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  #81  
Old 03-11-2018, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I've subbed for a few gigs that required click tracks because of backing tracks. It's a cool idea, but it creates a little bit of struggle for people who are used to milking the "push-pull" of tempos when they play live. A bassist on one gig I did detested the click tracks on tunes he wanted to drive faster on the choruses and slow back down on the verses. He quit the group because it lacked "soul" because of the click track.

Another band I've played with, just a singer, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and drummer, played with full backing tracks, and was awesome! When that horn section and the full vocal harmonies would kick in, it really filled out the tunes in a way that just the quintet would sound lacking by comparison.
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  #82  
Old 03-12-2018, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
Live? Krupa? Rich? Blakey? Bellson? Roach? Jones? Clarke?

I find the idea laughable in a live setting. You're supposed to listen to each other. That's what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.
Why would you bump a three-year-old thread to be close-minded and rude? I can't believe anyone responded to you courteously.
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  #83  
Old 03-12-2018, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

If you think what I said was closed-minded and rude, Snowflake, then you're in the wrong place. Like I said, listening to the other musicians in your ensemble is what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.

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Why would you bump a three-year-old thread to be close-minded and rude? I can't believe anyone responded to you courteously.
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  #84  
Old 03-12-2018, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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If you think what I said was closed-minded and rude, Snowflake, then you're in the wrong place. Like I said, listening to the other musicians in your ensemble is what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.
You are very immature and I'm done speaking with you.
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  #85  
Old 03-12-2018, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Like I said, listening to the other musicians in your ensemble is what makes a live performance magic, and what separates great musicians from great technicians.
In your (and my) opinion anyway.

Some people like rigidity and perfect time over the interplay you're talking about. It can be a genre, player, or even just preference thing but not everyone is the same.

It's shades of gray, obviously. While one person likes the dirtiest noise punk they can find, the next might only appreciate computer generated musician-less all together music.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:00 PM
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  #86  
Old 03-12-2018, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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when someone uses a buzzword like "snowflake" that should tell you all you need to know about them

you are making the right choice
There's a lot of synergy in this statement.
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  #87  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Everything I'm doing now is to a click, normally with backtracks - usually all slammed together in AbletonLive. when we need to go off the backtrack for presses and fill-in/background stuff, another click without the backtrack gets started just to have it as a meter.

I have heard people for decades complain about the robotic-ness of playing to a click. If you're familiar with and practice to a click regularly, you can play ahead or behind the click to get that less-rigid feel you're looking for. It's just feel. To me, being able to play to a click is an essential piece of mastering our craft (extends to all musicians really). Required, no. I did many projects and gigs without, but I can definitely reflect back on the difference between then and now - and without a doubt say that the consistency and reliability of reproducing music as it's supposed to be played goes up exponentially when you use a click.

IEMs, over ears, iPod headphones...no matter (IEMs myself). Not restrictive...unless your pigtail doesn't reach whatever you're plugging into. For my current gigs, there is a plug in which gets me straight to the board. If I need it, I have my own Shure transmitter and pack-receiver (PSM-200?400?).

My .02.
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  #88  
Old 03-13-2018, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

You're right.

Now, in a jazz ensemble up to jazz band size and then up to big band size, everybody has to be playing at same tempo. If the tempo varies it's usually done on purpose. You can't have everyone scattered everywhere and a lot of accidental variation. The drummer is the focus and he or she's gotta know what to do with tempo, and the other players have to key off of the drummer. I saw a band last week a jazz band live. Three sets 10:30p-1:30a. No click tracks. All listening to each other and drummer. That's the way I like it and how I think it's supposed to be and what creates best sound and best performance.

One interesting observation: Click tracks are usually mentioned here in conjunction with backing tracks. I think that is a key to who uses click tracks. I've never been to a live performance that used backing tracks. That seems to be a modern development; fill in what we don't have on stage with recorded tracks of other instruments. Sorta defeats the purpose of a live performance and enjoying the music live musicians create together. Sorta like lip-synching. Not my cup of tea. Obviously, the music I like doesn't need or use backing tracks. Or click tracks. It may be a generational thing using backing tracks to add instrumentation and also using click tracks. Becomes a show more than a live performance. I want my music on stage all live 100% played by folks on stage. Others obviously don't. IMHO it's a devolution of music when you add backing tracks and clicks to a live performance. It's called "LIVE" for a reason. Guess I'll go and hear the music I want and play the music I want, and others will go hear an artificially-created sound or play with instruments that only exists as bits of digital data.

I'm glad I resurrected this thread (which I did quite by accident searching on a totally unrelated topic). It's an interesting display of what may be a generational gap and what genres different people enjoy and/or go watch on stage.

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
In your (and my) opinion anyway.

Some people like rigidity and perfect time over the interplay you're talking about. It can be a genre, player, or even just preference thing but not everyone is the same.

It's shades of gray, obviously. While one person likes the dirtiest noise punk they can find, the next might only appreciate computer generated musician-less all together music.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:54 PM
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  #89  
Old 03-13-2018, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

U2 to the Rolling Stones..... yeah.....which is my point.

Jazz at Birdland, NOLA Frenchman Street, Wynton Marsalis and JLCO...heck no. That's my music!


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a click would never be used in a jazz situation ... anyone who suggests so has obviously never played in that environment

and this myth that the drummer is the "focus" and the time keeper is pretty much the downfall of any drummer who believes it to be true

wee need to stop feeding this "we are the time keeper" nonsense to students ... and more importantly to each other ... it leads to a false sense of importance and authority

... and if you've been to a major live performance in the last 30 years I can almost guarantee that you have seen a performance using backing tracks or sequencers ... you just didn't know it

everyone from U2 to the Rolling Stones have been doing it for years ...

as a matter of fact there are probably less bands who don't use them than ones who do ...

it's mostly for added backing vocals ... synths sometimes ... whatever ... but they all use them ... and you would never know
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  #90  
Old 03-13-2018, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Originally Posted by Rattlin' Bones View Post
You're right.

Now, in a jazz ensemble up to jazz band size and then up to big band size, everybody has to be playing at same tempo. If the tempo varies it's usually done on purpose. You can't have everyone scattered everywhere and a lot of accidental variation. The drummer is the focus and he or she's gotta know what to do with tempo, and the other players have to key off of the drummer. I saw a band last week a jazz band live. Three sets 10:30p-1:30a. No click tracks. All listening to each other and drummer. That's the way I like it and how I think it's supposed to be and what creates best sound and best performance.

One interesting observation: Click tracks are usually mentioned here in conjunction with backing tracks. I think that is a key to who uses click tracks. I've never been to a live performance that used backing tracks. That seems to be a modern development; fill in what we don't have on stage with recorded tracks of other instruments. Sorta defeats the purpose of a live performance and enjoying the music live musicians create together. Sorta like lip-synching. Not my cup of tea. Obviously, the music I like doesn't need or use backing tracks. Or click tracks. It may be a generational thing using backing tracks to add instrumentation and also using click tracks. Becomes a show more than a live performance. I want my music on stage all live 100% played by folks on stage. Others obviously don't. IMHO it's a devolution of music when you add backing tracks and clicks to a live performance. It's called "LIVE" for a reason. Guess I'll go and hear the music I want and play the music I want, and others will go hear an artificially-created sound or play with instruments that only exists as bits of digital data.

I'm glad I resurrected this thread (which I did quite by accident searching on a totally unrelated topic). It's an interesting display of what may be a generational gap and what genres different people enjoy and/or go watch on stage.
Well, that's progress but I think still a bit reductive.

Personally, I have no problem playing or enjoying music performed with or without a click. It's all about context an the quality of the material and the competency of the players.

I don't think people play with backing tracks by preference, live performance is increasingly harder to make decent money in and it's just more cost effective to bring backing tracks then a horn section, back up singers, and percussion. Especially if you don't gig the show regularly and you can't keep players on retainer and don't have time to find and rehearse with these personnel every time you want to do your show.

Some people will just strip the arrangement down, others are unwilling to make the change for a variety of reasons.

Certainly not a generational thing; plenty of seasoned road warriors and 'legacy' acts are using clicks and/or backing tracks, but there's a difference between playing a large scale production that has a lot of moving parts and needs to run like clockwork and playing as a combo in a lounge.

Playing to a click doesn't necessarily preclude interplay or spontaneity either, although I'd agree that's usually the result in practice.
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  #91  
Old 03-14-2018, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Not quoting here but closing ones opinion to successful ventures and techniques that do and have worked for many decades just means you’re closed-minded. Not your cup of tea, fine. Don’t use a click. Don’t use back tracks. Those who are and putting on performances where they’re making money and achieving their dream will keep doing so regardless what or how ‘you’ feel.

I don’t (and personally never have) seen a jazz venture that utilized a click. How one hears music is as subjective as their taste for food. Ten different people listening to the same song probably have a niche or thing they focus in on and subjectively consider as the thing that makes it sound good; or the arrangement right; or what kind of tech their using (or not) in their in-ears. Again, your taste probably differes from others. Doesn’t make you any more right in your opinion.

The use of backtracks has nothing to do with a click. I practice to a click. The music we play week to week is set to a click. There happens to be backtracked pads and if an instrument is unable to play a service, that line inserted to cover. Again. Closed minded to tech is just that. How do you know that you’re not hearing a backtrack? Why are you so concerned about it anyways. Enjoy it. If youre not a fan of garlic but the spaghetti you are being served has it, do you aim to down the reataurant because that’s how they serve it?
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  #92  
Old 03-14-2018, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

How do I know at Birdland there is no backing track when I'm eating dinner listening to the Birdland House band? Really? You're asking that? Or Wynton? Really?

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Not quoting here but closing ones opinion to successful ventures and techniques that do and have worked for many decades just means youíre closed-minded. Not your cup of tea, fine. Donít use a click. Donít use back tracks. Those who are and putting on performances where theyíre making money and achieving their dream will keep doing so regardless what or how Ďyouí feel.

I donít (and personally never have) seen a jazz venture that utilized a click. How one hears music is as subjective as their taste for food. Ten different people listening to the same song probably have a niche or thing they focus in on and subjectively consider as the thing that makes it sound good; or the arrangement right; or what kind of tech their using (or not) in their in-ears. Again, your taste probably differes from others. Doesnít make you any more right in your opinion.

The use of backtracks has nothing to do with a click. I practice to a click. The music we play week to week is set to a click. There happens to be backtracked pads and if an instrument is unable to play a service, that line inserted to cover. Again. Closed minded to tech is just that. How do you know that youíre not hearing a backtrack? Why are you so concerned about it anyways. Enjoy it. If youre not a fan of garlic but the spaghetti you are being served has it, do you aim to down the reataurant because thatís how they serve it?
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  #93  
Old 03-14-2018, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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How do I know at Birdland there is no backing track when I'm eating dinner listening to the Birdland House band? Really? You're asking that? Or Wynton? Really?

What exactly is your problem? Why the troll?

Yes I am asking that. I donít know what that is and would love to learn but I donít understand your attitude?
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  #94  
Old 03-14-2018, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

You mean Wynton Marsalis?

Just said that jazz...

Oh forget it. Youíre not worth the time it takes to explain anything...
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  #95  
Old 03-14-2018, 03:34 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Yes just the musician I noted a few posts ago.



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You mean Wynton Marsalis?

Just said that jazz...

Oh forget it. Youíre not worth the time it takes to explain anything...
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  #96  
Old 03-14-2018, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I do all the time at my church. You have to lock in 100% 100% of the time or it can sound bad pretty quick out front. When people individually drift a bit (assuming everyone has the click in their ears) it comes out sounding like groove violations out front--usually with the drummer sounding bad (even if he/she is burying the click).

When just the drummer has the click and has to play "tempo police" it sounds awful, especially you the drummer since the audience's ears generally follow the melody. This is why I generally insist that everyone has the click or no one has a click.
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  #97  
Old 03-14-2018, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I'm the same way as bill. I detest situations where they want only me to have the click. All or none.
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  #98  
Old 03-14-2018, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

me solely with the click is all I've ever done ...

multiple tours
multiple plays and stage shows... off Broadway etc...

never had a problem and the band always sounded fantastic

it's truly all about the caliber of players surrounding you

everyone with the click sounds like mayhem to me ... everyone approaches metronomic time differently
... when I am the only one we all ride the wave together and it truly is like there is no click at all

I can honestly say doing all of those performances with a click ... from probably 2001 to present day ... hundreds of shows ...
I think I can recall only one issue and that was when we could not get the click to my feed and we had to ditch the samples for the evening ... thats it

I have an opening theatrical performance tonight where I'll be the only one with a click playing with an 18 piece band in a pit ... rehearsals have gone without a hitch ... we'll see how opening night goes tonight and how the weekend of shows goes as well

wish me luck :)
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Damn Tony, that would drive me crazy, but as you point out, I think you're playing with very high caliber guys who wouldn't need a click anyway. I've just run into too many times where I had to start ignoring the click in my ear because a guitar player didn't stay in time on his solo... If there's empty parts where you don't play, do you just give everyone time on the hats?

Your point about everyone approaching metronome time differently makes me think. I have had to have lots of discussions where I'm telling people they need to lean back a bit on the click to be with me cause it sounds a little rushed even though they're technically on click... Or opposite, whatever. There's also a feeling for me that since melodic playing is less "definite" in the time space string players or what have you can be a little more loose than a drummer who absolutely either hits something on time or doesn't as there's a definite "strike" of the surface.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:47 PM
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  #100  
Old 03-14-2018, 09:57 PM
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there are a few rubato type intros and outros in this current show that I do not play in ... the players just keep their own time there and I will count the rest of the musicians in to our entrance
Can you further explain that a little? Say if there's a guitar-only intro to a song and you want to play to a click they can't hear, you're basically just listening for the part to come to an end and then attempting to line up an accent click "1" to start with?... Does the guitar player need to be aware you're going to do that and basically give you some leeway at the end of the intro so you can line things up to the grid? Are you simply starting the click before you start so it's not running and it's more lined up right away?

That's another good example of what frustrates me. If only I hear the click and have to stop playing or come in later in a section/after intro invariably things don't stay on count.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Can you further explain that a little? Say if there's a guitar-only intro to a song and you want to play to a click they can't hear, you're basically just listening for the part to come to an end and then attempting to line up an accent click "1" to start with?... Does the guitar player need to be aware you're going to do that and basically give you some leeway at the end of the intro so you can line things up to the grid? Are you simply starting the click before you start so it's not running and it's more lined up right away?

That's another good example of what frustrates me. If only I hear the click and have to stop playing or come in later in a section/after intro invariably things don't stay on count.
I was referring to completely drumless instrumental portions of the show that may be under dialog or something where there is no time being kept ... when the time portions start I count the band in ... much more simple than it sounds I guess

if it were a rock type situation as you are describing I would simply give them time through it
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

Oh, I see... I thought you were describing some method of lining up something like I mentioned without giving time through it. Curiosity satisfied!
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Can you further explain that a little? Say if there's a guitar-only intro to a song and you want to play to a click they can't hear, you're basically just listening for the part to come to an end and then attempting to line up an accent click "1" to start with?... Does the guitar player need to be aware you're going to do that and basically give you some leeway at the end of the intro so you can line things up to the grid? Are you simply starting the click before you start so it's not running and it's more lined up right away?

That's another good example of what frustrates me. If only I hear the click and have to stop playing or come in later in a section/after intro invariably things don't stay on count.
Thatís why everyone needs to be on (usually). Having a click to the drummer only gets you only so far as the drummer has to control where ď1Ē is to the rest of the band if heís the only one who can hear it.

Provided everyone is listening, great programs like Ableton have lead in voices that actually take care of saying ďBridge, 2-3-4Ē or ďverseĒ etc...very handy. And right in time with the click. Like having a Music Director...
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:50 PM
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Thatís why everyone needs to be on (usually). Having a click to the drummer only gets you only so far as the drummer has to control where ď1Ē is to the rest of the band if heís the only one who can hear it.
Like Tony pointed out a few times... This really depends on having good players at your side who aren't going to get out of line. Even without counting or click, good musicians would all know where the "1" is as they play or the song wouldn't work.

With less than good musicians I think everyone hearing the click might be a better option. Lots of un-seasoned players aren't used to having to account for strict time when they play their lines and will try and pull you around when you can't be moved since you're clicked-in. This often ends up looking like a bad drummer situation instead of what it really is... Might be part of why I'm sensitive about it.
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  #105  
Old 03-15-2018, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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it's truly all about the caliber of players surrounding you
BAM !!



Some people just can't seem to do it.

I had a bass player who would honestly question the reliability of the click lol.
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  #106  
Old 03-15-2018, 02:55 AM
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Well, he's a bass player - sooooooo...
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Old 03-15-2018, 03:10 AM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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Like Tony pointed out a few times... This really depends on having good players at your side who aren't going to get out of line. Even without counting or click, good musicians would all know where the "1" is as they play or the song wouldn't work.

With less than good musicians I think everyone hearing the click might be a better option. Lots of un-seasoned players aren't used to having to account for strict time when they play their lines and will try and pull you around when you can't be moved since you're clicked-in. This often ends up looking like a bad drummer situation instead of what it really is... Might be part of why I'm sensitive about it.
I donít agree with that at all. Iím playing among fantastic professionals who all have extensive experience. Weíre still all on a click. As stated by others, the click isnít a crutch. Itís a guide. Sometimes we get Ďunseasonedí players in and it doesnít take long but they get used to the click as well. If your application doesnít call for its use (by you and your band members choice) than thatís where that ends. Many great musicians find the click foreign and canít/wonít play to one. Not because they canít play their instrument, they just canít play it in the regiment of time. You can make feel around the click - in almost every live application. Furthermore... Drums are the primary timekeeping instrument and if the other musicians canít follow then thatís on them - not the click.

The whole thing needs to work and through preparation, practice, and experience (using a click) the product is finitely perfected. I apologize if that is a little harsh but I have an idea of trying to create (recreate) music that is consistent. I donít have perfect pitch nor perfect time where I can just grab 142bpm out of thin air. How do you survive the studio without it? Itís one thing to have a jam session or a project where itís just from the seat of your pants but thatís not the end all. And certainly the use of a click is not a determination of the quality of the musician, thatís asinine.
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:20 AM
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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I think you both completely misinterpreted what I said because nothing you typed here is at all relevant to the point that Watso attempted to make by using me as a reference

maybe I should have been more clear ... that's on me
I wasnít interpreting your words Tony. Those are my thoughts on click and musicians.

Sometimes I wish we could just talk. The online experience is great and all but the ability to actually hear what we have to say sometimes gets lost in the keyboard and text.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

I've fill-in on a gig last year for a Frank Sinatra singer that was to a click/backing track (since a lot of Frank's songs have orchestra) so playing to a click can also happen in a jazz setting.

I've also done gigs where they prefer the drummer to play to a click on all songs even if there is no track playing ... I can push/pull the tempo with no problems playing to a click.
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Who has to play to a click or backing track live?

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You're right.

Now, in a jazz ensemble up to jazz band size and then up to big band size, everybody has to be playing at same tempo. If the tempo varies it's usually done on purpose. You can't have everyone scattered everywhere and a lot of accidental variation. The drummer is the focus and he or she's gotta know what to do with tempo, and the other players have to key off of the drummer. I saw a band last week a jazz band live. Three sets 10:30p-1:30a. No click tracks. All listening to each other and drummer. That's the way I like it and how I think it's supposed to be and what creates best sound and best performance.

One interesting observation: Click tracks are usually mentioned here in conjunction with backing tracks. I think that is a key to who uses click tracks. I've never been to a live performance that used backing tracks. That seems to be a modern development; fill in what we don't have on stage with recorded tracks of other instruments. Sorta defeats the purpose of a live performance and enjoying the music live musicians create together. Sorta like lip-synching. Not my cup of tea. Obviously, the music I like doesn't need or use backing tracks. Or click tracks. It may be a generational thing using backing tracks to add instrumentation and also using click tracks. Becomes a show more than a live performance. I want my music on stage all live 100% played by folks on stage. Others obviously don't. IMHO it's a devolution of music when you add backing tracks and clicks to a live performance. It's called "LIVE" for a reason. Guess I'll go and hear the music I want and play the music I want, and others will go hear an artificially-created sound or play with instruments that only exists as bits of digital data.

I'm glad I resurrected this thread (which I did quite by accident searching on a totally unrelated topic). It's an interesting display of what may be a generational gap and what genres different people enjoy and/or go watch on stage.
I think you're right, that the click became the norm with backing tracks, so everyone had to learn how to play to a drummer who was ignoring them in favor of the pounding click in his or her ear. But, the evolution doesn't stop there.

Players who went through the evolution to backing tracks realized that the band becomes damn tight via the click. You sound so much better playing most pop and rock styles with a click. It's a real game changer. So as the natural backlash of dropping the backing tracks occurs (as it is happening in a new party band that I am putting together), I am insisting the click is staying for the tightness in performances and rehearsals alike. I have all kinds of players joining, from jazz folk who haven't done this to wedding singers who are all over it. Funny thing is, guess who has the worse time and worse time-related habits? The jazz players. Sometimes it's like herding cats, ha ha.

Talking about clicks and jazz combos is silly, but for most other styles of non-improvised music it brings you to the next level. Even if a player hates the idea, I still recommend hopping into a wedding band or something for a season and learn to work with it. You'll learn all kinds of things about your own precious timing that will probably surprise you. I, too, thought I had good time, til I played to a click at gigs.

Last edited by Spreggy; 03-16-2018 at 08:20 PM.
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