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  1. #1

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    I thought I was done with books a while ago until I came across this book by David Berkman. It's a bit like Advancing Guitarist but for jazz improvisation and more practical. Written from the point of view of a pianist but a lot of it is instrument agnostic. Filled with creative practice ideas and fun stories. It seems to be hugely overlooked. Note I'm not talking about his better known harmony book (also a very good book).

    This is probably the most useful book I've seen on jazz improvisation. It's not a method book, it's not a theory book, it's not a lick book. It's a book about developing a healthy approach to practising towards learning tunes for improvisation. It's got many specific creative practice ideas but the book is more about learning to come up with your own fun and interesting practice ideas for what you think you have to work on.

    I would say it's a relatively advanced book. It sort of assumes you know your chord - scale mappings, you can do harmonic analysis, read music, know a bunch of tunes, dabbled with tunes like Giant Steps and Rhythm Changes etc.

    Anybody read it?

    EDIT: Here is the link to the publishers page for the book. Includes sample pages:
    The Jazz Musician's Guide To Creative Practicing by David Berkman | Sher Music Co.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-26-2020 at 09:15 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    What a wonderful book. The Giant Steps part might just be ample reason to go read it.

    it’s pretty advanced in every way, something like a follow up to Levine’s jazz piano book. It’s a surprising mixture of the bebop tradition and modern harmony, like a David Berkman album.

    Very interesting, but also quite hard to apply. Even if I see myself as a serious intermediate player, I am clearly not ready for this material. I’ll have to step up my game to be ready.

    Nevertheless, essential reading and an eye opener. And so is his harmony book: intriguing stuff.

  4. #3

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    Sounds good. I played one gig with him years ago. Good player and writer, tight with Tom Harrell. He's sincere and insightful. Wouldn't mind reading it sometime...

  5. #4

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    My teacher told me about this book during my lesson yesterday!

  6. #5

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    Link to some sample pages from the book:

    The Jazz Harmony Book by David Berkman | Sher Music Co.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Link to some sample pages from the book:

    The Jazz Harmony Book by David Berkman | Sher Music Co.
    Actually this is not the book I was talking about. The book you linked is his theory book. I also have it and it's good.

    This is the book I was referring to (I should have put this in the OP for clarity, so I added it now):

    The Jazz Musician's Guide To Creative Practicing by David Berkman | Sher Music Co.

  8. #7

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    I have both of Berkman's books and they are exactly the kind of book I find valuable: it's something to go to sometimes when I'm feeling "in a rut" practicing and need some new ideas.

    I got the jazz harmony book solely for the section on Barry Harris' stuff, someone on here (Christian maybe?) recommended it as a good summary, and a couple of years ago I wanted to get back into that stuff. It's a great book on jazz harmony, I wish I had it 20 years ago. Most of the stuff he says in the book I had kinda already figured out for myself, but, I'd imagine it will be enormously useful for anyone looking to understand jazz harmony and how to learn tunes.

    The only annoying thing I've found about both books is the amount he uses sidebars, it feels like reading a second book in the margin of the first. but this is a very minor thing.

    David is someone who has played high level jazz in NYC for as long as I can remember, and he's remarkably open about some of the trials and tribulations. He describes learning a bunch of Kenny Kirkland solos note for note, but that stuff never found its way into his playing until he started to break it down a bit more into fundamental concepts. I also transcribed a lot of note for note stuff that never really found its way into my playing early on, so this resonated with me (especially coming from a top-level cat like David).

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    I got the jazz harmony book solely for the section on Barry Harris' stuff
    Is that the chapter ‘Another Approach to Jazz Harmony Using diminished chords’?

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Petimar
    Is that the chapter ‘Another Approach to Jazz Harmony Using diminished chords’?
    Yes that is the chapter where he talks about Barry Harris's diminished harmony. That's in his other (better known) "The Jazz Harmony Book". Here is a summary of that chapter he published in Downbeat, go to page 78:
    http://www.downbeat.com/digitalediti...art/DB1509.pdf
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-25-2020 at 01:53 PM.

  11. #10

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    Tal, thanks much for that article. A REALLY GOOD explanation of Barry's chord method. Bought both books after reading it.

  12. #11

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    I think I have the Berkmann harmony book somewhere. I think it’s solid.