What we're talking about
The idea of a lead sheet workshop — coming to the second floor of the Carleton Tavern on July 17 — is overdue. It’s especially useful for singers. Too often they find themselves at a jam session with a tune they want to sing and a band that can’t play it.
WhTo review: a lead sheet has the music, the lyrics, if any, and the chord symbols. Sometimes we’ll call it a chart. Even if the singer has a chart, there may not be one for the piano player, or the trumpet player — and, oops, the trumpet player’s chart has to be in a different key, and the alto player’s chart has to be in a different key from that, and then there’s the bass clef one for the bass player . . .
Life is complicated and the more experienced singers know that. Watch Gerri Trimble or Betty Ann Bryanton at the next jam session, hauling out the binder and pulling out the appropriate chart for each player. The instrumentalists appreciate that kind of professionalism. It makes their job easier and that helps make the singer sound better too.
But I would venture to say that instrumentalists could benefit from this workshop too. Singers are not the only people who need lead sheets. When Alf Warnock and John Haysom talk about creating proper lead sheets, they can be talking to instrumentalists too.
I’ve seen horn guys show up with a chart they want to play that is only in concert key. There are some folks who can sight-read and transpose at the same time, but I can’t and I may not be alone.
There are issues about music software that may be discussed. Some of us find it frustrating and non-intuitive. But, perhaps more important, is the notion of how to create lead sheets, how to make them easily understandable, how to transpose, how to simplify complicated chord notations. It’s not only singers who need to know how to do that.
Follow My Lead: Crafting Jazz Lead Sheets That Work will be held upstairs at the Carleton Tavern on July 17 from 7 to 9:30. Cost is $20 for members — or, as we now call them Friends of JazzWorks — $25 for others.
Comments will be 'approved' before they are made visible. If you are leaving a comment, please sign it with your full name. Anonymous comments won't be published.
About this blog
Tune Up won't be a calendar of events — Ottawa Jazz Happenings takes care of that. But it will discuss events and issues of interest to the JazzWorks community. Journalist, author, trumpet player and a jazz camper since 1999, Charley Gordon is a former vice-president of JazzWorks.