Brass Band Jazz Contest? - Would it work?

euphsrock

Member
I'm sure this is probably another can of worms, but I had this idea the other day of a contest where the emphasis was on jazz.
Most bands play jazz or jazzy arrangements of big band numbers these days at some point but alot of bands/players are not so good with the swing or rhythms involved. (Not saying all bands/players).

I just wondered if it had ever been tried having a contest where the test piece is a jazz piece, written by a Jazz Big Band composer, but for Brass Band instrumentation and having a jazz expert as the adjudicator etc.

Would it work? Would people turn up? Would it help? Is it the right way forward for the banding "movement"?

Lots of questions,
Discuss......:biggrin:
 

Andrew Norman

Active Member
It's certainly an interesting concept but I feel it wouldn't work..
Personally I find that "jazzy" tunes work best for brass bands when they're kept simple. Over-arranged Big Band style numbers rarely come off - at least not to my ears (Hunting Wabbits for example).
I have a foot in each camp as both a brass band conductor and a working jazz musician.
 

lynchie

Active Member
I tend to find that big band pieces work best when played by a big band - I certainly wouldn't want to see a contest of arrangements. I guess if someone composed an original work for brass band in the style of a big band number it might work but it seems hugely contrived.
 

Leyfy

Active Member
1st prize going to the band that can actually swing. I think it might go unclaimed though.....

I think the test piece could be called:

"It don't mean a thing, 'cause brass bands cant swing... tah tah tah tah tah tah tah tah tah"

:biggrin:
 

Aidan

Active Member
It's the wrong instruments. Euphs and tenor horns "swinging" is never going to sound like a big band sax section.
not necessary the wrong instruments, most defiantely the wrong style though.
Little bit more to it that swung quavers.
 

Andrew Norman

Active Member
Not all Jazz is in "swing rhythm" and don't forget that the very heart of Jazz is improvisation - how do you judge improvisation ?
Jazz can be played on any instrument - I've used Tenor Horn and Euphonium to great effect.
There's far more to playing Jazz than being able to "swing" quavers.
 

Laserbeam bass

Active Member
Why not consider asking your local association if you could tack onto their event by having a buskers contest.

When all entrants have played a hat is passed round. The independent adjudicator then decides who is the best, and the winning group walk off with the hatful of wedge.


[Silly mode]

High note contest, done in the style of name that tune.
Bb Trumpet / Cornet (Eb)
Opening bid is a Top C (G)
2nd bid is a Top E (B)
3rd bid is a Top G (D)
4th bid is a double C (G)
Play that high note

3 attemtps including a run up or arpeggio

You could even set the bar at minimum notes for each progressive round
1 Top C (G)
2 Top E (B)
3 Top G (D)
4 Double C (G)
5 Triple C (Leo Shepherd recordings accepted)

[Silly Mode]
 

Bryan_sop

Active Member
Trying to get a Euph/Tenor horn/Baritone to swing is like trying to get an aging local choral society to stop warbling. Shame because I think it's a great idea that I'd be very interested in being involved in!
 

Red Elvis

Active Member
No. No No No No No !!!!

It is a well known scientific fact that all brass band swing / jazz / big band / latin salsa arrangements are the work of beelzebub and all his horny little minions.

I had to look at my MD in a funny way a few weeks back when he got "Sing Sing Sing" and "Malaguena" out. Luckily they have not been seen lately after all the parts and score accidentally went on fire a bit.
 

euphsrock

Member
I love how quickly this thread has changed to can/should brass bands play jazz!
The point is, some do, or at least try to.
Either way, a specific contest may help them to think about doing it better?


By the way, I know it'll never happen, just an interesting idea.
 

Laserbeam bass

Active Member
No. No No No No No !!!!

It is a well known scientific fact that all brass band swing / jazz / big band / latin salsa arrangements are the work of beelzebub and all his horny little minions.

I had to look at my MD in a funny way a few weeks back when he got "Sing Sing Sing" and "Malaguena" out. Luckily they have not been seen lately after all the parts and score accidentally went on fire a bit.

You have learnt well oh former Becontreeite
 

StellaJohnson

Active Member
i've played in a jazz band myself, and I feel it isn't so much brass bands can't swing its the arrangements we have on offer dosen't really help us.
 

Thirteen Ball

Active Member
We've had this debate before, and the long and the short of it is this.

Yes - brass bands CAN play swing if they learn and adopt the correct style.

Yes - several bandsmen find it very hard to let loose and adopt the correct style.

No - they probably shouldn't try it if they're not even going to attempt the right style.

Yes - the (generally) poor standard of brass band Jazz arrangements doesn't help.

Anyone expecting a brass band to sound like a big band is onto a loser to start with. No, horns and baritones don't sound like a sax section. Why is that a bad thing? They sound different. Different does not mean wrong. Brass bands are musical omnivores and always have been. I should imagine brass bands adapt about as well to Jazz playing as Woody Herman's orchestra would have adapted to knight templar or Le Roi d'Ys.

The relatively simple jazz arrangements we often get thrown are not difficult to play - and I agree that some of the more complex ones don't work so well because of the lack of tone colour within a band. The main problem to me seems to be that in order to play jazz correctly, one has to let go of almost everything that's drummed into the brass band recruitee from a very young age, and as with all things in brass banding, some people are very reluctant to let go.

The two are not incompatible styles - both value precision and tone very highly. It's comparable to switching from speaking English to speaking French.

Alas, there will always be some people who only ever master the substitute of speaking English but louder and slower....
 
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