Playing with a horn section

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by soul-o, Jun 20, 2021.

  1. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    My band always has sax- and I work with a world- class sax player whose musicianship blows me away after playing together for 15 years- but we have the option of additional horns for clients with a bigger budget. I just got back from a wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine with an absolutely kickass 3 piece horn section. It is just extra exciting for everyone.

    How many of you all play with horns on the regular?
     
  2. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Holic

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    In high school, we had a jazz band with a full horn section. For the horn players, it was a pretty competitive audition situation.

    I really dug some of the things we did. Of course, I was too young at the time to appreciate how nice it is to have a clear leader, committed musicians, and time to rehearse.
     
  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    From 2006-2016 I played in a R&B wedding band with a three piece horn section.
    The band was called Hot Wax, and they played around the Austin area for decades.
    There were usually 3-4 front singers, and 7 instrumentalists.
    One tenor sax player was a truly great soloist.
    I also did a few gigs with the great Nash Hernandez Orchestra.
    They usually have a 4 piece horn section.
    I was usually added as a “token rock guitar player”.
    Kinda funny, because rock guitar is not at all my long suit.
    I digress.
    Anyways, I always enjoyed those gigs!
     
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  4. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I used to, way back in college. My band was me and 3 or 4 guys in the football frat. A bunch of the frat brothers played random instruments so the leader got them to bring them back from break. We ended up with something like 15 people, and I think 8 were horns. It was a hoot.

    The first time I played with the crew was a gig at the campus bar. I knew they'd be there but I assumed it would be one or two guys adding some flavor to tunes we normally played. Instead there were like 10 extra people on stage, kind of organized into smaller sections around the stage.

    One of the benefits of being in a band with frat guys is that the pledges are seriously strong dudes who get bossed around by the older guys. So all my stuff was in the bar, amp set up and plugged in and ready to go.

    I was just getting my guitar out and plugged in when the leader jumped on stage, yelled the chords to Hooked on a Feeling at me and immediately turned to the horn section, who belted out the hooga chaka part in perfect sync and then kicked into the song. I guess they had worked the whole thing out at the frat house or whatever because boom, just like that I'm in the middle of a 14-piece band playing Hooked on a Feeling.

    I can't say I was a huge fan of the song before that but there's something about being right in the middle of that blast of sound that just made my heart jump for joy.

    I don't know what I actually played on the guitar, I didn't know the song but in that level of noise no one could hear me anyway so I got to make googly eyes at the ladies and act like a goof for a bit. So fun.
     
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  5. dannyh

    dannyh Friend of Leo's

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    Ive been playing with a couple of big bands the last couple years, and on occasion get to play with smaller horn sections. I’m a big fan…when done right it can take things to another level, at least ime.
     
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  6. Mikecito

    Mikecito Tele-Meister

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    Back in the late 90s I played with a reagge ska band that dabbled in swing (remember that little swing revival...) we had a mediocre 2-3 piece horn section, but when it came together it was a blast. The day we opened up for tower of power was a very humbling day for us!
     
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  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Just a sax usually. But we have a horn section on our CD. I have found that most horn players just want to ad lib solos when you give them the nod and not learn real horn parts unfortunately.
     
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  8. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Haven't quite figured out how to be my own horn section :lol::lol::lol:

    I "attempt" to play guitar, piano and sax. Piano since about 8 years old and sax since high school,
    Guitar is more of a later in life obsession.

    I am on a break from Sax, plan to take it up again when I retire.
    The embouchure is a biotch to maintain without regular and I do mean REGULAR practice :eek:
    My life ,right now, just does not allow me the time to devote to it :(

    Sold both of my Yamaha Altos as I plan to move to Tenor anyway.

    20180417_003817761_iOS.jpg
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Good money in the Port!
    Grows on the bushes...

    Does your band write or play in sax friendly keys?
    Saxes can play in any key but Jazz with saxes (etc) tends to be written in keys that are easier to play sax in.
    But pop rock sax is generally more simple than Jazz so it may not matter.
    I used to sometimes play a C mel sax which is in between the B flat tenor and E flat alto, so really easy for guitar pop rock stuff.
    Every classic guitar riff and lick is quick & easy on C mel with no ridiculous LH pinkie table sliding.
    Most pf them are really old though and not cutting edge instruments. Funny looking too.

    So many guitar players are stuck in cowboy chords and transpose poorly when asked to play a tune in a different key.
    Sax players who came up in band camp plus get paid to be the sideman who follows direction are often the ones who play less comfortably.
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I gotta say, most "real horn parts" are dull dull dull unless you're just back from WWII and getting to dance with a real live girl for the first time in two near death years.

    Saxes can do lots of stuff...

    ...course, not all ad lib sax parts are any better...
     
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  11. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I used to play in a band called "East Coast Muscle" with a horn section.

    These days it's usually with just a sax player (tenor mostly).
     
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  12. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I love playing with one or more horns. In my old band, our sax player, who also played keys, was awesome. Whenever we started to slip off the rails during a song, I could yell, "Take it, Tom!" and he would solo us back to reality. The sax player in the band I'm in now, hurt his back and hasn't played for a few months. I miss having him on board.

    I'm glad you had fun in K-port. I lived there for about 10 years; now I live in the next town north. Do you remember the name of the band? Most wedding bands that play up here are from away, Boston usually.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
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  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think Tower of Power, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, David Clayton Thomas, Chicago, Shamika Copeland, Tommy Castro and many more would disagree!
     
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  14. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    We used to have a sax player that would sit in with us at least one night every weekend. He put in the effort to learn most of the songs we covered, and it was always a lot of fun when he showed up.
     
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  15. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I wish. Years ago I did and loved the mix. Miss it.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well all that stuff was great but in my thinking it's kinda like a kid with their first bike being easily thrilled, but then fast forward a few years and they learn how much more is possible?

    Cross or contrast between pop music horn parts and how much more is possible, this is a nice example and one that helped me a lot in my early sax playing.

     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I pretty much gave up on trying to keep up five or six years ago.
    If I can't really rip due to not enough practice, it just doesn't make sense to me.
    Guitar is so much easier in terms of the sheer physicality.
     
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  18. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I feel the same way. I am not ready to give it up forever just yet.
    I will come back to it when my life slows down a bit.
     
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  19. Jipes

    Jipes Tele-Meister

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    I play in two good amateur bands with a full horn section one playing mostly old school RNB and the others being a bit more broader playing Prince or Stevie Wonder covers. This is tremendouly fun but as a guitar player i really had to re-learn how to play far less things and avoiding the bass string Steve Cropper is a true master of it
     
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  20. KATT

    KATT Tele-Meister

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    One of the bands I play in is a Blues Brothers tribute band with a sax and trumpet player (the trumpet player is usually the same but the sax player is usually one of three players). They always put me to shame as they're many times the musician I'll ever be! It's great playing with them though.
     
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