Musician(s ) Wanted
Bass, Drums, Keyboard
Looking for Drummer (or Percussionist): must know basic Funk beat; familiarity with Jazz styles or at least Jazzy Philosophy would be greatly helpful. Not at all required but certainly useful would be familiarity with ideas such as Son Montuno, 3/2 Clave, Smooth Jazz, Soul Jazz (and Boogaloo), that kind of thing. To be honest, we like to hear someone play the drums (along with the song, of course), not just beat on them and smash the cymbals. What really sets you apart from the crowd is the ability to strip the action down and minimize the ‘notes’ while actively implying the rhythmic structures.
Looking for Bassist: Soul licks, R&B, that kind of thing. We like a Bassist who can walk a bass-line intermittently during the song, too (to change up the feel and texture). Bass and Drums are probably the most important players in our band.
Keyboard (Piano, Rhodes, Organ): here’s where it gets squirrely. For most of the song, the keyboard would be laying back with a hip but understated rhythm groove (think subtle pocket). Just quiet little chord bursts, very sparse, but rhythmically important. Like any Soul or Funk groove. Jazzy; understated. So you don’t need to know any technique for this…just note clusters with a rhythmic impulse. (not too heavy).
But now the sophisticated part: every song will have zones where you break out into extemporaneous romps. This is your zone and it would be good to have good streaming ability; well-honed chops and chromaticisms and arpeggios, etc. You don’t have to, of course; good dexterity with a blues scale should suffice. But it is 360 degrees different from the jazzy comping mode while you’re in the pocket.
So the reason I mention this is because a lot of really good pianists are accustomed to ‘holding down the tune’ and banging out the harmonic structure the whole way through (show tunes and choral support pianists and church choir rehearsals and that kind of thing require this kind of solidity on the keys.) Nothing could be further from what we want. And this has turned into one of the greatest embarrassments at auditions: really great pianists who aren’t what we’re looking for. It truly needs to be just like I’ve described (above) or it won’t work out.
It seems like it must be hard for a pianist to not play the chord progression of a song (because, I suppose, when she/he practices at home, he/she enjoys playing the harmonic structure throughout. Very Brahms.). But in our case, so much is artistically implied, rather than exposed right up front. It would be like taking the Brahms out of it and finding just which cluster of notes can imply the color and extensions, without the roots or 5ths (unless we’re playing modally, which we do; and then you might omit the 3rds)(or sometimes you’ll go Quartal, etc.) and hardly any downbeats (because all that’s covered by the Bassist and the Drums). So I’ve gone to extra trouble to explain things in the description. If you want to try it, let me know, we know enough theory to communicate with each other until we get there with it.
I might add, just in trying to be helpful, that unless you’re already an expert at what I’m talking about, you probably can’t just go to your piano and polish up on it before you meet us. It really does Emerge from the Song Organically and you just have to play with us at practice to develop the best pocket for each song. Some things are just that way…
Please don’t think we’re hard to get along with: we are the nicest, most cordial folks you could ever hope to meet. It’s just that experience has taught us what works (and unfortunately what doesn’t). We’ve discovered that a lot of people are extremely enthusiastic about playing, but somehow limited in their ability to embrace a concept; our sound is built around our concept. And it’s just long experience that lends itself to describing all this as we have.
Speaking of what works and what doesn’t: whatever habits and vices you might have, please be clean, decent and respectable (and sober) at the shows and during practice.
Also, once you’re one of us, we are building our public performance around your contribution to the whole. You have to make the show (or else you’re not there, and if we build our sound around you being there but you’re not, then it’s the same as not having you) or you’re not really one of us. And if you only make the show and never make practice and you mess us up at the show, then we can’t really count on you as a professional. Besides, we will also feel cheated because we figure you only wanted to use us for the money and didn’t really care about us as human beings. This is a Soul band, you have to have one to be in it. These are just basics that likely go without saying.