The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook by Gary Keller

The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook by Gary Keller

The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook by Gary Keller

The “Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook” is an aptly titled music reference guide, and an actual “hand book” as well, according to it’s size (6 3/4″ x 9 1/2″). It is laid out in a very clear, logical fashion and is a must have chord / scale resource for anyone who is serious about improvising or composing in the Jazz  or Pop idioms.

I’ve owned this book for a few years now, and I’ve gone to it repeatedly for answers to both practical and theoretical questions.

The author, saxophonist / educator, Gary Keller, has organized the book into chapters describing each scale as generating a unique harmonic system. 

The Asymmetric Scale Systems include: Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor and Harmonic Major. 

The Symmetric Scale Systems presented here are the Whole Tone, Diminished, Augmented, plus several lesser known scales. There are also chapters on the Pentatonic and Blues Scales, as well as a number of Appendixes.

Each asymmetric system is then broken down into a (mostly) two page description of each of it’s modes, including multiple piano voicings for both it’s functional harmonic, as well as it’s modal usages. 

The author also renames the modes of the non-Major asymmetric scale systems, according to their alterations relative to their Major counterpart, eg. Ionian b3 (first mode of Melodic Minor), or Aeolian #7 (first mode of Harmonic Minor). These are unique, as well as accurate descriptions.

What I’ve also found very interesting is the concept of Augmented Scale substitutions for the Melodic Minor modes, which the author shares in the chapter on the Augmented Scale. That’s some pretty hip stuff!

I’d highly recommend “The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook” to anybody who wants to truly understand,not only how chords and scales relate to each other, but their usage as well.

 

Bobby Stern
Author of “The Melodic Minor Handbook” & “Slick Licks That Stick”
www.bobbysternjazz.com

Order Now The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook by Gary Keller

"Slick Licks That Stick!" by Bobby Stern (PDF eBooK)

“Slick Licks That Stick!” by Bobby Stern (PDF eBooK)

Slick Licks That Stick!

“Slick Licks That Stick!” by Bobby Stern is among the rapidly increasing number of non-paper books, of all subjects, being published and sold in today’s book marketplace. The rapid proliferation of portable reading devices, such as the Kindle, Nook, etc. and their proprietary eBook formats (EPUB, MOBI, and several others), have helped to vault total eBook sales past that of traditional print books. While these digital book formats have worked well for text based books, they have not lent themselves well to publications largely consisting of music notation. However, the common, open standard Acrobat PDF format, in lieu of anything better at this time, is still a very good and viable option for music notation based eBooks.

Before getting to the books content, it should be noted that “Slick Licks That Stick!” is unique in regards to its’ formatting.  With mobile devices such as the iPad in mind, this eBook is laid out in Landscape format so that the complete horizontal line of notation is viewable at normal resolution, thus avoiding the annoying necessity of scrolling from left to right while playing through the exercises. This works on any laptop or desktop computer, as well.

The table of contents, listing ten chapters, is very detailed, with a clickable internal link to the first page of each exercise. The exercises are also fully printable, so that one can freely print out selected pages.

The entire book is thoughtfully laid out and well organized. Each exercise is, thankfully, presented in all12 keys and the notation is clear and easy to read. The subject matter is a potpourri of modern stylistic content, including Pentatonics b3, b6, and b2, Coltrane Changes, Augmented scale exercises, Melodic Minor Bebop scales, polymodal Melodic Minor ii-V patterns, Chromatics, as well as several interesting etudes.

At the beginning of each chapter, there is usually a concise explanation of it’s contents.

I have play tested several of the chapters and find that these are not your typical, everyday plug and play “licks”. Rather, they are exercises which come from a musical place rather than from a purely theoretical one. The fact that they “sound” good can inspire one to practice, as well as to expand vocabulary and fire the imagination. Several of my students who have the book have mentioned this as well.

Another big plus is the price. At $9.99, this much quality material is a true bargain, so get it while it’s hot!

The only thing that’s possibly missing would be some play along tracks, especially for the ii-V exercises. But, with the popularity of self programmable software, such as Band-in-a-Box and iReal b, this is a very minor point indeed, especially considering the aforementioned price.

 

Prof. Dave King
University of Music and Performing Arts
Mannheim, Germany

Ready, Aim, Improvise!

Ready, Aim, Improvise!: Exploring the Basics of Jazz Improvisation, Book & 2 CDs (Advance Music)
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As taught at Berklee College of Music Ready, Aim, Improvise! explores the critical areas involved in learning how to improvise, including: music theory, jazz harmony, ear training, jazz execution, jazz vocabulary, practicing, self-critiquing, career planning, and much more. Ready, Aim, Improvise! is filled with musical examples, exercises, and practice routines that help make the learning process easy and enjoyable. Two enclosed play-along CDs feature modal, key-area, and modulating chord progressions performed at a slow, manageable tempo. Ready, Aim, Improvise! is a clear, comprehensive study of the most important steps in a jazz musicians education. Don’t be surprised if it gets….

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How to Improvise

How to Improvise
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By Hal Crook. Book/2CDs. What exactly are the steps that lead to ability? In which order should they been taken? What will be required to master each one? These are questions the author has explored in this book, resulting in a rather unique “one-thing-at-a-time” approach to studying improvisation – one that incorporates discipline, technique, creativity and musical intuition. Each topic is explained and demonstrated using written musical examples and it is accompanied by suggested exercises and a sample daily practice schedule, which can be modified to fit your own needs or liking. The book has been used by the Performance….

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How to Comp - By Hal Crook
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This book/CD set presents a clear, comprehensive, one-step-at-a-time method for learning how to accompany an improvised jazz solo. As a sequel to Hal Crook’s text “How to Improvise”, “How to Comp” offers precise explanations, practical exercises, recorded musical examples, four play-along tracks, and daily practice routines. “How to Comp” organizes a vast amount of information that helped to make the author’s previous work “a major contribution to jazz pedagogy”. “How to Comp” is primarily for intermediate through advanced level players of harmonic instruments, e.g. piano (keyboard), guitar and vibraphone. However, drummers, bassists and horn players can also benefit from its….

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Bergonzi Jazz Line Book and CD Inside Improvisation Vol. 3

Advance Music Bergonzi Jazz Line Book and CD Inside Improvisation Vol. 3
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Book/CD Set – Vol. 3 of the Inside Improvisation Series by author Jerry Bergonzi. Line Playing Voice-Leading Chromaticism Bebop Scales.A clear and practical step-by-step approach to chromaticism, line playing and voice leading. The CD contains 23 play-along tracks (most of them played in two tempos), based on standard chord progressions, performed by a professional rhythm section, featuring Renato Chicco on piano, Dave Santoro on bass, and Adam Nussbaum on drums. In addition Jerry demonstrates various exercises and approaches on tenor saxophone. Chord changes are included for C concert, B flat and E flat instruments. Jerry Bergonzi is a highly respected….

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Hexatonics (Inside Improvisation Series, 7)

Hexatonics (Inside Improvisation Series, 7)
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Hexatonics, is the seventh volume of Jerry Bergonzi’s series, Inside Improvisation. Hexatonic scales are six note scales. This book presents a practical method for the construction of hexatonic scales that are useful for both the improviser and composer. Many modern piano players use hexatonic voicings by stacking the triads to create a particular harmony. We improvise “in” the sound of the voicing and using hexatonic voicings and lines can lend a very contemporary sound.

As with the other books in this series, there is a play along CD of 24 tracks (including 5 demo tracks featuring Jerry) to try out all….

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Bergonzi Melodic Rhythms Book and CD Inside Improvisation Vol. 4

Advance Music Bergonzi Melodic Rhythms Book and CD Inside Improvisation Vol. 4
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Book/CD Set – Vol. 4 of the Inside Improvisation Series by author Jerry Bergonzi. Time and rhythm can be considered more important than melody and harmony, as bad (or incorrect) time is immediately recognizable by any listener. This book will lend insight into practicing and playing creative rhythms in a melodic way.