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Piano/vox and drums duo?

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  • Piano/vox and drums duo?

    I've got a possible project being offered with a local pianist/ singer. We're envisioning a dinner crowd kind of set doing mostly sing-along `80s-esque tunes for "fun restaurants" for later dinner transitioning to party times.



    Looking at two hour sets, with minimalist drums - bass, snare, hats, ride, floor tom, and I'm playing with just brushes or rods. Volume is definitely low.



    There's a breath of improvisation I want to bring to this bad boy, as well, and I think the guy is on the same page so far.



    So I ask you... any of you guys do something like this before? We're not doing 3 sets from 9pm-1am kind of nights, just 2 sets over the dinner hour and be on the way home by 9pm latest. Fun places, free beer, people enjoying the music because they're buzzed...
    Music, music, I hear music

  • #2
    As long as he has a good enough left hand, it should be great sans bass. Good luck, man!

    Brian V.
    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell

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    • #3
      Never done that, since I primarily play guitar...but piano/drum duos are very common in jazz history. As MusicalSchizo said, if the keys player has a good left hand, it should sound just fine. And cutting it back to two people leaves a lot of room for improv. God luck and have fun.
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      • #4
        Good luck! sounds interesting... so make it interesting!



        This is similar to how Ostrich Hat started. An acoustic guitar and light percussion... Which grew into the semi-acoustic trio we are now!
        www.ostrichhat.com

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        • #5
          I did this three nights a week for a year and a half in 1969. Lots of fun, not to mention profitable. I subsequently went out on the road with a six-piece six nights a week and made less money!



          A couple of differences . . . we were more of a soul / rock band, so the volume was more cranked than what you're doing. More importantly, he was the primary vocalist, so I could concentrate on LH bass and comping. Not a lot of soloing.



          So it's really all on him. I'm sure you could groove whatever he can do, but can he cover all the other functions of a "band"? Has he done this sort of thing before? I guess it's mostly about him picking the right songs.

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          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by FitchFY
            View Post

            I've got a possible project being offered with a local pianist/ singer. We're envisioning a dinner crowd kind of set doing mostly sing-along `80s-esque tunes for "fun restaurants" for later dinner transitioning to party times.



            Looking at two hour sets, with minimalist drums - bass, snare, hats, ride, floor tom, and I'm playing with just brushes or rods. Volume is definitely low.



            There's a breath of improvisation I want to bring to this bad boy, as well, and I think the guy is on the same page so far.



            So I ask you... any of you guys do something like this before? We're not doing 3 sets from 9pm-1am kind of nights, just 2 sets over the dinner hour and be on the way home by 9pm latest. Fun places, free beer, people enjoying the music because they're buzzed...




            I did something somewhat similar a ways back- it was playing drums with a (very talented) singer/songwriter type doing mostly originals. (and single sets, not a whole night) He also switched from piano to acoustic guitar sometimes. I mixed it up a lot- sometimes playing with brushes, sometimes with bundle sticks, sometimes just a tambourine or even not playing at all. We mostly did smaller/quieter venues. It worked quite well, but naturally person fronting it needs to bring a lot to the table. And the drummer needs to really understand restraint.

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            • #7
              Fitch, I think it's a great idea. If the piano guy has experience playing unaccompanied solo gigs he could probably handle it. The piano-drums combo offers alot of freedom and opportunity for improv, no trainwrecks over the "notey" stuff too. I haven't done as many gigs like that as I would like (hard to get my solo piano venues to pay for an extra piece) but it was a treat when it happened. I'm looking to book some gigs like that too, doing pretty much any material a full band would do. Although for lower volume I would much prefer an electronic kit so he/she could gimme that good ol' boom-chuck- don't have much use for brushes etc. Hope to hear a sample of the project, if it works out!
              Gear: a room full of really LOUD plastic crap

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              • #8
                Thanks, guys! I appreciate all the insight and stories. I'm meeting with the gent next week to jam and have a few beers and make sure we get along and are on the same page as it seems. I'm a busy drummer, but this is easy money and honestly sounds kind of fun.



                Playing "Jessie's Girl" with brushes and a keyboard might end up pretty cool! Or... the aforementioned trainwreck. Hmmm....
                Music, music, I hear music

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                • #9






                  Quote Originally Posted by FitchFY
                  View Post

                  Playing "Jessie's Girl" with brushes and a keyboard might end up pretty cool! Or... the aforementioned trainwreck. Hmmm....




                  My bet is that it will sound pretty cool - albeit different than the typical "guitar-centric" approach you usually hear these days. If you can keep an open mind and judge the outcome on it's own merit (as opposed to judging it on how close it is to the typical "guitar-centric" sound...) - my guess is that you'll have a ball with this gig!
                  The SpaceNorman

                  www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
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                  Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
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                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceNorman
                    View Post

                    My bet is that it will sound pretty cool - albeit different than the typical "guitar-centric" approach you usually hear these days. If you can keep an open mind and judge the outcome on it's own merit (as opposed to judging it on how close it is to the typical "guitar-centric" sound...) - my guess is that you'll have a ball with this gig!




                    I agree. The audience will be hearing it this way. But as musicians, we can sometimes limit ourselves to "the way the record is". But honestly? The audience is going to respond to good music. They don't care about how the record sounds. They care about what works right now... right in front of them. And good music can happen on bongos and a banjo, a guitar and fiddle, and even a piano and drums. Listen to the record, then forget the record... and create something new that stands on its own.
                    Thomas Jefferson said... "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." hmmm...

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                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by FitchFY
                      View Post



                      Playing "Jessie's Girl" with brushes and a keyboard might end up pretty cool!




                      I think it will. Some of the fun I get out of my trio project is re-working tunes and how to tackle dance & rap tunes with just an acoustic guitar, bass and V-drums. Hell some of these songs in our set don't even have a guitar in them!



                      You definitely must post samples
                      www.ostrichhat.com

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                      • #12
                        You'd be amazed at what you don't need. I used to play at a club across the street from where a Jazz band with no drummer was gigging. You didn't miss the drummer. With a decent pianist, you won't miss the bassist. You might not even miss the drummer.

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                        • #13
                          Check out a band on youtube called Harry Bailey's Transport. They do alot of covers their way as well as write alot of original tunes. They both sing which really adds to it. And on top of that they both play in a band called the Funnies. They're based out of the Prophetstown IL area......

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