.
But you may or
may not be in those kind of situations.
But just be aware that when
you're playing in the situation,
if you're playing lead alto you
are the one setting the dynamics.
At bar Ten for instance, that mezzo piano.
I mentioned before, it's relative,
so there's a range of dynamic
that mezzo piano can fall into relative
to the kind of music that you're playing,
the level that the band is, the dynamic
level that the band is playing.
So wherever you put it, as lead alto
player it's your job To put it there,
put it at that volume every time you
get to that part of the song, and
keep it there as well.
Same thing with the time and making
sure that you're playing in such a way,
you're leading a section so
they're blending with you, but
you've got to play it in such a way
that you can be blended with.
So be really aware of that and you're also
listening to the lead trumpet because, and
the whole rest of the ensemble, but the
lead trumpet in particular because that is
the player who is setting all the,
you know, the subtleties, you know,
the grooves and
the where everything should be.
How loud and soft things should be as far
as the entire ensemble should go, so.
This song is a challenge, certainly not
outside your grasp, definitely not.
But I spent some time just making
sure I had the notes together
before we recorded it and performed it.
And then, if the track is fast for
you, like everything else, play along with
the metronome after you've worked out
the notes And just make sure you're
paying attention to all the details.
When we record his music,
it's not about the notes.
The notes are a given.
It's about all the inflection,
all the dynamics,
all the everything that makes it,
you know, makes the music Cool.
So, and especially when you're
playing in an ensemble,
not only is it important
to play them consistently,
the same way every time, but
to play them with the section as well.
All right, so,
does this chart make me look fat.
Have fun with this one.
And shoot me a video of you playing it.
I'd love it.
I'd really love to see you playing this
one cuz, you know, I'm on the record.
It's near and dear to my heart.
I'd love to see your interpretation of it.
[MUSIC]
All right.
Have fun.
[MUSIC]