Managing a Band (Or Three!)
As if performing in three bands on a regular basis wasn’t enough, Jean Kittrell also worked hard organizing gigs, creating set lists, and communicating stage layouts from her groups to the venues at which they performed. Take a behind-the-scenes look at Jean’s planning for this St. Louis Rivermen concert from 1994.
Get Ready: Stage Layout
Before the band can even set foot on stage, they need to make sure it’s set up correctly. Jean designed this stage layout diagram for the St. Louis Rivermen to accommodate all the band’s needs, including a variety of seating options. She hand-drew the microphone and monitor layout toward the bottom of the page, as well as several others for the various iterations of the Jazz Incredibles and Old St. Louis Levee Band. In order to make an effective stage layout plan, musicians like Jean would need to consider proximity, the angle of the piano, and possibilities for sharing microphones when resources are limited, all in order to make sure the musicians feel comfortable on stage and have the best possible performance.
Get Set: Set List
Despite all the planning, jazz is at its heart a free-form, organic genre of music with group and solo improvisation. As you can see here, Jean has definitely thought this through in creating the set list for this performance, leaving room for audience requests as well as flexibility for the band members to choose their own pieces. Because each performance is also unique, having options ahead of time helps make for a smoother concert. This particular set list has the audience requests filled in with blue pen, documenting the fan favorites for later.