Well, it's time for the second iteration of the Blues Brothers revue with a group of rock folks. I hate to rag on other musicians, but I have to get it off of my chest just this one time.
We are providing the six horns for a ten piece backup for a local Blues Brothers revue. One of my vocalists and her husband are half of the vocal talent for the group, and the rhythm folks for the group are guys who have worked with them in the past.
All four of the rhythm folks are competent enough as far as hitting the notes - no problem there. However, their music reading skills - ahem - "leave a lot to be desired".
For the two sets that we are performing, we provided the full Monty as far as six horn charts are concerned. Mind you, some of them are pretty sketchy - there's the ubiquitous "rhythm outline" method of transcription used by some of the arrangers. Nonetheless, there are complete parts for everyone to follow.
The big problem comes with rehearsal. A couple of the vocalists have trouble with fitting their performance to the arrangements, so rehearsing is a bit obligatory on those. And there the problem begins.
While we horn folks, all playing off of the written music, can snap to any point in the arrangements with ease, even if it does involve counting the occasional bar numbers here and there, none of the vocalists or rhythm guys can reliably find their way to any point in the music on demand.
So, we have ended up rehearsing either the whole chart, or the last two thirds of the chart ("after the sax or guitar solo"), over and over and over and over, trying to get everyone on the same page, so to speak.
With some of the entrances varying from the recorded versions, one of the vocalists has had a horrible time getting it all together. Very, very trying, to say the least.
It's worth the effort only for the structure that we (the horn line) are gathering for when I sub in our rhythm and vocalists to do our version of same. I've got a line on a venue that is looking for a ten piece operation for their performance space, and we've now got the whole shebang for the Blues Brothers end of things. Sinatra will come when I get the charts together.
Suffering for one's art, and all of that..