insightful jazz and music theory books?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rorschah, Jun 27, 2006.


  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    So, I'd like to know: what are your favorite books about jazz and improvisation?

    I've learned the basics - what scales and modes you can play over what chords, how to make a solo that's not bad. And I'm slowly absorbing stuff from my recordings. But what books have really given you *insight* into what's going on?

    So far, the books that really gave me the most were Garrison Falwell's Jazz Improvisation and Andrew Green's Jazz Guitar Structures. I'm also (very slowly) working my way through Mark Levin's Theory book. Which is intense.

    -thi
     
  2. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    For chords I love "Ronny Lee Jazz Guitar Vol II" this is a Mel Bay book and has since been consolodated with Vol I.

    Lots of inversions and substitutions with detailed explainations and great exercises as well as some standards with the given chord and subs.
    Great book!
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Jerry Coker's done some great books. Improvising Jazz and How to Practice Jazz are two books that for being not much larger than a pamphlet are chock full of great information.
     
  4. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    If I could only have 1 book it would probably be Mick Goodrick's The Advancing Guitarist. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It is the kind of book that, no matter what your level, or where you find yourself, has the potential for blowing some major boundaries off of your playing. It has been an endless resource/inspiration for me.

    David
     
  5. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene
     
  6. Dana

    Dana Guest

  7. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Tonight I'm trying to finish a jazz primer tutorial that I've been working on. Actually it's "common sounds found is jazz".

    It's pretty straight forward and show reveal some standard sound that was used.

    It's definitely not an end-all lesson but it might be useful to you. I'll post it when it's ready.

    NOTE You need Power Tabs to view and listen.
     
  8. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    Thanks for the recc's so far.

    Another way to put it is: I've learned enough that I know how to play a lot of notes that are *not wrong* over the changes. But I want to know more of, like, what's *going on* at a particular moment in Miles Davis or Monk. *Why* does that chord sound so good there? *Why* is that note so anguished there (not just the playing tone, but the note)?

    I've been working through Monk solos and sometimes, it's just a total mystery to me why it's so good. I mean, I could recreate that solo, but I want to *get* it, you know?

    Charles Rosen's book on the sonata form in Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn was great for symphonic stuff. That was deep.

    Thanks!

    -thi
     
  9. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Jamey Aebersold has WONDERFUL books and play-a-longs!!! +1 on the Jerry Coker stuff too.....

    www.jazzbooks.com

    Chris
     
  10. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I think that's an answer you'll get only from transcribing and analyzing. Thinking about what chord tone was played on which beat and how the phrase moved through the changes or to the next chord, etc.

    And IMO, taking on analyzing Monk, Bill Evans, Trane, Eric Dolphy and a few notable others is like sparring with black belts on your first day in the dojo. Those guys were seriously heavy! Esp. Monk, who was considered "The Professor", I believe, by guys like Miles and Trane. You've heard Trane's quote about playing Monk's music being like falling down an elevator shaft blindfolded, haven't you? I wouldn't tackle guys like Monk until you know what Bird and his contemporaries were doing.

    Regardless of that, I think most of those guys were pretty hip to George Russell's "Lydian Chromatic Concept", so that's another good book worth checking out for pure theory. Along the same lines is Liebman's A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony/Melody.
     
  11. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I would agree with that and have you start off with some blues transcriptions and people like Miles and Sonny Rollins. Don't forget about a good teacher too!! Try and find a good sax teacher and see if you can take lessons from them. Horn instruments solo much differently than guitar players and the approach is well worth the time.

    Chris
     
  12. Bluespicker

    Bluespicker Member

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    Can you expound on that? How exactly do the solo diffrently, I would assume they use bigger interval jumps than guitarists are used to, but what else is really diffrent about the horn approach?
     
  13. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Generally speaking, horn players play much more "from the heart" because they are required to produce the breath that makes the note come out. Guitar players can just "widdly..widdly..." without much thought to what is actually coming out of the guitar. Joe Pass once said that you should be able to play a phrase again, otherwise you didn't really mean to play those notes. If you can sing what you are playing then you are much more likely to be playing meaningful notes instead of just wailing away on the guitar. Not that there's a bad thing about that but you have to MEAN what you play.

    People have often said that Monk could sit down and a piano and make the piano "sound" like a different piano. It's very much the way that you approach music. If you are hesitant about playing something that comes across to the listener. Very often we guitar players are guilty of playing in "box shapes". We KNOW that one of these notes on the blues box will sound good!!

    David Gilmour has often said that he would have 2 tape decks going when he was constructing a solo. One deck would be playing the backing chords and the other was recording the chords and his singing. He would sing what he thought would be a cool solo and then listen back to his singing and figure out how to play that on the guitar.

    I'm telling you, go to the Jamey Aebersold site. www.jazzbooks.com There's a section in there called "fee stuff" or something like that.

    To me, when soloing over chords you MUST know where all the chord tones are. Start with easy songs like Blue Bossa, Satin Doll, Maiden Voyage, stuff like that. Not fast tempos and not too many chord changes. You'll need to outline the chords as they are going by so that you could follow the changes even just listening to the soloist. Learn all your II, V, I's since almost all jazz uses them to a large degree. Then once you can do that, you can start using substitutions and the "Parker" and "Coletrane" changes.......

    Music is very much a language so you have to learn how to "Baby" talk before writing great novels.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey along the way!!!

    Chris
     

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