Big Band drum thread.

Zickos

Gold Member
I think we need a Big Band drum thread here. Anyone who plays in one or wants to play in one please contribute. I'll start.



I play in a 17 pc. Glenn Miller style Big Band called Talk of the Town. The band is made up of all age groups from college students to retired people. Until recently we even had one trumpet player who played in USO bands in the 40's. He, btw, was also a fighter pilot but didn't get a chance to see any combat. The band performs most Tuesdays at retirement centers and nursing homes for free throughout the OKC metro area which amounts to our rehearsals. We also have some paid gigs but for very little money. We travel with a book of almost 1000 tunes of which we play only a few regularly. Since we play all over the OKC metro area, which is 40 miles across in both directions, there are several musicians for most positions including drummers. Because of this we rotate musicians in and out. Due to my recent illness I haven't played with them since April 14, but I will be doing two gigs in the near future.



Attached is a picture from one of our WWII gigs.

DSCF0620.JPG

All of you Big Band drummers or want to bes, tell us of your experiences.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I love Big Bands and I have always wanted to play in one. The closest that I have been able to come to playing in a Big Band is a Jazz Quintet.
I am happy for you that you get to play in one.

You mentioned nursing homes. We have played in a few nursing homes but most of our music is from the Real Books 1 and 2. It is older than the people in the nursing homes. People ask us if we can play Bruce Springsteen!
I imagine that your setlist must be in the same realm as ours.
People don't relate the music anymore.
Do you have any video links to your Big Band? I would love to see them.
 

mjtug

Junior Member
Great idea Zickos. I play in a 17 piece big band as well. We play in churches, farmers markets and nursing homes, since there is not a big demand for big band. We made just enough money last year to purchase new stands. It is great fun. For those of you who haven't played in a big band, give it a try. It is very demanding, yet rewarding.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
Great thread idea! I assume that we do introductions first before talking about the specifics of big band drumming.

I am a former member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (you can see pics on my website). I have also performed in big bands on cruise ships (Carnival Cruise Lines) and theme parks (Starlight Orchestra Big Band show at Busch Gardens). I am currently a member of Swing Machine, a big band based in DC. With them, I have backed trumpet legend Wayne Bergeron, Grammy nominated vocalist Juanita Williams, and America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. We have even backed non-big band artists such as the lead singers from the Temptations, Drifters, and Platters. We have recorded one CD under our name as well as select tracks for vocalist Jason Paul Curtis.

Jeff
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
+1.

Great thread idea! I'd love to play in a big band. When my niece got married years ago, my brother hired a big band for the reception.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Great thread idea! I assume that we do introductions first before talking about the specifics of big band drumming.

I am a former member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (you can see pics on my website). I have also performed in big bands on cruise ships (Carnival Cruise Lines) and theme parks (Starlight Orchestra Big Band show at Busch Gardens). I am currently a member of Swing Machine, a big band based in DC. With them, I have backed trumpet legend Wayne Bergeron, Grammy nominated vocalist Juanita Williams, and America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. We have even backed non-big band artists such as the lead singers from the Temptations, Drifters, and Platters. We have recorded one CD under our name as well as select tracks for vocalist Jason Paul Curtis.

Jeff
Wayne Bergeron? That guy owes me 50 bucks!

I did big band in college and played in a few rehearsal big bands around town. When I was in college I got Wayne to come in (we were playing in different bands at Disneyland at the time) and clinic our trumpet section, but we rehearsed at 10 am and he said he doesn't play before 1 ;)

I'd love to do more big band playing, but it's so hard to get a trio together these days too. I did get to spend a day watching the great Peter Donald rehearse with the Bob Florence big band once. That was an education right there. And I did get to pick Ed Shaughnessy's brain once as well as Gregg BIssonette's when he finished playing with Maynard Ferguson. I miss those days.
 

Brewkowski

Member
I played in a high school and college jazz band but never got a chance to do a Big Band. One of these days I'd love to find one needing a drummer!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Well I wouldn't call it big band, but big band music with a friends father back in 74. Piano, sax, cocktail kit for a restaurant on Friday night for the older generation. My generation now.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I just play a couple big band songs with this one band that I'm in - In The Mood by Glenn Miller Orchestra and Marie by Tommy Dorsey. I love it.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
The music was just so well arranged. I can't understand how anyone couldn't appreciate it, yet most people today don't understand it.
There is something for everybody in a big band piece as far as I'm concerned. Most folks just don't realize it.
 

Derek

Silver Member
Back in high school ("76-79) I had the drum chair in our jazz band sophomore to senior year. With a few exceptions of showcasing the rhythm section, we were a big band. Basie arrangements, etc. ...

Fun times, haven't done it since then.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Played drums in the high school dance band and loved it! However after 6 years the principal finally gave me a diploma and told me to "beat it kid!"
But seriously folks....got my sons listening to big band which they hated. Played a lot of Artie Shaw and told them listen to how great he is. "yeah right Dad." was the comment until I told them to just pretend Artie's clarinet was a guitar and imagine it was Eddie Van Halen or Slash playing Artie's part. Light bulb went off !! Came home from work one day and the boys were practicing with their garage band. They were playing Artie's "Traffic Jam"! Sounded great with rock instruments. To this day they love big band music.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
The music was just so well arranged. I can't understand how anyone couldn't appreciate it, yet most people today don't understand it.
There is something for everybody in a big band piece as far as I'm concerned. Most folks just don't realize it.
The first time I played big band it really was like piloting a 747. When the rest of that band comes in you feel like you're taking off! And then it's either, "take control and fly it" or "RUN AND HIDE!!!"
 

RickP

Gold Member
I currently play with the After Hours Big Band which is a 17 piece Big Band. I auditioned in January and took over the drum chair. My first gig with them is February 8th. It will be sight reading about 40 charts as we haven't played all these songs together yet. It won't be the first time i have had to sight read a gig with a Big Band. We have a male and female singer and play all the Jazz Festivals in the greater Toronto area.

I still sub with the Metro Big Band as well, but very infrequently now as I have too many projects on the go at this time ( I am in three other bands too). They are a great band with. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin impersonator as singers.

My first recollection of music was my Father's Big Band records and my first influences were Gene and Buddy.
 

crash

Member
Hi! I've been playing in big bands for a while. Currently in the Golden Eagles in So Calif. We're a group of retired pros, college students and interested players who can play in this style. I've also done some subbing for other groups in the area. It's really a lot of fun. I get to play in so many different styles, keeps you on your toes! A big band thread would be great!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
The first time I played big band it really was like piloting a 747. When the rest of that band comes in you feel like you're taking off! And then it's either, "take control and fly it" or "RUN AND HIDE!!!"
I know exactly what you mean. I feel that way with the Jazz Quint often. The music takes on an energy all its own even on my much smaller scale.
A drummer isn't allowed to drive a band in Rock playing like he is in Swing and Bop.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Hi! I've been playing in big bands for a while. Currently in the Golden Eagles in So Calif. We're a group of retired pros, college students and interested players who can play in this style. I've also done some subbing for other groups in the area. It's really a lot of fun. I get to play in so many different styles, keeps you on your toes! A big band thread would be great!
Hey where in SoCal are you? I'm north of Disneyland and would love to come out and give a listen!
 
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