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Music History: a request for help

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#1
One of the projects that is a long term one for my group is that of providing the vocalists (and me) with notes sufficient to put together a good line of "palaver" between the tunes in a set.

I have printed set lists for each job, listing out all of the starting a tune details - vis. tune number, tune name, count off, MM number, vocal key, auxiliary percussion assignments, and the vocalists assigned to the tune. This has the happy effect of getting everyone on the same page at the same time.

Each fifty minute set has a total of eighteen slots, with three of the slots overprinted in grey, these being the tunes that may be dropped due to circumstances. Each tune is placed so as to smooth out movements of vocalists to and from the front of the stand, and to group tunes into similar clusters so dancers who want to dance more than one number have an opportunity to do so.

I usually shoot for about thirty to forty seconds between each tune, just to keep things moving along and to make sure the client gets their money worth. However, even with less than a minute between tunes, there is still the potential for "dead air", with awkward pauses as a result.

A good vocalist can usually vamp along with this arrangement, filling in with light chit-chat as they go, and taking their cue from what's going on behind them. However, not all vocalists are that good.

What I have done is to move to two set lists. Both are generated on the computer, and both share the same basic information. However, while the general set list is limited to the logistics of getting the tunes up and ready to play, the vocalist one omits a lot of the notes and instead subs in a "History" column.

Both lists have alternating bands of white and very light grey shading (with extra shading on the three potential "drops"). The main difference, however, is in the "History" column.

I have tried to summarize a capsule history of the number in each case. So, for the popular "Y.M.C.A.", the History entry reads "1979; Belolo/Morali/Willis; The Village People", listing the date of composition, the name(s) of the composer(s)/lyricist(s) (if a one person operation, I give the first and last name), plus a very brief (one or two entries only) summary of the group that popularized the tune, the position it attained on the charts, a later artist who made the tune their own, and so forth.

If a Sinatra hit, I generally use just "Sinatra"; if Nancy Sinatra was the artist, I'll list "N. Sinatra". Sometimes I'll add a bit of interesting trivia about the tune, like the name of the real girl from Ipanema (who was the 22 year old Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, in case you ever get asked).

The whole purpose of all of this was to give a vocalist not all that familiar with a tune just enough material to put a smooth verbal transition together - the sort of thing that you hear all of the time in lounge acts. So far, I've been able to generate this for most of my charts.

However, of late I have hit a snag. While almost every commercial tune has this kind of information available, either on the internets, from music history texts (like Charlie Barnett's autobiography - a real hoot of a book) or at the foot of the music, where I have come us very short is with what I call the "jazzers", stuff by Nestico or Neihaus. From the names, I can occasionally pick out an association with Count Basie, but many of them only exist as entries in music catalogs, with precious little information furnished along these lines.

All told, there are about seventy of these orphans in my listing of (gulp!) 1,069 charts. (Of course, this total does not represent the total of different tunes - we've got five of "You Make Me Feel So Young", seven of "Stardust", six of "Night And Day", "Misty" and "My Funny Valentine", and so forth. Some are all different charts by different arrangers, some are the same chart in multiple keys or for different horns. But, that's still a high percentage.

(A digression: When we played our very first job, way back in 2001 or so, we had a limited library of music and a limited field of vocalists. Accordingly, we scheduled one of our Wolpe charts ("Someone To Watch Over Me") as an instrumental, tasking the lead tenor player to play the extended solo vocal part. However, when we played it, I was astounded to hear a melody-less, as the tenor player had pulled the regular version of the chart (for female vocalist) instead of the special "Play this part for tenor solo" part. My first action after that job was to go through and break out each of the "vocal/tenor/trumpet" tunes so that each version has its own chart. Problem solved, at the expense of a thousand or so sheets of music paper.)

(Also, I have used "Eye" for the letter "I", printed right there on the part, so that the number "1" does not get confused - a number of us in the group have hearing loss, and it can get a bit intense on the stand.)

Anyway, what I am looking for is a good source to track down some historic and provenance information on these 'Jazzer' tunes, tunes like "Radio" and "Basie (C)". Any ideas?
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#2
An interesting question. I didn't have an answer off the top of my head, but found this site by doing a bit of research: Jazz Standards.com

I don't know if you have already used this source for the type of information you are looking for.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#3
Thanks for your help...

...as I haven't looked there, I would imagine that most of the jazz stuff should be covered. I'll report back later.

Incidentally, if anyone wants access to what I've assembled, I can upload a name and history listing database here if Pete or someone else can make use of it. I have covered most of the pop standards over the past 100 years in some detail.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
Incidentally, if anyone wants access to what I've assembled, I can upload a name and history listing database here if Pete or someone else can make use of it. I have covered most of the pop standards over the past 100 years in some detail.
Unh? Whaaat? Oh. Sorry. You just woke me up.

I'm no longer really into performance stuff, but I'm fairly sure that someone here would be interested. If you have some stuff that's in some sort of database or table format, I'd be more than happy to web-ify it for you or if it's already in some web format, I'd be happy to host. More music resources = good.

You can PM or e-mail me, or discuss here or in the sooper sekrit Content Experts forum.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#5
I try to avoid being part of the forum elite, choosing instead to communicate out here in the open. After I get done running the jazz stuff through this new resource, I'll produce a reduced version of name and historic data, and send it off to you. No time table here, though...
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#6
No worries. I've got lots of other projects, too.
 
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