Friday, February 13, 2009

Follow the Leader

Wednesday I was asked to play the bass with a swing band for a Valentine's Day Party. I usually am the pianist for this bunch, but the bass player is in Florida for the Winter. I have played the drums with them on occasion, as pianists are easier to get that good drummers. Wel,, I guess the same it true of bass players. I walked into the club carrying my bass to the confused looks of the other band-mates. They thought that I was carrying the bass for someone else, as they had no clue that I could play. 
The gig went off great except for one song which was a total train-wreck because of me.
(Yes, after all these years, I am still learning the hard way)

Here is what happened.......

The band is very established and has over 1200 charts in their books. It is such a pain tolisten to the band leader to  find and get out the songs before we play. (Here's where I got lazy)......

I had the bright idea of just looking over  the pianist shoulder instead of getting out the bass parts when the leader called them. Well, we had just finished playing a tune and I noticed song 217 on the piano rack. Being the nice guy I am, I told the drummer to get out song 317. The only problem was that the next song to play was 1226! The pianist hadn't put his songs in the right order. Because of this, the piano, bass, and (because of me) drummer started off playing the wrong song!

My ear cam name that mistake in one note, so I scrambled over to look at the bandleader's rack and see what the horns were playing. I ran back to the piano and drummer and shouted 1226! 1226!

About 20 measures into the song, we were all sounding like a band again.

Lesson learned?

Get the tunes out when the bandleader calls them, and then double check by glancing at the bandleader's rack just before the count-off. 

In other words, follow the leader.

Yours musically,

Larry Marra of

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