Brass Bands and Big Band Music?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ickle_fiona_cornet_face, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. I've heard plenty of brass bands playing numbers from the big band era and enjoyed listening to them. But do brass bands suit this type of music or play it well for that matter? Or should they just stick to their tradtitional repetoire??
  2. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    there are only a few good arrangements of big band stuff, on the whole Brass bands should steer clear of big band because no matter how hard you try, a cornet will never be a replacement for a trumpet, and Baritones and horns DON'T SOUND LIKE SAXES.
  3. As Richard Evans once said to me "Son, you swing like a brick in cement". Think that can be said for brass bands in general. There are obvious exceptions and exceptional arrangements, but overall.....don't go there!
  4. euphsrock

    euphsrock Member

    Our conductor used to say that brass bands 'swing like a lead balloon'

    Generally, I think that bands should stay clear of big band stuff if they take themselves as a serious band, but on the other hand some bands are purely about having some fun and playing to audiences who just like a good tune, so I don't see why they cannot play anything they want to.

    But, yeh, good arrangements are important.
  5. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Some bands are better than others at emulating a real big band feel. I loved Yorkshire Imps rendition of Trumpet Blues a few years back, but then heard Grimey and thought it just went too fast and lost the feel. Maybe some of us are just too conscious of playing things too precisely and find the swing/big band feel a bit out of our comfort zone? I suppose we're a bit too stuffy... :dunno
  6. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Swing bands play precisely, listen to a decent one, they're tighter than a gnat's chuff.
  7. Goldiecornet

    Goldiecornet New Member

    Dear Brass Bands....

    Please Leave the swing and big band styles to the professionals...

    HM Forces Musician
  8. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    dear "professional", did you fail your audition at your local brass band?
    Please leave your flute in the bin on the way out..
  9. Goldiecornet

    Goldiecornet New Member

    Well "Aidan" Being a horn player i guess your couldnt even swing a cat let alone a piece of big band music. So get back to the nursery and learn how to vibrato like phil McCann.
  10. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I think some brass bands are better at emulating big bands than others...

    same goes for some big bands, some are good at emulating the greats (such as basie, ellington, quincy jones, gillespie big bands, kenton etc, even Miller), some are not...

    Swing is about the feel of the music, not necessarily the instrumentation... each of the greats had their own style, so it really depends on whose music you are playing and how good the arrangement is....
  11. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    As someone who does play in Big bands/Swing bands whenever possible, I don't think as a rule, brass bands should leave this kind of stuff to them. It's all to do with the ability of the band and the experience of the players in it.

    To agree with Mr. Q above, I've played in Big bands that have made me cringe with embarassment at the fact I agreed to help out, as well as feeling really privileged to play with some. I personally like Brass bands playing Big Band music (depending on the quality of the arrangement of course!) and playing them is a good reason not to use brass band wobble, which I'm not at all a fan of! (But I'm not going to resort to just being rude about it like our antagonist a few posts above, that's just childish)
  12. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    I think it's changing.
    20 years ago I would have agreed it was difficult for most brass band players to move out of their comfort zone and play swing effectively.
    Presently though, many younger players now have much more experience of playing different styles outside of brass bands, sometimes simply from their school experiences. They're not as 'entrenched' as some of the old guard were. The same could be said for many of our up-and-coming younger MD's.
    So with some bands at least now there are enough around the stand to give a good stylistic lead
  13. alks

    alks Member

    Well, listening to some American brass brass bands play swing etc they seam to do a good job (BBBC and BBCF) on the cd's that i have. So its not the brass band fomat, but rather the players in the band that effect the outcome.

  14. mxb59307

    mxb59307 Member

    The funniest post for ages. I ****ed my pants. :clap:
  15. my dogs bo***cks swing better than brass bands! id like to hear the bbc big band play pentacle tho!! that would be hilarious! im sure the flugel solo would be tidy tho
  16. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Big Band music doesn't necessarily swing....listen to some Kenton...
    In fact, listen to a lot of Kenton - GREAT STUFF!!
  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    There is no reason brass bands cannot play swing, if the attitude to playing it is right. persuading some (particularly older-school) players that swing, jazz etc has to be every bit as tight, precise and correct as (for instance) a contest march, is not an easy job. But like any other sort of music, and as people have alluded to earlier it's about getting the style right.

    Other musicians in other disciplines have done this very successfully. Think about Eric Clapton, one of rock's great names who one day decided "The hell with it, I'm off to do a blues album with BB king." OK, the style he played in already had some blues influence from the like of Jimmy Paige et al - but he's really got the style right, so his Jaw-dropping technique and phenominal musicality still shows through.

    Playing different types of music and learning to adapt to different styles cannot possibly be a bad thing. I have heard Yngwie Malmstein play Bach and Beethoven on an electric guitar. I have heard "Master of puppets" by metallica played on a grand piano, and have even arranged alice cooper and guns 'n' roses for brass octet myself. Good music will shine though in any context - which is why Tocatta in D has been done so successfully in so many different ways.

    And to anyone who says "Please leave our music alone" the simple answer (refraining from using words that start with F) is "No, it's our music too." I'd have no right to tell you not to play Knight templar so do us a favour and back off.

    Brass bands are musically omniverous and always have been. We play pop, rock, jazz, swing, big-band, classical, orchestral, operatic, contemporary, martial and any other sort of music you care to throw at us. And long may we continue to do so. Because music is all about reinterpretation. The day one ceases to re-interpret music it dies.

    If brass bands playing swing offends anybody, then that is their problem for having such a blinkered view of music.

    Rant over.
  18. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member


  19. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    :clap: You gotta do your gotta listen to stuff!
  20. I was listening to a recording of Brass in Concert 2006, when Brass Band of Central Florida played Birdland and I was quite impressed by their jazz style and their overall performance. I seem to think though that the players might have had more big band training and experience than us, seeing as it is America after all. Apparently the cornets they use too are designed differently to sound more like a trumpet....I could be wrong but thats what I've been told :)