How the Ultimate Jazz Combo Works....
The challenge ahead of time for the workshop participants will be to learn (not memorize but familiarize) themselves with the music. In each combo, part of the morning session will involve getting inside the tunes from a melodic, harmonic and structural point of view. This may be a novel approach for some participants, but that is entirely the point of this workshop. We want to dig into the tunes as a way of showing people HOW to dig into other tunes they may be working on. This is the one surefire way to 'learn' a piece of music!
For the singers, the 'book' key of these tunes isn't necessarily a good fit for their individual voice. As any singer who has come to camp knows, all three of our vocal faculty address the issue of finding one's own key – that is the big responsibility and homework for the singers. This includes the tunes that aren't standards with lyrics. An important part of jazz singing involves singing instrumental tunes. Once singers have found their ideal key for a tune, they can contact me (John Geggie) or Anna and we will make new leadsheets for EACH singer key involved. We likely won't be able to get that music out as much in advance but it will certainly be there for the workshop. Once again, part of the learning curve here is to deal with precisely these issues in real time, because that what playing and rehearsing in a combo is about.
There WILL be lots of playing but it stands to reason that the faculty may well have to do some talking and explaining things, in order to put things into context. The Ultimate Combo Workout is a different experience from what happens at JW classic; this is really 'woodshedding the tunes'. It is a great time to really learn about these tunes. Sharada has prepared some great materials that will definitely help the process. ANY combination of instruments in a combo will work fine: there may be two drummers, 4 singers, 20 saxophone players (well, not THAT many but...)...everyone will get a chance to work on things!
I felt it would be good to have an advanced group and a group that could be far more beginner so that no one might feel 'over their head' in terms of the tuition offered and the experience.
( John Geggie, bassist and composer, is artistic director of JazzWorks)
What the key signatures in the titles mean...
The C, Bb, Eb designations indicate WHAT key a certain instrument is pitched in...NOT the key of every piece being played..
C - vocalists, flute, piano, guitar, drums, bass, trombone
Bb- transposing instruments such as tenor sax and trumpet
Eb- transposing instruments such as alto and baritone saxophone.
This doesn't mean that the C music is all in the key of C...in fact, for those instruments in 'C'...in the beginner combo,
Sonnymoon is in fact in the key of Bb, Fly me to the Moon is in fact in the key of C, first chord is Am, All of Me in key of C
SO, the only thing participants have to be able to determine is what instrument they play and thus which packet of tunes to take. Just print up and practise the correct packet of pdfs and you will be fine :)