How do you organize your Music?

Tips and techniques of the trade

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Lawrence
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#16 Post by Lawrence » Wed Apr 23, 2003 11:13 am

Ron wrote:What are examples of "Groove" bigger bands, vs groove?
Gene Harris' "Don't Get around Much Anymore" vs. Gene Harris' "Uptown Sop," respectively. :D

Seriously, I do agree that Groove Big Band and Groove mid/small band is a legitimate distinction. Contrast most of Ray Brown's work with, say, the City Rhythm Orchestra from Philly that Greg found or Basie late Big Band stuff off Pablo. Both have that deep, rich "groove swing" rhythm, but they have different enough "feelings" to warrant a distinction.
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#17 Post by Roy » Wed Apr 23, 2003 1:11 pm

Greg Avakian wrote:'Commercial' Swing -all the songs you love to hate; like "In the mood" by GM, although I would a lot of stuff I don't like (but that might be requested)
That's funny, I leave that junk in my "will never play" binder and leave it at home. When it is requested i honestly say I left it at home for I won't feel obliged to play it.

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#18 Post by Greg Avakian » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:30 pm

Ron wrote:Greg-
What are examples of "Groove" bigger bands, vs groove?
The Gene Harris is a good example both as well as later day Basie.

Add Shirley Scott (Oliver Nelson is a badass arranger) and Ray Charles -which I think are slightly broader examples of big band groove- vs. Jumior Mance, Monty Alexander, Ray B., Oscar Peterson, etc. I also think in terms of songs rather than whole albums so there's some Woody Herman or Harry James that I would consider pretty groove-esque. I think the biggest cross-over in my list would be 'bigband groove' and 'big band blues' since so much groove has a good bluesy feeling.

BTW, I start thinking of a bigger band at about 8+ members, so I wonder how that would change other people's impressions?
====

If I lived in Chicago I wouldn't worry about requests either. :)

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Organization

#19 Post by Boogie Woogie King » Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:51 am

Luckily I am blessed with the ability to remember the speed of a song, the general track number, who did what, and so on....My organization consists of a spreadsheet printout of all of my music (new music is written down on lined paper and insterted in the correct placement in the book.) I alphabetize by Last name first, album title, and track number. I rarely use the book unless it is a brand new cd and I need to know what song is where, etc....
The only difficult part is remembering which Duke Ellington song is located on which cd ( I have close to 300 Ellington songs, so you can see why this is a problem). It would be nice to one day put them all on a laptop so I don't have to carry around 30 pound folders anymore.

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#20 Post by SpuzBal » Fri Apr 25, 2003 2:17 am

My music is organized almost completely haphazardly with no consideration paid to any factor that might make locating things easier. Some stuff is in a giant binder. Other stuff is in small binders. Yet other stuff is still in the original cases.

In other words, thank God for the fact that I have a good memory, heh.
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#21 Post by morte100 » Sat Apr 26, 2003 10:14 am

This has been tremendously instructive. I'm glad to know that so many of you out there are willing to share your knowledge with the less-experienced.

I think what I mostly need to do now is distill the number of song classifications that I have down to several essential categories. A few of you (Ron, Roy, Greg, etc) listed the categories you use. Anyone else out there use such categories? _david

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Lawrence
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#22 Post by Lawrence » Sat Apr 26, 2003 1:47 pm

Greg Avakian wrote:BTW, I start thinking of a bigger band at about 8+ members, so I wonder how that would change other people's impressions?
Generally, I consider "Big Band" to refer to when several sets of multiple instruments of the same kind play in unison, which really is not possible until you reach the 8-member threshold.

It also depends on whether the arrangement "uses" the different instrument groups to create contrasting sounds (call and response, etc.), or whether they all just play in unison for a widely-known, standard melody and then branch off into solos without using the big band as a group. Big Band arrangements require charts for each musician, whereas a big band (small "b"s) of many instruments just playing together on the melody and soloing thereafter does not require a chart.
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Lawrence
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#23 Post by Lawrence » Sat Apr 26, 2003 2:20 pm

morte100 wrote:I think what I mostly need to do now is distill the number of song classifications that I have down to several essential categories. A few of you (Ron, Roy, Greg, etc) listed the categories you use. Anyone else out there use such categories? _david
If only out of habit (but also because of volume), Basie and Ellington are at the front of the book, no matter the genre or size of the band in the recording. Then I try to burn compilations by musician--or by genre if I don't have enough of any given musician (each CD-R compilation cherry-picks the best stuff from 5-7 CDs, so I need that many to fill it). I also try to organize by slowest to fastest on each CD (if I have the time while burning). I then loosely organize by genre as follows:

Swing Era Big Band
Hi-Fi Big Band
Mainstream Jazz (Small group swing)
Male Singer-fronted jazz (including Sinatra, Nat King Cole...)
Female Singer-Fronted Jazz (Ella, Carmen McRae...)
Groove Swing
Jump Blues
Blues (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Snooky Pryor; not "slow dances," which are mixed in throughout)
Neo Swing
Westie
Hip-Hop/Rap/Funk

I suspect that the method you use would depend on how large your DJ book is and how you burn your compilations: by artist, by genre, or just randomly. Larger collections call for more fine-tuned distinctions.

Also, I would probably have more genres if I didn't need to organize by CD: say, if I had everything on a computer with a database allowing for easy shuffling.
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#24 Post by shortyjul » Sun Apr 27, 2003 12:33 pm

I have an interesting system. I don't organize. I have a quasi-digital memory, so I always remember what songs (and bpm range) are on what cd's. I carry around 200-300 cd's with me to DJ and I just stick them in where there's room. This is fun for me to browse this way. I don't DJ off of compilations. I sort of graze through my cd's and remember what I have and get inspired by turning the pages. I am also quite adept at pulling out a random cd and cueing a song with 2 seconds to spare. It freaks people out, but it works for me. If I am DJing a comp, I tend to put a little more thought into it than that, but it still weirds people out that I can just sort of hone in on my book and find what I need in a matter of seconds. This "system" (organized chaos) also helps me keep from playing things too frequently. When cueing, I tend to take 20 extra seconds to review all the songs on a disk to see if anything strikes me.

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#25 Post by Mr Awesomer » Sun Apr 27, 2003 11:58 pm

Seems you can tell a lot about a person by the way they organize their music. Interesting stuff.
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Greg Avakian
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#26 Post by Greg Avakian » Mon Apr 28, 2003 7:00 am

shortyjul wrote:I sort of graze through my cd's and remember what I have and get inspired by turning the pages.
That's funny, unlike you I have no memory at all and I definitely graze just hoping that an album cover will remind me of something I like. That will be a major downside to DJing with a computer. Musicmatch has a really nice feature that associates the album cover with a song, so I think I will end up using MM as my music organizer on the laptop.

The latest version of Musicmatch lets you create new genres too, so that's nice since I like to genrefy by song rather than CD.

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#27 Post by PhilShapiro » Mon Apr 28, 2003 10:42 am

I DJ off of CDs and my mp3 player.

My CDs are somewhat "organized" by artist, but I often pull out both the liner notes and CD while DJ'ing and put the CD back in somewhere else. Sometimes when I'm scanning through the book I pick out stuff I want to play and just put it down on the table. Since I keep the original liner notes in my CD book it's not too hard to find what I need.

On my mp3 player I have a few groups:

Swing Albums (swing-era or swing-era-like)
Swing Misc (same kind of music, organized by artist, for one or two tracks per artist)
Jazz Albums (bop, post-bop, "groove", small groups jazz)
Jazz Misc
Jazz Vocals
Blues
Jump Blues
Count Basie
Ella
Oscar Peterson
Pop/Dance/Misc (I guess this is my "westie" group :) )
Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B

Someday I plan to re-org this a bit, the hardest part is trying to find a Vocalist and not remembering if I put it in "blues" or "jazz vocals". Since the mp3 player supports linking a track or CD to more than one group I could also put it in both..

I don't do it often, but when I DJ entirely off of the mp3 player I take my laptop with me, which has an entire playlist and some lo-fi mp3s for reviewing purposes.

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#28 Post by KevinSchaper » Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:26 pm

I recently added one categorization split - I'm using basically 3 lunchboxes which hold a little less than a hundred CD sleeves each, and I'm using one of the 3 for just swing era stuff.

I'm happy with it. It gives harder to remember swing era artists a little more of a chance to get noticed..

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#29 Post by Mike » Thu May 01, 2003 9:58 am

I just recently finished reorganizing my entire CD collection in strict autobiographical order; that is, the order I personally bought them in over the last eight years.


Just kidding.


Seriously, I do what some before had mentioned, Alphabetical by last name. I keep other genres (Funk, Christmas, Other) separately at the end, and for collaborations between two people I file under the artist who is a bigger name in my mind. Alex is trying to get me to sort by who is listed first on the album, but that's just as subjective, I think. I keep all my cd's in sleeves from http://www.univenture.com , a little pricey but slim and durable, and they make reorganizing really easy.

In unrelated news, my desert island, all-time top-five most memorable jazz musician nicknames:

5. Chu
4. Fathead
3. Chubby
2. Mezz
1. Peanuts

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#30 Post by LindyChef » Thu May 01, 2003 3:50 pm

I've got a set of burned CD's with what I consider the best of my music, the organized alphabetically by the following:

Genre (Big Band, Charleston, etc)
Artist
Track

And I write in some notes on lenth, BPM, style and anything I want to remember about the music ...

The best thing about it is that even if I accidently cue up the wrong song, it's still a good one.

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