Blog #3: Young Women's Jazz Workshops 2012
Hi readers, this week is repertoire week here at the Young Women in Jazz Blog! This means I’ll be discussing a little about the tunes we’ll be playing at the upcoming concert and there will also be a short Q&A with Zoe Hauptmann about her experiences tutoring in the Workshops.
In every group of girls, there are set tunes for everyone to learn. Throughout the 8 week course the aim is to work towards playing, soloing over and forming arrangements of these tracks. Each instrumental group is playing 3-4 songs this year, with repertoire choice designed to challenge different aspects of playing. Each vocalist is singing a song each, with band accompaniment (made up of Zoe Hauptmann, myself and Zela our piano player).
So, in my group this year we have 2 broad categories for our tunes. Standards and Modern Jazz. The 2 standards we are working on are 'In a Sentimental Mood' (by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills and Manny Kurtz) and 'Voyage' (Kenny Barron). The two Modern tunes are 'Whip the Mule' (John Schofield) and 'A Searching Spiri't (Robin Eubanks).
'In a Sentimental Mood' is perhaps one of the most famous jazz ballads, composed in 1935 and is obviously still widely popular today. For inspiration we listened to 2 arrangements to see how the melody was interpreted and the different approaches that could be applied to arranging this beautiful song.
- 'In a Sentimental Mood' Coltrane / Ellington (my personal favourite)
'Voyage' is a bright swing with lots of energy and intensity, most famously played by Stan Getz and Kenny Barron. We are playing quite a different arrangement from the link below, but nonetheless it is worth listening to!
'Whip the Mule' is probably the most fun to play of all the pieces, with a fantastic groove that you can really get in to. Our arrangement includes a ‘phat’ bari sax in full force, and plays off a New Orleans inspired, front line feeling.
- John Scofield's 'Whip the Mule', from the album Hand Jive
Finally the other tune we’ll be playing is 'A Searching Spirit', which I find the most challenging. The groove is in a straight (as opposed to swung) 5/4 feel, of which I have had little exposure. And I’m one of the members that will be taking a solo! I was a little overwhelmed at first. Unfortunately I can’t provide a link, as when I tried to find it online all I got was how to awake your spirituality and achieve enlightenment! Anyway, it’s well worth checking out and can be found on the Dave Holland Quintet Album, Prime Directive (ECM).
And now for a quick chat with Zoe Hauptmann...
Holly (me): Hi Zoe, thanks for taking the time to answer my quick q’s. Firstly I was wondering, what keeps you coming back as a tutor for the workshops?
Zoe: Firstly it's really fun!! I also find it wonderful to hang out and play music with an all female band. Like most female muso's , I'm usually the only girl in the band and the dynamic in an all female group is very special which I rarely get to experience outside the course.
H: How did you first get involved with the course?
Z: Sandy Evans called me and asked if I'd be interested in tutoring. It was quite a few years ago, I was 25 or 26 and at that stage Cathy Harley was still involved. Alex Silver who now runs the course was a student!
H: What was the rationale behind your selection of repertoire?
Z: I always pick music I like with the hope that the people in my group will like it too! I want the music i choose to be challenging for the band without being overwhelming. I think it's really important to have a couple of standards in the repertoire because tradition is very important in jazz. Usually I include a tune from an Australian composer although I haven't this year. Instead I included a couple of more modern tunes I transcribed whilst at Jazz school. They both have really interesting grooves which I guess I'm drawn to as a bass player.
H: Have you got any advice for any young women interested in pursuing a career in jazz?
Z: The best thing you can do is listen to it, jazz that is. It's that simple, going to see as much live music as possible and finding records you love and wearing them out. Transcribe!!!
H: Thanks so much Zoe and see you on Saturday ;)
Thank you again readers... until next time,