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Trawl through YouTube and you will hear lots of annoying duets trying to perform some basic melodies on the Pan. Most them sound very empty because they choose the wrong combination of instruments for the type of booking. Ofcourse, this is a matter of opinion, but, 2 people performing with no backing tracks requires a tremendous amount of skill and if you were the client having a party or a wedding reception for 120 guests, would you really hire a duet? If you did hire a duet, what type of repertoire would you expect at your event? Try to get inside the client's head for a moment; how long could you cope with listening to a tenor and a single or double seconds performing on their own without backing tracks? They would need to be exceptional for most of us to part with our money. 

Now compare that to the trio option which includes a 5 note bass; or bass player simultaneously shaking a maracas. Suddenly there is an improvement in the sound with an extra component and your feet starts moving to the rhythm. The trio requires more space and cost more money to hire, but if you are the client and looking to impress your guests, which option are you likely to spend your money on?

In our band the focus is on creating music that clients will want to talk about and recommend to their friends. We use the trio as a minimum and place high importance on the bass component by using 2 custom made drums. It's more work, it takes up more space in the car, it takes longer to set up, etc, etc, but it adds an amazing dimension to the overall sound and our trio makes the audience dance. On some occasions the trio would include a drum kit and the drummer uses brushes to maintain the right balance; sometimes we use a conga player instead of a drummer. Tenor, Bass and congas has worked very successfully; again, the congas employ a similar approach to the drummer and blends in with the Pans. Have you ever tried any of these duet or trio combinations and which is your favourite? Or, do you use a quartet as the minimum requirement?

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I like this Aaron, I will be interested in your Backing tracks, preferable in a CD form.I wish I can find some Backing tracks in CD form, but I cant find it. My email address is blopez44@comcast.net

Aye, Bede , the amount of talented panists on this forum ( unfortunately not yours truly of course) aliyuh should be getting together and doing stuff.

This seems to be a good place where like minded panists could network.

I like it!

I sent an email, but for all others interested I wanted to give them the same information. You'll be able to purchase a copy of the book w/ CD track accompaniment from Hillbridge Music.  The book contains 20 ALL ORIGINAL tunes that I wrote and recorded with my band to create backing tracks.  We still have a few more recording sessions before it's completed.  I will let you know that I personally do not have distribution rights to any of my music - as it is going to be published by Hillbridge Music.  Their contract states that they are the distributor and I am legally not allowed to share it. 

 
As far as the music content, I'm not sure what you meant by "sentimental music" - but if you're talking about romantic ballads it contains 2 Boleros and 3 Bossa Novas that could fall into that category.  The rest of my tunes are Soca/Calypso, Reggae, Montuno, Afro-Cuban 6/8 and other Caribbean/Latin styles.
 
It's a long, hard process but in the end I hope to have a great product!  Once it's out I'm sure I'll release a few samples of the sounds so you can hear it before you purchase it.  
 
Hope this helps out!  

Where can I get some good Backing tracks in a CD form with sentimental music?, I cant find any good ones, I usually play by myself with a Call and Answer(respond) style on a Double tenor, but I would like to try the backing tracks. E-mail me at blopez44@comcast.net  I know a few people who has them but for some reason they will not burn me copies, If I had any and someone ask me to burn them a copy I will do it.thanks WST family

The question / topic has taken on a life of it's own.  I am still getting comfortable with my tracks, and never thought to make them available to anyone else... Maybe we should start a backing track thread specifically for this sort of networking.

 

In the meantime, I wanted to ask bigsands if you have read anything that actually helps you with ideas to market your combo more effectively here?  Frankly, if you have a tight combo, you should be able to convince clients to spend a little more to get you over a duo or solo act.  If they say "No", then it's better than finding yourself in a gig that you are too big for, especially transporting pans.

An interesting comment. We are not seeking help to market our band as we already have an extensive profile online and a large client base. We offer just 2 options to our clients and the live demo samples represents what they will hear at an event, so it's an easy decision. Personally I don't like backing tracks, as I was fascinated by the first one-man band that I saw busking in the underground. There was something unique about his energy and enthusiasm which connects immediately with an audience, compared to the soulless sound of the invisible big-band from the backing tracks. Audiences connect with music which has spontaneity. Here is a sample of our trio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ecTHZnHfs

You're totally right - demos need to represent the ACTUAL product that you're putting out there.  And yours is a top notch demo!  Can't agree more with the spontaneous nature of a live performance!  When I do play with backing tracks (as little as possible) I push myself to express myself in new ways each time and play different solos over every tune to try to continue to develop musically!  Really, it applies to playing with or without tracks.  Always push to the next level and you'll not only surprise yourself, but you'll simply get better.

Nice!  You have a full sound!  If someone hired a smaller compliment of musicians over your offering, don't treat it as a loss... you far surpass their expectations. (I did type in an edit... what I initially typed did not read as I intended).

I agree with you on the use of backing tracks, but they are necessary for me.  But in Saskatoon, I don't have a big community to work with, so I have to do my own thing, and be a guest performer with other bands when the inquiries come.

One day, you may hear backing tracks that seem to have a natural soul, even though it is scripted from begining to end... the key is not being too repetitive, while still holding the groove.

Thanks for the response and comments; it would be great to hear more views on the main subject. 

Corey, my style of playing is Call and response (Melody/Chord, Melody/Chord, Melody/Chord)) Here is one of them, Liebestraum.

 http://whensteeltalks.ning.com/video/liebestraum-franz-liszt-as-int...

 

 

I'd also like to point out that when I hire in other players, they usually hire me back a week or two later.  I have at least 4 groups I play with on a regular basis because we always hire each other back and forth.  So when you can avoid tracks, some times you will get more gigs out of the connections you make with other musicians.  It's a brotherhood! 

I like when people post proof of their talent(s); it provides the evidence that is needed to be considered credible. A lot of talkers on WST, but few post their talents, resumes, awards, diplomas, certificates,videos of their work, and their full identities. Some choose to hide behind a mask of a persona they assume on WST; while others display their truthful works, knowing they have nothing to hide. Thanks for not hiding behind a persona, Corey. Ghost. (And you all know me and my work. I do not hide.)

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