Saxophone Forum


by bodidR
(3 posts)
8 years ago

Jazz Band Sax seating

I thought I knew the answer to this, but through some recent discussions with several people have begun to question what I thought was set in stone. With 5 saxes (aattb) in a big band sax section, how are they seated (l-r)???

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  1. by Sax_Shark
    (134 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

    Haha...you're a bunch of small time NOOBS.... J/k but seriously, my jazz band has 14 saxes - 12 trumpets - and 7 beastie trombone players. we sit like this --- from the audience's view B T2 T2 T2 T2 T1 T1 T1 A1 A1 A1 A2 A2 A2 That bari player has learned how to support 13 other well playing saxes...lol... good friend of mine - plays basson and carinet in other bands too. Later

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    1. by Radjammin
      (255 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

      Um, time to start 2 Jazz Bands.... That's just stupid. Tell your lazy tenors and altos to play bari.

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    2. by JazzMan1234
      (8 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

      14 saxes and 12 trumpets is just stupid, there is no need for that many players in a section, you must have tons of people doubleing parts which is u nnecessary, seperating into two jazz bands would be much more logical

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      1. by Sax_Shark
        (134 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

        Oh man whatever! Why the crap would we do that if we could have that big of a sound? Right now we're working on a Stan Kenton piece called Malaguena, IT'S FREGGIN AWESOME! I can bet there are few High school level jazz bands that have this many people and get that Kenton sound. If we had less people then we wouldn't be able to do charts like this. Now before you go all historic on me, I know the original Malaguena had like 5 saxes in it - but they had all been playing for all or most of their lives. At a highschool level, this is the only way to get that true sound. And yes we get it. You said something about doubling on parts? Well all of our saxes could play any other sax part just fine - same with out trombones and with most of our trumpets - even then, the first/ second trumpet players are hitting the Maynard Ferguson notes of the song. No, we don't need to split in two, that's what would be illogical.

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        1. by Radjammin
          (255 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          your pep Band sounds like fun, you might need to add some Sosaphones and take it on the field. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 We do need to shout and score! Haha. In your defense, maybe they don't have the school staff to conduct 2 bands. I appricate the band teacher's effort. In real life if you had enough teachers you should have 2 Jazz Bands Orch I and II. You have the players to do that, I supect just not the teaching staff. Doing that would most benfit all the players. Lower players can play the lead part in the lower band and Higher players can try their chops on more high end stuff.

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        2. by Sax_Shark
          (134 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          Yeah, but the only problem with that is that the band is a JAZZ BAND!!!! We have a good size marching band too. And its not that we don't have the staff its that we don't have the time. The jazz band now comes into school at 7:30 in the morning - an hour earlier than everyone else in the school. And about your comment on the Orchestra I & II, the entire band is playing "high end stuff". So yeah, I told all my band friends about you and your responses and they said Shut up - bye now

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        3. by KingNecron
          (76 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          Don't get needlessly defensive. I am curious--do you have a recording of your mega-jazz band? If you could upload a digital recording of your band playing, say, "Malaguena," it would give all of us a good idea of what your band sounds like. Personally, I'd LOVE to hear what such a massive group sounds like. If you're all as good as you claim (and I'm not implying that you're not!), then you could have a really great, clean sound with lots of power. Otherwise, I'm afraid it might end up, as one person said (I think), as "mud." Then again, when I was in high school (all of those centuries ago) I would have KILLED to have that many people so committed to doing jazz band--we tried to get one started, but we never had enough players. Plenty of saxophones, of course, but we couldn't get enough trombone players, which actually plagued us this past semester in the jazz band at college.

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      2. by bigred
        (43 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

        sax shark do you have a bass sax too? because thats what 14 saxes in one band sond like. a huge dump. our band seats T2 T1 Clarinet* A1 A2 B :)

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        1. by Sax_Shark
          (134 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          True in many circumstances - but we're different. Apparantly its hard for everyone to believe but its true. No we don't have a bass sax and I don't know why we would, I just thought I'd answer your question.

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      3. by nad1rn
        (37 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

        my band has 7 saxes (aaattbb) but when we used to play w/ 5 it was set like this B T2 A1 A2 T1 I'm not sure how other people would do it.

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        1. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          thats how we did it back in high school, B T(1or2) A1 A2 T(1or2) but we added people, i think we had as many as 2 saxs per part at one time.

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      4. by Stiles B
        (101 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

        radjammin and peter090 have it right for those of us who prefer the traditional seating approach i.e Count Basie, Duke Ellington. Lining up the Bari w/ the Bass bone is logical as they usually play similiar lines. The lead or solo Tenor sits nearest the rhythm section so he can hear the changes while soloing and the lead alto is in the middle so the section can hear the lead best and so that he lines up with the lead trumpet as they often times play the same lines.

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      5. by GregLauer
        (37 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

        just becaue you have 14 saxes doesnt mean you can get a stan kenton sound........yes the more saxes the louder they can play........out of tune!!!!! im up for a jazz II if you have trouble finding music look harder. And just because its hard doesnt mean its good. in stead of playing on the hardest music avalible why not play music for the sake of making it really musical.

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        1. by Sax_Shark
          (134 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

          Yeah, and you're right. Except that we have tried the "easy stuff" and we get completely bored with it. We're not playing the hard stuff badly or out of tune - we're playing it very well. We are the only jazz band in our district that meets every day that early in the morning. B/c of this, we play the hard stuff musically. Granted, our selections aren't the hardest jazz charts in the world but they are on up there for a high school ensamble of any size. I wish all of you who think that our band is too big could just hear us. I think then you would be convinced.

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          1. by Radjammin
            (255 posts)

            8 years ago

            Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

            Why don't you just post a recording of your group, even better then that if you have a online video file. Then we can see for ourselves this jumbo jazz band.

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            1. by Sax_Shark
              (134 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

              I would love to....but we have little or no recording equipment (poor county school) but know that I would if I could.

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            2. by KingNecron
              (76 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

              Get a tape recorder.

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          2. by barisax999
            (400 posts)

            8 years ago

            Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

            i would never seat more than 5 saxes in a big band. then put the bari next to the rhythm section, then a tenor, the 2 altos, and the other tenor

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            1. by peter090
              (155 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

              Standard seating is (as you would see it from the audience) Tenor1 Alto2 Alto1 Tenor2 Bari Tenor1 next to the rhythm section.

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              1. by barisax999
                (400 posts)

                8 years ago

                Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                i prefer seating the bari next to the rhythm section because the bari needs to be able to get right in sync with the bass and drums and this makes it a little easier.

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                1. by Sax_Shark
                  (134 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  that's how I've always seen it - it makes the most sense too

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              2. by Radjammin
                (255 posts)

                8 years ago

                Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                Peter is right. Tenor1 beside Rhythmn. T1A2A1T2B 7 Friggen Saxes????? that's just silly. I guess if you want everyone to feel the Big Band Love

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                1. by saxjunkie89
                  (393 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  L to R from our perspective is T2 A2 A1 T1 B (opposite, from looking at the stage, is the reverse)

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                2. by saxjunkie89
                  (393 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  oh, that's what barisax99 said...

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                3. by The_┬žax
                  (147 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  (From L-R from the Audience) T2 T1 A1 A2 B or T2 T1 B A1 A2 These both work really well, and the second one even looks cool!

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                4. by Seano
                  (132 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  The strangest one I have seen is this T1 T2 A2 A1 Bari This was in a pro big band... the section was very good though. In our state jazz band we go (L- R) T2 A2 A1 T1 B

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                5. by Radjammin
                  (255 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  I am gonna say why I think it should be T1A2A1T2B, what we had in college. Well The idea I have to stand behind the most is putting T2 and A2 in the 2 and 4 seat. You really want to surround weaker player with the 3 tonal sounds. 2nd Tenor and 2nd Alto parts are hard enough, playing #11 and 13s on extended cords. You really need to put them near the lead parts (A1 and Bari) Now concerning the Bari Placement I susspect him being on the far right (opposite site of Rhythmn sec) is to line him with the Bass Trombone, a non-sax it tends to sare alot of soli/bass lines with. The lead Alto should allwys be in the center, as the leard horns of the band are in the center of the band(Trum1,Trombon1) Also it helps everyone hear the lead part in the sax sections. That only leaves the T1. He tends to be the most solo istrument in the sax section. Having him the closest to the Rhythmn section just makes since. Anyone wanta defend their band layout?

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                6. by Mlenox
                  (36 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  I think alot of it has to do with the band itself. If the Bari player can count and play I look to put them opposite the rhythm section. I think it gives the band a fuller sound. Then I may go B T1 A1 A2 T2 R. Sec. But honestly a lot depends on who is in my band. I dont think I have stuck with one set up from year to year. It funny reading what other guys do.

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                7. by Mlenox
                  (36 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  Damn typos. I meant it is FUN reading what other people do. Sorry, I am not laughing at anyone. Honestly

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                8. by GregLauer
                  (37 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  just becaue you have 14 saxes doesnt mean you can get a stan kenton sound........yes the more saxes the louder they can play........out of tune!!!!! im up for a jazz II if you have trouble finding music look harder. And just because its hard doesnt mean its good. in stead of playing on the hardest music avalible why not play music for the sake of making it really musical.

                  Reply To Post


                9. by kennyj
                  (24 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  As a long time performer in many big bands (or you could say old guy), there are very few standard seating set-ups. Ok - you're on stage, looking toward the audience. To your right will be stage-right, and to your left will be stage left. (you may think -so what?- but it is important to keep to the worldwide standard when asking left to right, or vice-versa) On stage right, the basic big band standard seating, as defined by the Count Basie Orchestra, Piano out front, Bass in the piano's crook, Drums next to bass, a little behind him. Then Tenor 1, with T-bone 3 behind, and Trumpet 4 behind him (all the basic jazz chairs by the rhythm section) Then Alto 2, with T-bone 2 behind, then Trumpet 2 behind that. Then Lead Alto, fronting Lead T-bone, fronting Lead Trumpet. Then Tenor 2, fronting T-bone 4, fronting Trumpet 3. Then Bari, with Bass-bone behind (then the sometimes trpt 5) Thats the basic setup. Some anomalies occur, such as the Kenton bari, tenor, alto, tenor, bari setup. But these are uncommon. ii-V-I kenny j
                  kennyj

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                10. by Radjammin
                  (255 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  5 trombones? So what do you do with the gig money? Pay everyones bus fair?

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                11. by Sax_Shark
                  (134 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  You're negativity is stunning

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                12. by Sax_Shark
                  (134 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  :) *Your stinkin letters - the only ones that should matter are A-G

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                13. by Radjammin
                  (255 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  You do realize most jazz band music is just duplicated parts right? Most of the time the Bari sax and the Bass trombone have the same part, Lead alto and Trumpet 2 same, Tenor 1 and Trombone 1 same. To have 5 Trombones, your not really adding anything to the band other then pure sound unless your writing your own stuff. Then you have to ask yourself is anyone tring to make a living. I don't gig for a living but I don't see how anyone could carring a band this big. That's all I was tring to point out.

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                14. by peter090
                  (155 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  I have to disagree with this. The idea that most jazz band music is duplicated parts is just plain wrong. Maybe if you are talking about bad stock dance band arranging but I don't think most people think of that "as most jazz band music" and at that point you might as well go down to a tenor band. The doubling you mention could be used as a rule of thumb for a tutti section writing but it would be the exception that proves the rule to find an entire chart written that way. I sure can't think of one and I've played a lot of big band charts.

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                15. by Radjammin
                  (255 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  Ok I know I was being general. I was generally saying that 4th Trombone while having a 5th Bone on the bass part wouldn't add much value to the band other then sear volume. I don't think anyone other then a local arranger would be writing unique parts for a 4 out of 5 trombone part. So yes, I was being general but to get the point accross that maybe they should trim the band so that everyone else can pay their rent. When doing voiceing, not saying I am a paid arranger but have a little skill, Cord voicing would be throughout the Brass Section and then through the Sax section. WIth 8 voiceings in the Brass Section you would defintaly be able to cover all the key notes, probaby doubling some in octives. It wouldn't be unheard of that the sax section would also be playing thouse same voiceings. Even if you were doing tuti sections in just the trombone sections, 4 trombones would be able to cover the 3, 7, the color tone, and the tonic or replacement tonic. What's the 4th trombone for out of 5? double the lead or something down an octive? Maybe you have a reason I am not thinking about. Maybe you just want to let the guy play? Everythings got a good reason I just don't know what it is.

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                16. by kennyj
                  (24 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  You certainly need to listen with more care. Sure, big money is not why I run an 18 piece repertoire jazz orchestra. I do it, and the band does it for the love, and the sound. (but we do get quite a few good pay jobs! -- with NO dance garbage tunes) Kenton charts barely ever have a duplicate part. Any Marty Paich arraingement will have no duplicate parts. The real Buddy Rich library, guess what, no duplicate parts. Pretty much the same for most quality libraries. I have 475 tunes in my book, and I know what is happening there............. ii-V-I kenny j
                  kennyj

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                17. by moonpioneer
                  (17 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  EVERY ONE LISTEN FIRST ALTO NEEDS TO LISTEN DOWN THE ALLEY NONE OF THIS SWITCHIING AROUND NONSENCE T 1 A2 A1 T2 B FOR ALL SAFETY TUNING AND ITNESIVE PURPOSES DO NOT CHANGE! AND NONE OF THIS 15 SAX NONSENCE HAVE A BACK BONE DO SOME AUDTIONS AND GET IT OVER WITH... ITS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE BAND,,,,

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                18. by gemster
                  (51 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  thats harsh, whats wrong with a big band? Our stage band has a sop, 5 altos, two tenors and two baris, 5 trumpets and a bone. And a piano, guitar, bass and kit. As well as flutes (its not a very conventional band) B B T2 T1 Tr1 Tr2 Tr3 Tr4 Tr5 TB S A5 A4 A2 A1 A3 F1 F2 F3 Thats how its set out when you see it on stage. Front row sitting and the back row standing generally. The sound is awsome. So if ya dont wanna do auditions, don't. xxx

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                19. by saxophone2001
                  (31 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  THAT IS SCREWED! How can you have 10 saxes, and ONE trombone! GET SOME OF THOSE ALTOS ON TROMBONE! THAT IS A SCREWED JAZZ BAND.

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                20. by saxophone2001
                  (31 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  THAT IS SCREWED! How can you have 10 saxes, and ONE trombone! GET SOME OF THOSE ALTOS ON TROMBONE! THAT IS A SCREWED JAZZ BAND.

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                21. by saxophone2001
                  (31 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  Ooops, I clicked that twice! ;)

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                22. by napas14
                  (24 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  Our Jazz band has 9 saxes (from audience) Bari, Tenor 2, Tenor 2, Tenor 1 Alto 2, Alto 2, Alto 2, Alto1, Alto 1

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                23. by mels
                  (13 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  I know how scary tuning gets during pep band when we combine the jazz bands and end up with 10 saxophones. I'm glad we don't play that way all the time. I could see it for a college or professional band, but not high school.

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                24. by Dark Eyes
                  (138 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  That's crazy! My senior year of high school we had eight saxes in our jazz 1 band. Keep in mind also that there were jazz 3 and jazz 2 bands. Jazz 1 was the top band :-). From left to right if you were looking at the band from the front it was Tenor 3, Tenor 2, Tenor 1(me!!), Alto 1, Alto 2, Alto 3, Bari 1, Bari 2. Crazy sax sections are a little overpowering, but we had a blast that year and we almost outnumbered the trombones and trumpets combined (9). Cheers, Dark Eyes (unloved thesis)

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                25. by KingNecron
                  (76 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  It's not biggie--you could just use the altos to double trombone parts.

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              3. by KingNecron
                (76 posts)

                8 years ago

                Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                When I played in the Left Bank at the University of South Carolina we had 2 altos, 2 tenors, and a bari player. From the audiences point of view, and from left to right, the order was as follows: Tenor 1, Alto 2, Alto 1, Tenor 2, Bari I was Tenor 2. : ) It was great sitting between the lead alto, especially when we had solis, because he kind of leads the section--we all listened to him for our articulation, etc., and sitting next to the bari player was fun because he was usually playing the beat, or whatever the rest of us didn't have. Fun times....

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                1. by brecker|turrentine
                  (11 posts)

                  8 years ago

                  Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                  T1, a2, a3, a1, T2, B wow, this disscuasion has to be one of the funniest things ive ever readm thanks for the laughs

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                  1. by Seano
                    (132 posts)

                    8 years ago

                    Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                    Well we tried something different in the state band this week - rhythm section - T2 (me :-]) T1 A1 A2 Bari We saw this setup in a professional big band in our New Zealand tour a couple of years ago, and thought we'd try it. We've noticed that the lines between tenors are alot tighter as we can hear each other more, while not comprising our listening to the lead alto. You may want to try this, it is quite effective Sean

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                    1. by Seano
                      (132 posts)

                      8 years ago

                      Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                      I apologise for double posting, but I agree that saxophone sections should NEVER have more than one saxophone on each part, for balances sake. If you have more, either kick them out or put them on the trombone parts (if you're short on trombones). Thats my opinion Sean

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                    2. by bodidR
                      (3 posts)

                      8 years ago

                      Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                      I originally posted the question, and haven't looked at answers for a couple of months. Interesting comments. Thanks for the information. sounds like there is a standard but with much deviation. And I agree, any more than 5 saxes is crazy, although I have done it recently, but I'm not sure I will ever again.

                      Reply To Post


                  2. by JazzIsLife
                    (3 posts)

                    8 years ago

                    Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                    It really just depends on your perference... Usually L to R it is... T1 A2 A1 T2 B However the A band at my school (i go to argueably the top music school in canada) ... is sometimes set up like: T1 A1 A2 T2 B if not the above.... I'm in the 3rd level big band and we are set up... T2 T1 A1 A2 B Really in the end the sound should be blended and in tune... so does sitting a difference of a few feet make a big difference... no

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                    1. by BigBandDrummer
                      (2 posts)

                      8 years ago

                      Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                      I'm a drummer and I've played for a long time in a number of working big bands. While there is certainly no reason that things can't be changed up for one reason or another, very rarely have I played in a big band that did not follow the standard sax section set up, give or take a horn or two. The first tenor is usually on the rhythm section side and the bari on the other end, with the altos in the middle and the second tenor net to the bari. I can't recall a time when I sat on the bari side of a band, and the vast majority of bands that I've seen follow the standard seating for the most part. I've mostly seen additional instrumentation like extra saxes or woodwinds, a tuba, or french horns worked in around this basic set up. Those giant sections are pretty excessive and heavy-handed (like James Last's band), but educators use them for pedagogical purposes.

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                      1. by Donnie The B
                        (282 posts)

                        7 years ago

                        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                        Wow there's a lot of responses to a simple line-up question. I agre with BBDrummer here as to what is usually done. I led what we called a big band/dance band, played tenor sax and sat by the drums and bass unless we were thrust into a cramped setting. As to making enough money, we had 14 pieces at the most with 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass and drums. Very seldom, we would get to add a piano, because the venue had one. We made a lot of gigs with 4 saxes and 2 trombones. If the guy can pay $500 max. you can't bring an army. Incidently, we started out with stock stage band music and the lead alto part did not mirror the trumpet 1 part, nor did the tenor part mirror any trombone part. We built our book up to about 250 arrangements and got a nice full sound with 12-14 pieces. But I guess the larger band in school had a bit fuller sound with 17 people. It's nice that these schools want to include all those who want to play - but who takes the sax solos when 3 guys have the same part? Later.

                        Reply To Post


                      2. by Donnie The B
                        (282 posts)

                        7 years ago

                        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                        Wow there's a lot of responses to a simple line-up question. I agre with BBDrummer here as to what is usually done. I led what we called a big band/dance band, played tenor sax and sat by the drums and bass unless we were thrust into a cramped setting. As to making enough money, we had 14 pieces at the most with 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass and drums. Very seldom, we would get to add a piano, because the venue had one. We made a lot of gigs with 4 saxes and 2 trombones. If the guy can pay $500 max. you can't bring an army. Incidently, we started out with stock stage band music and the lead alto part did not mirror the trumpet 1 part, nor did the tenor part mirror any trombone part. We built our book up to about 250 arrangements and got a nice full sound with 12-14 pieces. But I guess the larger band in school had a bit fuller sound with 17 people. It's nice that these schools want to include all those who want to play - but who takes the sax solos when 3 guys have the same part? Later.

                        Reply To Post


                      3. by Donnie The B
                        (282 posts)

                        7 years ago

                        Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                        Wow there's a lot of responses to a simple line-up question. I agre with BBDrummer here as to what is usually done. I led what we called a big band/dance band, played tenor sax and sat by the drums and bass unless we were thrust into a cramped setting. As to making enough money, we had 14 pieces at the most with 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass and drums. Very seldom, we would get to add a piano, because the venue had one. We made a lot of gigs with 4 saxes and 2 trombones. If the guy can pay $500 max. you can't bring an army. Incidently, we started out with stock stage band music and the lead alto part did not mirror the trumpet 1 part, nor did the tenor part mirror any trombone part. We built our book up to about 250 arrangements and got a nice full sound with 12-14 pieces. But I guess the larger band in school had a bit fuller sound with 17 people. It's nice that these schools want to include all those who want to play - but who takes the sax solos when 3 guys have the same part? Later.

                        Reply To Post


                        1. by Donnie The B
                          (282 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          Moderator- could you please delete a couple of the extra posts here. Sorry - don't know how this happened.

                          Reply To Post


                        2. by Christian Anderson
                          (73 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          My band has 7 saxes but we switch out so there's only 5 per song, unless there's extra flute/clarinet/sop parts. we sit: T1 A2 A1 T2 B

                          Reply To Post


                        3. by Scrythe
                          (22 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          My band also had 9 saxes, but for something like district or state we cut down to five on a part. What our audience sees: Trumpet 2 Tp1 Tp3 Tp4 Trombone2 Trb1 Trb3 Trb4 Tenor 1 Alto 2 Alto 1 Tenor 2 Bari

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                        4. by saxychick
                          (16 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          Tenor 1 Alto 2 Alto 1 Tenor 2 Bari thats the way to seat saxes

                          Reply To Post


                        5. by Seano
                          (132 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          How come you have the alto 1 next to the tenor 2? IMO Tenor 1 and Alto1 should be together..

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                        6. by BigBandDrummer
                          (2 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          The 1st alto is placed in the middle of the section. In section writing it generally has the lead voice, so placing it centrally allows the rest of the section to hear it and blend accordingly. This magnifies the importance of the lead alto players influence where phrasing and intonation are concerned. The lead tenor ends up doubling melodies a lot, of course - especially in stock charts. A lot of the time this is a matter of adding span or weight to a line when the section is blended with trumpets or trombones. I never really specifically nailed the concept of having the 1st tenor and the bari on the ends, but it always seemed intuitively right. When I think about it a little, I would say that with the important roles that both tend to play in locating the harmony and melody for the listener's ear in conventional writing, it makes sense that they're on the ends, giving a definite sense of direction to their sounds. The inner parts are there for a blended sound and they are positioned so that their sounds reach the ear from directions intermixed with the others. The part of which I'm most certain is the location of the lead alto.

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                        7. by Sax Mom
                          (964 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          As may be obvious from this thread, there really is no one right way to seat the saxes in Jazz band. One could come up with logical explanations for any arrangement, even with the bari in the middle to allow for a good solid base upon which the rest can stand! Whatever works best for the group, and for the director to get the sound he/she desires for the band is good. It's really interesting to mix it up, after you've learned a piece. It's amazing what's there, that you hadn't caught before, just because it now comes from a different direction. I once listened to a recording of a "strange" modern piece we'd done in concert band. Having only heard it from within the band, facing the audience, it had a completely different feel with the earphones directing the sound in the opposite direction.

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                        8. by JaZzer
                          (25 posts)

                          7 years ago

                          Re: Jazz Band Sax seating

                          I do believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions. To start off, some standards of sax seating were established over half a century ago. I do still believe that the seating should be: T1 A2 A1 T2 B. Back then, due to lack of microphones, the soloist had to be closer to the rhythm section so that they could hear the changes (hence T1's position). The lead alto's position is justified by the seating of the other lead players, as well as the bari's position with the bass trombone. Many times, the lead alto and lead trumpet may have unison parts, same with the bari and bass trombone. That's just support of my opinion. Of course, since today we have microphones and electronics, the seating may not neccessarily set in stone, but it's still a good one to fall back on. Personally, I still believe it's THE seating to use, as it allows the players to hear others better, and thus go about matching and blending. Of course my opinion can be refuted, but that is just how I logically view sax seating. As for "mixing it up", that's a good idea for a rehearsal. Players are used to hearing what's around them, by switching them around, they can hear other parts and thus realize what else is going on while they're playing. Hopefully they may catch that their half notes aren't the melody and back off a bit, since that's a common problem with bands today. The idea behind that is balance. As for these "jumbo" sax sections, that's like what the tritone was in the middle ages. Stay away from that, if a sax section needs 14 players to get a "full sound" then the capabilities of each individual player is highly questionable. That's the equivilant of a marching sitting in a bunch of chairs and calling themselves a jazz band. It IS possible for a high school band to get a full sound w/out so many players, it's called practice. Having so many saxes is just crippling to an individuals musical growth, as I'm sure that many of them "hide" behind the other players if something is too difficult. I've played Kenton's arrangement of Malaguena before, and I highly doubt the 16th's in the beginning are coming out clean, if anything at all. Muddy would be the best way to define it. I'm not saying I'm not doubting the ability of the group like others said, I AM doubting it, and the only means of refuting my belief would be proof by audio. A lot of problems in the band would be eaten up by so many players, and of course the sound will be big with so many. I still bet a pro trumpet player can drown out the band though, since loud doesn't neccessarily mean quality of sound. That's just my two cents. "You get good at what you practice."

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