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I need help with this as I am a band director who is rather inexperienced with jazz ensembles.
I have a freshman guitar player who was selected for our high school all-county jazz band. He played a Level 4 Jim Snidero solo pretty competently last spring which earned him the spot. We were just given the music last week and we have just this month to learn it all for the festival. The music consists of: Mike Tomaro’s arr. of “In A Sentimental Mood”, Mark Taylor arr. “Dat Dere”, Tomaro arr. “Manteca”, and Taylor arr. “Pick Up The Pieces”.
The “Pick Up…” piece is very easy, and any instance of written melodies in the other pieces are no problem. The issue is with all the extended chords! How is he going to be able to learn examples such as an Emi7 (b5) (Add 11), or an Ab7 (#11#9) all in time for the performance? Would it be okay for us to work out the basic chord structures with occasional 7th and 9ths mixed in? Those 11ths and 13ths are going to be well covered by saxes, horns and keyboards as it is. Any advice would be helpful. If we had more time, I’d definitely have him learn as many new chords as he could and not try to take shortcuts, but I feel we need to be more efficient with the limited time available.
Thank you for your help, folks!
Have no fear! It’s rare for the guitarist to play those extended chords in a big band setting. In swing style, have him play quarter notes “Freddie Green” style. Play just the root, 3rd and 7th of each chord. If that becomes difficult, then just stick with the 3rd and 7th. When comping along with the piano in other styles have him stick with simple two or three note voicings that fit in with what the piano is playing.
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