1. #1

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    Hello All - this is my first post ....

    I would describe myself as someone who is emerging out of beginner status and somewhere in the early-intermediate range. I have mainly learnt through online resources, although I had done a few jam sessions before the pandemic hit. So, I feel reasonably grounded on the basics, but still have miles to go before feeling confident ...

    Anyhow, I recently stumbled across Carol Kaye's instructional materials while trying to find some audio to go along with the Joe Pass Guitar Style book. After checking out her website and the internet at large (including this forum), I find myself quite attracted to her no-nonsense, pragmatic approach. Maybe its because I "see" chord shapes more easily on the fretboard than the myriad of scales, and I get the impression that one can glean a whole lot of classic bebop vocabulary from her. Also, what an amazing woman!

    My specific question for the hive mind is if I had to choose a couple of products, which ones would you recommend. Right now, I am considering getting the Pro's Jazz Phrases booklet/CD, along with the DVD on Jazz Improv Soloing. My thinking is that these two (a) seem to go together and (b) bring together concepts that she covers in her other materials. For those who have used her materials, does that make sense?

    I am also considering getting her sight-reading book, since I feel weak in that area (i.e. I can read, but slowly, especially with complex rhythms).

    I would welcome any thoughts/advice.

    Thanks,

    Richard

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi, Richard,
    I'm familiar with much of Carol's material.
    Pro's Jazz Phrases is very good but there are a few things you need to know before buying it.
    1) No tab.
    2) The booklet is not standard size (8.5x11) but closer to 6x8. (I haven't measured it lately so don't have the exact dimensions but it is significantly smaller that most guitar instruction books.) This makes the staves on each page smaller than normal. (Shouldn't be a deal breaker but it could come as a surprise given current expectations of what guitar instruction books look like.) It's more like a pamphlet.
    3) The audio was originally done on cassette tape. It has been transferred to CD but it helps to know it's going to sound like a guitar lesson you recorded with a portable cassette recorder back in the '70s. (The audio is sped up a bit too.)
    4) There is no play-along portion. She plays the examples and talks about them, and often gives recommended fingerings. And she moves right along.

    I think it's well worth having. She's a legend and this is like having some private lessons with her. But it is not laid out the way things tend to be now.

    Carol is one-of-a-kind and her material, though solid as a rock, is presented in her own way and she doesn't want to hear about other ways. ;o)

  4. #3
    Thanks so much Mark. I noted your admiring comments about Carol from a few years ago. So would you say that her DVD on soloing is really necessary to get the most out of the Pro's Jazz Phrases booklet? I believe somewhere she says something like that, but I am trying to not bite off too big of a chunk .... Also, would I be right in thinking that her Standards books/CDs are mainly about comping? Thanks ....

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by RGT2021
    Thanks so much Mark. I noted your admiring comments about Carol from a few years ago. So would you say that her DVD on soloing is really necessary to get the most out of the Pro's Jazz Phrases booklet? I believe somewhere she says something like that, but I am trying to not bite off too big of a chunk .... Also, would I be right in thinking that her Standards books/CDs are mainly about comping? Thanks ....
    The Standards books / CDs are unlike anything else. She provides lead sheets----lead sheets from common sources with her corrections written in--and on the cassette she plays bass and gives a few cues. It's a chance to play standards with a legend, and it takes discipline to keep up without a band / backing track (other than her bass lines). It would not, I think, be the place to start. You will comp, yes, though you can also play the head. (No one else is.)

  6. #5
    Thanks Mark. And would you see the Jazz soloing DVD as being necessary to get the most out of the Pro's phrases book? Also I was wondering her Jazz Guitar guide, which she says is for beginners. I already have a reasonable handle on chord shapes, so would you see that guide as adding much?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but her website does not really provide that much of a description.

    Richard

  7. #6

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    Hi Richard,

    I have Carol's Pro Jazz Phrases booklet (no CD), Jazz Improv Soloing DVD, Guitar Sightreading Studies, Jazz Guitar Guide and Standards I & II.

    The Phrases booklet is basically the 'raw material' of her method (phrases, ii-Vs, subs etc.) so you'll definitely need that.

    In the DVD Carol references and demonstrates many of the phrases from the Phrases booklet (and others), explains the theory behind them and talks about how they can be applied, so I'd suggest getting that as well. The DVD has it's own booklet with summaries of each chapter and a few extra examples as well.

    Sightreading Studies has a couple of great warmups, jazzy studies and hand-saving fingering advice. Here she teaches her unique, 'studio-tested' method for reading complex rhythms. This book is great too but I think if you're serious about learning to read well you'll need to at least have a go at Leavitt's Modern Method (or Mel Bay's) books as well.

    The Jazz Guitar Guide booklet and CD appear to be taken from an earlier, abbreviated, audio-only version of the Carol's entire program (not just for beginners), albeit with fewer examples and explanations.

    Mark has pretty much summed up what the Standards CDs are all about I think.

    Cheers,

    Robert
    Last edited by rbcampbell1; 04-14-2021 at 05:26 AM.