Bob Sneider: How to Play Guitar in a Big Band

Bob Sneider: How to Play Guitar in a Big Band

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Improvisation is at the heart of jazz, but knowing how to play stylistically correct in a large jazz ensemble is also a necessity. How to Play Guitar in a Big Band offers tips, suggestions, examples and a play along CD to help you put it all together.

Its aim is to prepare you for the real-life situations that you will encounter when playing in a big band. By using the charts and CD to learn the guitar parts for the sample pieces, you can practice playing through a sample chart as you would in a real live playing situation.

The book features eight sample pieces - two jazz standards and six originals – covering a range of jazz styles from Basie and Latin to ECM and contemporary jazz (the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bob Brookmeyer, etc.):

After You’ve Gone (Creamer & Layton)    Freddie Green style
Morning (Clare Fischer)                 Bossa Nova
Basie’s Blues (Jim Snidero)           Basie-style study in 4-note voicings
Burungkaka (trad.Indonesian arr. Dobbins)    Contemporary comping techniques
Joe’s Thing (Jim Snidero)             Classic minor blues
Strayhorn (Clare Fischer)              Single line study along with brass/saxes
Funk Unity (Peter O’Mara)            Study in 16th note funk rhythms
Rock On                                     Jazz-funk-rock

The book focuses on the guitar in its accompanying role in a big band and for each sample piece a typical guitar part is supplied, together with guidance notes and one or two pages of chord voicing diagrams (except for Strayhorn, which is single-line only) . Certain parts include single line sections where the guitar plays a solo line or is voiced with the brass or saxes, while others may include fully notated chords.

This informative guide to playing big band guitar features full-page fretboard diagrams with easier fingerings for players new to the style. Each of the eight tunes encourages you to focus on a different aspect of your playing. For example, the first tune demonstrates typical Freddie Green style comping, essential knowledge for this style of performance. As you progress through the book, you will learn how to play a more interactive role in big band performances, using extended chord voicings and advanced rhythmic concepts. By the end of the book you will be ready to apply these concepts to a wide variety of musical styles.

All the guitar parts are extracts from big band compositions published by Advance Music GmbH.

The accompanying CD includes two tracks per song. A listening version, where the volume level of the guitar is raised slightly so that it can be easily heard, as well as a play-along version in which the guitar is muted, ideal for use with you as soloist using headphones. The CD was recorded at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York in 2003 by an 18-piece band conducted by Dave Rivello which included Bob Sneider (guitar) and Bill Dobbins (piano).

Book/CD, 52 pages