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  1. #1

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    I just completed David Baker's "How to Play Bebop Vol 2." I liked the way it was organized, for example sections on turnarounds, turnbacks and the like. At the same time, a lot of the examples sounded a little abstract. I'd like to find something that explores these basic building blocks of improvisation, but perhaps with fewer examples and more in-depth explanation. My immediate goal is to stay within the realm of Real Book standards, so a more "inside" approach would be more manageable for me. That said, I'm using modes of harmonic and melodic minor, h/w diminished, chromaticism etc. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. Maybe "How to Play Bebop Vol 1"?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Well the list is large:

    1. Firstly, this site has lessons that are rich in content.

    2. There is the Joseph Alexander Series.

    3. There is Bert Ligon, especially the one about connecting chords.

    4. Joe Pass Guitar style covers nice blues and rhythm changes - straight from a master.

    5. I also like the following books from Berklee, in order of study:

    https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Chang...gateway&sr=8-2

    https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvis...gateway&sr=8-2

    https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvis...K2E1RPCHN905CB

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Well the list is large:

    1. Firstly, this site has lessons that are rich in content.

    2. There is the Joseph Alexander Series.

    3. There is Bert Ligon, especially the one about connecting chords.

    4. Joe Pass Guitar style covers nice blues and rhythm changes - straight from a master.

    5. I also like the following books from Berklee, in order of study:

    https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Chang...gateway&sr=8-2

    https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvis...gateway&sr=8-2

    https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvis...K2E1RPCHN905CB
    Thanks for your recommendations. I prefer to have a physical book regardless of the many resources on the site and elsewhere. I looked into your recommendations. The "Playing Changes..." book apparently uses the tetrachord concept, which is more complexity than I'd care to deal with. Not sure Grant Green would have approached it that way, but then you never know. I'd like to peek inside "Jazz Improvisation...Melodic." The reviews are either "too basic" or "too abstract." Might well be a contender, though. Of the three you recommended, the "Harmonic Approach" seems like it'd be the best fit.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    you don't complete a book like that
    Very well put. By "complete" I mean to say I worked my way through the examples. I wish there were some commentary explaining the harmonic approaches behind them. Some of the examples were so far out I couldn't make sense of them. The actual benefit to me was developing more intuitive reading and fingering strategies. At this point in my development, I'm a chord-scale theory guy, which has been very helpful in managing the typical chord sequences of basic AABA structures. So I'd like to stay within that approach for the time being. As for transcribing, I actually found a Grantstand vid with notation here:
    It's great because it has a lot of his signature licks that seem to apply across structures.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    edit: you will benefit greatly if you transform yourself into a lick player for the time being. that's where the language is at. GG and bird were lick players at heart.
    It's interesting you would say that. I had a post here some time ago that my lydian dominant licks seemed contrived. Some of the more advanced forum members took exception to lick-based improv, which I appreciate. What I've found is that having some ideas worked out in advance gives me a place to operate from and gets me in the game. It may be pre-fabricated to me, but on first hearing it sounds pretty fresh. I have occasional moments of true improvisation, usually because I made a "mistake" and kept going. Then I try to figure out what I just did and codify it into my lexicon of licks (licks-icon?) My progression has been from an Albert King-based blues player (all licks) to an advanced blues player (BB King hinting at a chromatic approach) to jazz blues (more linearity and chromatic elements) to rhythm changes (all turnarounds) to simple structures (All of Me) to more advanced simple structures (There Will Never Be Another You.) So in terms of approach I'm probably closest to Grant Green, because he was a single-note guy, lick based, and never all that far from the blues. And Dexter Gordon as well. BTW I don't mean to mention myself in the same sentence as them, merely for context.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    yea, that is a great solo albeit a bit fast (original over 260 bpm i think). also the backing track has a C7 as the last chord. E7b9 is right.
    try the first tune here. super easy to transcribe, hard to play right

    This vid shows up as "unavailable" but I've been listening to Horace Parlan the last few days on Spotify. So I'll get it from there.

  8. #7

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    You can’t go wrong copying Dexter Gordon, he is where a large chunk of my vocabulary came from originally.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by buduranus2 View Post
    Thanks for your recommendations. I prefer to have a physical book regardless of the many resources on the site and elsewhere. I looked into your recommendations. The "Playing Changes..." book apparently uses the tetrachord concept, which is more complexity than I'd care to deal with. Not sure Grant Green would have approached it that way, but then you never know. I'd like to peek inside "Jazz Improvisation...Melodic." The reviews are either "too basic" or "too abstract." Might well be a contender, though. Of the three you recommended, the "Harmonic Approach" seems like it'd be the best fit.
    Actually it's just the opposite (i.e. you can ignore the complexity, they're just trying to break things down and help the player with small bites, if needed). The tetrachord is basically half a scale. It mentions that you can just use a mode if you're ready.

    The book helps you crawl before you walk - and by that I mean "walk" with a lot of complex lines and harmonic principles (which can be pretty dry, TBH. Many methods take that dryer approach.) There are some nice examples of "how your solo might sound" provided, and I think you'll get the idea right away and start playing - and I mean improvising.

    At the end of the day I think of it as a step-by-step way to get you comfortably improvising tunes with 1,2,3,4,5 key centers - one at a time. I am using my ear almost 100% and am not paying any attention to the tetrachords (yet anyway). I think the approach is a good leg up before getting to the "busier" improv methods and their denser and more sophisticated melodic/harmonic material. I think the linear/melodic approach is important and I'll illustrate what I mean with one obvious example - Wes Montgomery. One of the things that set him apart from so many other players was his very melodic way of phrasing that listeners got/get right away. He also played sophisticated harmonic material of course, but always had a tremendous melodic sensibility in what he played, and with an unmistakable "flow".

    This book helps one tap into their "flow". At least it does for me.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    You can’t go wrong copying Dexter Gordon, he is where a large chunk of my vocabulary came from originally.
    I could listen to Dexter Gordon all day. His playing is relaxed, swinging, solid, logical and comfortable. Also very playful, such as his quoting "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at 4:35 of Three O'Clock in the Morning:

  11. #10

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    I mostly haven’t enjoyed books about improvising because they focus a lot on scales or licks. However, I really liked Hal Galper’s Forward Motion, which focuses on movement/change in terms of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Teaching how to get from one chord to the next with a clear, strong line is not something a lot of improv books talk about.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    I mostly haven’t enjoyed books about improvising because they focus a lot on scales or licks. However, I really liked Hal Galper’s Forward Motion, which focuses on movement/change in terms of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Teaching how to get from one chord to the next with a clear, strong line is not something a lot of improv books talk about.
    At this point of my development I'm still a chord-scale/licks player with occasional and unpredictable moments of true improvisation. There was a thread here on Hal Galper's book with fairly wide divergence of opinion: Hal Galper-Forward Motion I've been working on Have You Met Miss Jones for a few weeks, coming back to it here and there, and I've found a few ways to navigate through the bridge smoothly. So for the moment I'll continue to trust my instincts negotiating chord changes. Many thanks for your recommendation!