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”

Order Now The Jazz Chord / Scale Handbook by Gary Keller