Saxtalk Jazz Big Band Part 2: Building the Technology Infrastructure for the Band

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In my opinion, it is time for the big band to move into the 21st century. Paper charts should be obsolete. Each musician should have a small portable tablet that contains all of the band's music. Preferably, the tablet would be open source hardware, and would run an open source operating system such as GNU/Linux.

The tablet should be able to connect to a network to retrieve more information (i.e. more charts) in an instant. Each musician should have a large monitor that can connect to the tablet via a convergence dock. All of the technology to make this happen exists today, and it can all be driven by Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) such as GNU/Linux, Audacity, and MuseScore. Each musician would have a convenient page-turning pedal at his or her feet.

Each of the 19 members of the Saxtalk Jazz Big Band (or any band using this system) would sit in a custom-made station that has all of the technology required for the band to act as one tight unit. This picture below represents one musician's performance station, so the big band would have 19 of these stations in total.

Figure A: The Musician's Performance Station

As you can see above, each musician would have a large monitor to his or her left that would not block the audience from seeing the musician's face. Each musician could wear headphones that would allow him or her to monitor other parts of the band, or receive information from the band director. I forgot to put the page-turning pedal at the musician's foot in the picture above, but the pedal could be wired or wireless.  The large monitor could have a picture-in-picture mode, and a small window could show pre-recorded video of the pianist/music director acting as conductor for the current song. The video of the conductor would be perfectly in-sync with the music being played, and the video would automatically pause if the music was paused for some reason.

The band would have 19 musician members, and one technical director who has an extensive knowledge of computer software and hardware. Every position in the band would have a redundant partner, so the band's technical director would have one of the 19 musicians as an apprentice so that the technical apprentice musician could fulfill the technical director's duties if he or she is on leave or vacation.

Again, here is the overhead view of the whole 19-piece band in Figure B below. Imagine that each of the 19 performance stations in the picture below is as described in Figure A above.

Figure B: The Saxtalk Jazz Big Band Overhead View

If you have dreams to build something, I think that it is important for you to write it down in the kind of detail that I have presented above. Writing your dream down greatly increases the probability that it will one day come to life.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for reading this article.

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Piano Jazz Episodes - 1978

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