Watch the Fareed's Trade Secret #4 online guitar lesson by Fareed Haque from Jazz Comping Survival Guide
Most of the chords we've built translate perfectly to a big band horn section. In fact if you wrote a short blues on the guitar, guide tones plus 2 extensions, and asked four saxes to play it, it will sound good. So if you are wondering what to do in a small group, try imitating horn section 'backgrounds'. Backgrounds are the horn lines and riffs played behind a soloist. They are background simple melody lines that will support and add excitement to the solo. By imitating a horn section we can have the same effect. As a horn section would, use short and long notes to create drive. Make sure your melody is simple and outlines the harmony clearly. The best way to figure this out is to listen to big band music! Ellington, Basie, Miller, James, Kenton, Mel Lewis/Thad Jones, Gil Evans and many others.