Bandhub, one of my favorite creative outlets, is closing down on March 15, 2019. I will lose the opportunity to make music and collaborate with so many talented people globally on this wonderful platform. This is very sad news for the Bandhub creators and the thousands of members who formed the online music collaboration community. We forged some very strong friendships and stretched our musical domains to new highs.
Since joining in February 2016, I have recorded more than 400 collaborations and enjoyed honing my trumpet skills in a unique way. Rising to the Bandhub challenge saw me highly motivated to practice during the breaks between gigs and rehearsals when, without the motivation, I would probably have let it slide. It saw me focus much more clearly on my note attack (who wants a recording full of split notes?) and accuracy (unlike recording in a studio, it isn’t possible to “drop-in” new notes to tidy-up mistakes). Playing something from beginning to end, without mistakes, suddenly became even more critical than ever.
I found myself being invited to collaborate with others to play music I’d never heard of before, even in styles I’d never bothered with previously. I still can’t believe I’ve played music by Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty (who I’d only ever known of from being mocked on The Family Guy). But more interestingly I was able to play all manner of rock, pop, funk, Motown, and jazz-influenced music that really ticked the boxes for me. Adding to it, I was able to initiate my own collaborations. This was my opportunity to record the music that I was longing to play for my own reasons.
I’m more comfortable playing from written charts than not, so I became highly adept at searching for charts online. But with a strike rate of only 50%, to play the other material I had to hone my listening and transcriptions skills to work out the parts that I was hearing, and then get them down onto paper. Sharing the outputs of that work with the world is the nature of this blog.
I’ve downloaded video and audio of all of my Bandhub work. It amounts to >400 songs and tunes, spanning 29 hours and 53GB on my PC. No wonder server storage costs became a problem for Bandhub!
Almost all of my blog posts here include a link to a Bandhub collab, so I will slowly work to upload the video of each onto YouTube and update the link in each blog post. This way I can maintain my goal of not only providing my transcribed charts but also a demonstration of how I played each one. It will take me some time to point all of the URLs to YouTube, so I apologize now for the likely broken links that will litter the blog for a while.
There are alternatives to Bandhub, and over the next little while, I will explore those. And there’s a whole Bandhub community of fantastic, talented people across the planet to play with. I’ll continue to collaborate with them to make music online, and for as long as I do that I’ll continue to transcribe music and share it here with trumpet community.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Farewell Bandhub, I will miss you!
This was very satisfying. I transcribed the horns, while my immensely talented friend Ynping expertly transcribed the strings. And now, despite substituting flugelhorns for French horns, and soprano sax for oboe, we have a transcription that very closely mirrors the original recording.
All that’s left for you to do is to find someone with immense vocal talents to sing it. Like I did!
“Reward” was a 1981 Top-10 UK pop hit for Liverpool post-punk/neo-psychedelic band The Teardrop Explodes. The song was a new discovery for me last week, 38 years after the fact, despite its supposed continued prominence in 1980s alternative pop compilations (according to Wikipedia). Notwithstanding its popularity, I couldn’t find any traces of a trumpet chart, piano sheet, or even a crappy MIDI file for the song anywhere on the internet. So I rolled my eyes, hunkered-down, and set-about learning another one by ear…
The original recording was difficult to decipher, with heavy doses of effects and keyboards all in the wash. Although, I’m confident that this transcription is a very solid representation of the notes that the English studio trumpet player (or players) belted out all of those years ago.
So, finally, the internet now has a trumpet chart for this song!
Trombonist Brendan Champion has made available an absolute treasure trove of free horn charts at http://freehorncharts.com/. I’ve played several of his charts, including The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, which he arranged for trumpet, trombone, baritone sax, and strings. Without most of those instruments at my disposal, I quickly knocked-up the trumpet solo in the bridge section to more closely align with what I could hear on the original recording.
There’s not much to it, but I thought I’d share in case it’s useful to someone. This can be played in conjunction with the rest of Brendan’s arrangement, with bar numbering kept consistent between the two.
I truly love the band Chicago, especially the progressive rock era of the 1960s and 1970s when Terry Kath was a dominant force. But I really cringe at much of their later “power ballad” work, where Peter Cetera was given far too much leash and unfortunately softened the band’s direction. Chicago’s epic horn section suddenly took a considerable back seat, and the band was seemingly no longer the powerhouse it had been before.
This song is from the dawn of those dark days, where the horns (trombone and flugel, I think) get a whole 8 (yes, eight) bars to play in the coda. I didn’t have the patience or interest to count all of those bars of rest, so instead, I’ve marked the rest in minutes and seconds.