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  1. #1

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    Hello there!

    I just got this really great book.

    I thought it'd be pretty cool to start a study group where we can go through a chapter a week, talk about it together, so forth and so on. I don't know if there's already a thread for this but I'm starting today! (18 June 2020) and starting on the Monday after next (28 June 2020) we can start a new chapter every Monday, so that Monday we'll move on to chapter 2. Of course this is completely self-paced so if you go ahead or fall behind, no worries!

    I think it'd be a good idea if when you post a post on this thread, tag it with [JTB CH#] so that we can all reference where you are. Let's also try to keep gear talk to a minimum on this post of course since there is another section of the forum for that. It's okay to reference other books and information on this post so long as they have to do with the topics in this book! Sorry for the rules. I know it's not really a standard thing to include rules in a post, but I really want to focus on studying this book and the information provided in it!

    Also, if something like this already exists for this book, I'll delete this post and move to that post.
    EDIT: I was gonna do a study group, but I'm no longer going to do that. I'm just going to come back here and post notes when I see good information that I thinks translates well to jazz guitarists. It won't be beginner theory things, but just cool concepts I think would be cool to talk about with you guys. Also, please refrain from trying to talk me out of reading this book. hahaha. I've already begun, and so far I love it.
    Last edited by broturtel; 06-20-2020 at 05:31 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I promise not to spam messages saying how much I hate the Levine theory book haha.

    Well, I don’t HATE it. It is a fact of jazz education life.

    As it’s such a standard text, maybe it would be for me good to revisit, go chapter to chapter and thoroughly examine and critique it where I feel necessary, and rather than being negative suggest other avenues to look into.

    There’s also probs loads of good stuff I’ve forgotten about.

  4. #3

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    Also forum contributor rintincop AFAIK helped write it; so I’m sure he’d have some interesting contributions.

  5. #4

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    Hello. Before you invest your precious time into this project, you may want to prepare by googling "Jazz Guitar Forum Levine Theory Book"

    There has been a lot of discussion, often heated at times, about the book and you may find that you agree with the arguments against it - or you can at least go in knowing what to expect and can tailor your studies.

  6. #5

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    Well I reread some of it. Some I agree with but I got very triggered by chapter III haha.

  7. #6

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    Levine puts it well in the intro. There is no definitive theory of jazz....

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Hello. Before you invest your precious time into this project, you may want to prepare by googling "Jazz Guitar Forum Levine Theory Book"

    There has been a lot of discussion, often heated at times, about the book and you may find that you agree with the arguments against it - or you can at least go in knowing what to expect and can tailor your studies.
    hey there. Yes I actually did a lot of research BEFORE I bought the book and I’ve skimmed through the book. I’m not a very whimsical person. If I’m doing it I wanna do it. lol. But thanks for the advice

  9. #8

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    yea I know and have gigged with Mark... He's a great musician... also with Herb Pomerory. Herb was great teacher.
    Anyway... If you need any help, I'm from same background as Mark...just younger and much better looking, LOL
    If you get it going I can answer questions etc... I also don't have all the typical hangups about this way or that as most teachers have.

  10. #9

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    I think it's a great book.

    It's written clearly. It has copious examples from master players that quickly illustrate the points. It covers a lot of relevant topics.

    It strikes me as difficult to the point of being overwhelming to try to organize jazz into a book. He took a shot at it and did pretty well. That said, I haven't read any other books that tried to be as comprehensive -- maybe somebody else has done it better.

    I doubt that it's the perfect book. I'll let other posters, more educated than I, comment on the imperfections.

    I learned the basics of scales, modes and chord construction. I found the section on melodic minor applications to be playing-changing -- and there aren't many things you can read in 10 minutes that do that.

    I can imagine other approaches. A chronological approach, detailing the evolution of jazz theory would be interesting. I can imagine a song based approach, perhaps taking a tune that has been recorded repeatedly since the dawn of time and detailing the ways in which the approaches have changed from one era to the next. Maybe an innovator based approach, explaining what people like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bill Evans etc did to advance the music. But, Levine's approach works too.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    yea I know and have gigged with Mark... He's a great musician... also with Herb Pomerory. Herb was great teacher.
    Anyway... If you need any help, I'm from same background as Mark...just younger and much better looking, LOL
    If you get it going I can answer questions etc... I also don't have all the typical hangups about this way or that as most teachers have.
    Noted and I just may take you up on that! Thanks for the help!

    - BT

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I think it's a great book.

    It's written clearly. It has copious examples from master players that quickly illustrate the points. It covers a lot of relevant topics.

    It strikes me as difficult to the point of being overwhelming to try to organize jazz into a book. He took a shot at it and did pretty well. That said, I haven't read any other books that tried to be as comprehensive -- maybe somebody else has done it better.

    I doubt that it's the perfect book. I'll let other posters, more educated than I, comment on the imperfections.

    I learned the basics of scales, modes and chord construction. I found the section on melodic minor applications to be playing-changing -- and there aren't many things you can read in 10 minutes that do that.

    I can imagine other approaches. A chronological approach, detailing the evolution of jazz theory would be interesting. I can imagine a song based approach, perhaps taking a tune that has been recorded repeatedly since the dawn of time and detailing the ways in which the approaches have changed from one era to the next. Maybe an innovator based approach, explaining what people like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bill Evans etc did to advance the music. But, Levine's approach works too.
    There's no perfect book! I've browsed through many books and resources, and I've even taken the time to learn a lot through other books. This is already a good read so far and what I've seen is quite excellent so I figured I'd give a good read through, apply the concepts, and keep it moving. Learn the theory, learn the rules, and then when you get on stage forget about all that and just wail!

  13. #12

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    Pay close attention to what he says in the introduction. this is is the best advice in the book.

    i actually recorded a critique of the first few chapters but it runs to about 45 minutes and I’m not sure who’d want to sit through that lol.

    I think as a project it’s a crap idea to start off with.

    Firstly, what is it for? What is the student meant to learn from it?

    I have some very big problems with it, factually, historically and in terms of its but also the way it works as a learning material.

    Thats not to say it is devoid of value, and I don’t want to sound like I’m somehow dissing Levine, it’s more that this book is far more limited than the naive student might think; it’s also very much of its time when jazz edu felt it had to have an overarching unified syllabus.

    Don’t imagine you’ll be able to learn to play jazz from it. (TBF I doubt Levine would claim that.)

    Also for a guy at pains to show he is relaxed, open and he can get very prescriptive at times with his do/don’ts. These are easy to debunk if you know the music. But people actually get a bit fucked up by them and start worrying about shit that doesn’t matter. That’s what I dislike about it most probably.

    it should present itself as resources, nothing more. As a sourcebook it’s good.

    i have a lot of student who have read this book and it takes time to deprogram them from this stuff. It’s bad teaching in my view.

    It presents itself as definitive and that’s a problem, especially when Levine is apparently aware that this is a potential problem, but the prose and presentation is sometimes at odds with

    I think the very act of writing a book like this shapes the way you present and formulate your ideas and the way it is received by the reader.

    it is possible some may think this is a systematic, step by step way to understand and play jazz.

    I could make a list of all the stuff I think is wrong or omitted from the book. But that’s not really the point.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-19-2020 at 04:09 AM.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Pay close attention to what he says in the introduction. this is is the best advice in the book.

    i actually recorded a critique of the first few chapters but it runs to about 45 minutes and I’m not sure who’d want to sit through that lol.

    I think as a project it’s a crap idea to start off with.

    Firstly, what is it for? What is the student meant to learn from it?

    I have some very big problems with it, factually, historically and in terms of its but also the way it works as a learning material.

    Thats not to say it is devoid of value, and I don’t want to sound like I’m somehow dissing Levine, it’s more that this book is far more limited than the naive student might think; it’s also very much of its time when jazz edu felt it had to have an overarching unified syllabus.

    Don’t imagine you’ll be able to learn to play jazz from it. (TBF I doubt Levine would claim that.)

    Also for a guy at pains to show he is relaxed, open and he can get very prescriptive at times with his do/don’ts. These are easy to debunk if you know the music. But people actually get a bit fucked up by them and start worrying about shit that doesn’t matter. That’s what I dislike about it most probably.

    it should present itself as resources, nothing more. As a sourcebook it’s good.

    i have a lot of student who have read this book and it takes time to deprogram them from this stuff. It’s bad teaching in my view.

    It presents itself as definitive and that’s a problem, especially when Levine is apparently aware that this is a potential problem, but the prose and presentation is sometimes at odds with

    I think the very act of writing a book like this shapes the way you present and formulate your ideas and the way it is received by the reader.

    it is possible some may think this is a systematic, step by step way to understand and play jazz.

    I could make a list of all the stuff I think is wrong or omitted from the book. But that’s not really the point.
    I do not think that this or any other book is a systematic, step-by-step way to understand and play jazz.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel View Post
    Dude. Read the above. I'm not taking ANYTHING as definitive. It's theory man. Not truth. Theory. That being said...I'm gonna read this book. But thanks for the advice. I'm not taking anything as systematic. I'm gonna learn some rules, learn some methods, and then I'm gonna forget about them and just play music. I'm gonna read this book not for you, but for me. I like it so far. And I'm going with it. But thanks for giving this spill...again. I appreciate it.
    It’s not advice (although I think Levines advice in the intro is excellent, including the bit about learning piano), it’s my critical reading, problems I have with the book based on my experience of studying, playing and teaching the music. I could actually be a lot more specific but that would get long very quickly.

    If you wanted my advice, I have to hear your playing for instance and know something about your aims as a player (not saying you do, but advice varies from person to person.)

  16. #15

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    hey broturtel...

    Yea, it's a great book for pianist, I take it you've been through his Jazz Piano Book.... also pretty good. I'm also a pianist... not great but play well enough to read through big band charts etc on stage, just don't have the chops... anyway... your into book, good luck. Marks worked with many of the great jazz acts...he can cover, great tunes and arrangements... easy to work with etc...

    I have a large library, even set of Groves, still adding all the time.... although I don't need marks Theory Book, I still have it... great single reference. Not everything, but will get one in the right direction. As you sound like you already know... part of playing and understanding jazz, or performing jazz is.... the expanding of basic theory and making choices.
    If you feel like it... post some notes as your going through. I always dig different perspectives... and obviously have too much extra time.... still not taking gigs.

    Should add... I'm a pro guitarist, I can cover etc... have composed and arranged for 40+ years.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    hey broturtel...

    Yea, it's a great book for pianist, I take it you've been through his Jazz Piano Book.... also pretty good. I'm also a pianist... not great but play well enough to read through big band charts etc on stage, just don't have the chops... anyway... your into book, good luck. Marks worked with many of the great jazz acts...he can cover, great tunes and arrangements... easy to work with etc...

    I have a large library, even set of Groves, still adding all the time.... although I don't need marks Theory Book, I still have it... great single reference. Not everything, but will get one in the right direction. As you sound like you already know... part of playing and understanding jazz, or performing jazz is.... the expanding of basic theory and making choices.
    If you feel like it... post some notes as your going through. I always dig different perspectives... and obviously have too much extra time.... still not taking gigs.

    Should add... I'm a pro guitarist, I can cover etc... have composed and arranged for 40+ years.
    yeah, I noticed this was a piano book. Haha. I’ll definitely post some notes as I go along, thanks!

  18. #17

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    Mark Levine also has published two other books:

    "Jazz Piano Masterclass with Mark Levine - The Drop 2 Book"
    ( It covers piano block chords (C6 dim scale harmony and C-6 dim scale harmony) and Mark's suggested tweaks, it's like what Barry Harris teaches)

    "HOW TO VOICE STANDARDS AT THE PIANO: THE MENU"
    (Mark takes the tune "Alice In Wonderland" and shows how he uses his favorite piano voicings, taken form his suggested "menu" of voicings, the choices all depend on what note is in the melody)

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by broturtel View Post
    yeah, I noticed this was a piano book. Haha. I’ll definitely post some notes as I go along, thanks!
    Definitely try and get access to a keyboard if you can.

    There's stuff that I think is obvious on the piano that isn't on the guitar. The way the chord scales relate and so on is so much clearer. And you can put that on the guitar.

  20. #19

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    A theory professor's fussy review of The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine:
    MTO 6.1: Rawlins, Review of Levine

    • fussy: showing excessive or anxious concern about detail, hard to please

    Last edited by rintincop; 06-19-2020 at 04:14 PM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post

    "Jazz Piano Masterclass with Mark Levine - The Drop 2 Book"
    ( It covers piano block chords (C6 dim scale harmony and C-6 dim scale harmony) and Mark's suggested tweaks, it's like what Barry Harris teaches)

    Reading chapter II (I think) about using a dominant chord on VI, not a minor, on a 1 6 2 5 (and later saying it's lazy not too...) and thinking Barry be like:

    The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-barryharris03-jpg
    Tweaks, eh?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    A theory professor's critical review of The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine:
    MTO 6.1: Rawlins, Review of Levine
    This I think is going to be broadly speaking the critique I would make from the first few points.

    EDIT: yeah this covers pretty much all of my points that weren't just nitpicking. Really good to have it there, thanks for the link.

  23. #22

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    Here's another thing I'd like to see in more jazz books for learners - autobiography, who the author studied and played with, important lessons they learned and so on.

    One book that has this is a Jazz Life by John Klopotowski, possibly one of my favourite jazz books, that will teach you more about learning jazz than a dozen chord scale manuals.

    I'm sure Levine could write a fantastic book like that and I would read it. Combine it with teaching.

    The drive to produce some quantitative dry repository of jazz information devoid of context to environment and history is all too common in jazz education. In essence, this book actually represents a political effort that was in place since the 70s, not for altogether bad reasons. One was to establish jazz as having its own theory, like classical music and separate from it, that could be taught in schools and gain respect as being a legitimate academic syllabus. There's a lot of this attitude implicit in the book.

    That's the only reason I can think why Levine seems to have a phobia of things like triads, chord inversions and functional harmony.

    Needless to say the book is also chiefly concerned with pitch choices, not rhythm or pitch choices and rhythms interrelate. It's pretty much useless for analysing actual jazz material. You'll end up like this poor confused bastard:

    The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine-screenshot-2020-06-08-10-19-14-jpg

    It's the blues, mate. Seriously. He's playing blues stuff in the key.

  24. #23

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    It strikes me that Rawlins' thinking versus Levine's thinking is similar to conservatism (tradition, familiar, unambiguous, hierarchy, etc) versus liberalism (more abstract, less fussy about individual note resolution, less concerned with harmonic function, etc).

    By the way, Rawlins is a sax player who has written his own rather pedantic jazz theory book.

  25. #24

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    "That's the only reason I can think why Levine seems to have a phobia of things like triads, chord inversions and functional harmony."
    That is not true. How do you can make such an assumption? You seem rather obsessed with discrediting Mark Levine.

  26. #25

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    Christian, you are using strawman arguments, you know that Lady Be Good example was not published by Mark Levine.

  27. #26

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    Mark's books are designed for people who already play jazz, they are not meant as a beginners intro to jazz. I think that is what you are not realizing is that it is not intended to be complete.
    Mark told me this numerous times when I worked on the text and argued with him how it was being organized and explained.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    It strikes me that Rawlins' thinking versus Levine's thinking is similar to conservatism (tradition, familiar, unambiguous, hierarchy, etc) versus liberalism (more abstract, less fussy about individual note resolution, less concerned with harmonic function, etc).
    I do think some of Rawlins' criticisms are a bit stuffy and 'who cares?' (like the stuff about the sus chord) but his points on pedagogy etc salient.

    Levine's approach to teaching jazz theory is actually very old fashioned from a teaching point of view. It is very aesthetically oriented - this sounds good, this doesn't sound good. 'Don't do this it's lazy' he actually says at one point. That's pretty old fashioned! You young whippersnapper, play your VI7alt chord like a good contemporary jazz pianist.

    I've heard Chord Scale Theory mostly critiqued from the left, where it has a political aspect (TBF most music edu academics are left wing). Usually by critical theorists and cultural studies people. I could post some quotes if you like, but I'll spare you if not lol.

    The JTB to me, is a technocratic exercise. The REALLY interesting thing is that Levine seems aware of this but can't fight it, or won't. There's a sort of disavowal going on in the text which is really interesting; 'this is a theory book not a truth book' that kind of thing. He's aware, because he's a great musician, that what he's doing is going to received a certain way. The Jazz Theory Book.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Mark's books are designed for people who already play jazz, they are not meant as a beginners intro to jazz. I think that is what you are not realizing is that it is not intended to be complete.
    Mark told me this numerous times when I worked on the text and argued with him how it was being organized and explained.
    Mark I think tries repeatedly to make this clear in the text - however, we don't always have control about how our writings are received, and the marketplace has a logic of its own.

    Bear in mind, as a young jazz hungry kid in the 1990s, this was the first jazz theory book I saw, and as you know it is a beautiful thing on an aesthetic level, well typeset, well written, inviting, just lovely. I didn't want any of the other ones. They weren't the definite article, and they all looked like dodgy things pirated on a Xerox machine with spelling mistakes and grainy photos.

    Even today, Forward Motion is one of my favourite books, but compared to the JTB as a product it's just amateurish. All the Sher stuff is really top quality.

    Not that that's a bad thing at all.

    Please don't take this personally. I understand Mark is probably a fantastic bloke, and musically on a level I could never hope to attain. I don't mean anything against him, and I don't want to seem like I am attacking your friend.

    It's not Mark's fault. These forces are outside of everyone's control. But it's happened.

    I actually think it's the natural flow of things. Things become an orthodoxy, and then the next waves shakes that up and so on. We need a good book though, one which is fit for the purpose the JTB is frequently used for. (I really like Randy Vincent's book, though that's guitar specific.)

    It just shows how much head and shoulders that book towered above the other ones. I think even today it cuts a dash. And a lot of beginning jazz players are drawn to it.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-19-2020 at 05:30 PM.

  30. #29

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    Some background.
    Mark's book is like a collection of how he personally thinks when he plays jazz piano. It is as if each chapter is one of his private piano lessons.
    Mark was the most in-demand jazz piano teachers in The bay Area in the 1980's. He has never been
    interested in teaching the basics or beginning concepts. Mark was inspired to share what he personally thinks about when he plays jazz piano, much of what he learned from studying with Herb Polomroy, Barry Harris and then later from studying Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, and Joe Henderson.
    Each chapter that Mark wrote mirrored his private jazz lessons. He simply decided to publish what he was teaching in private lessons. The title was "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine. It did not claim to be a complete method or and "intro to". It was a collection of essays (chapters, lessons) written by Mark Levine.
    His second book was titled "The Jazz Theory Book", a title his publisher promoted. This title does perhaps suggests a complete survey. But that was not Mark's intention. His publisher even had to insist that Mark add a Chapter 1 that covered intervals, triads, and inversions. And chapters on Blues and Rhythm Changes. Mark had never intended to cover such basics. Mark assumes that were other books for getting basics, such as major scales and triads, harmonic progressions, voice leading, resolutions, etc. Being more complete was a point of conflict between Mark and his publisher. The second book was an attempt to capitalize on the success of the first book, imo. To sell it to a broader set of musicians beyond the pianists.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Some background.
    Mark's book is like a collection of how he personally thinks when he plays jazz piano. It is as if each chapter is one of his private piano lessons.
    Mark was the most in-demand jazz piano teachers in The bay Area in the 1980's. He has never been
    interested in teaching the basics or beginning concepts. Mark was inspired to share what he personally thinks about when he plays jazz piano, much of what he learned from studying with Herb Polomroy, Barry Harris and then later from studying Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, and Joe Henderson.
    Each chapter that Mark wrote mirrored his private jazz lessons. He simply decided to publish what he was teaching in private lessons. The title was "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine. It did not claim to be a complete method or and "intro to". It was a collection of essays (chapters, lessons) written by Mark Levine.
    His second book was titled "The Jazz Theory Book", a title his publisher promoted. This title does perhaps suggests a complete survey. But that was not Mark's intention. His publisher even had to insist that Mark add a Chapter 1 that covered intervals, triads, and inversions. Mark had never intended to cover such basics. Mark assumes that were other books for getting basics, such as major scales and triads, harmonic progressions, voice leading, resolutions, etc. Being more complete was a point of conflict between Mark and his publisher.
    Ah, nailed it! That is exactly what I thought was the situation.

    As I say, Mark's commentary seems in tension with the presentation of the book. He seems acutely aware that it could be taken in the wrong way; 'this is not the jazz truth book.' That's the thing that strikes me most rereading it actually.

    Look, jazz education has changed. It was reasonable to expect someone in a previous generation to get a good sense of traditional changes playing, lifting lines off records, getting lessons with a great local player etc before they ran into this more modal chord/scale oriented material. Now it's the first thing people encounter. In fact, they'll now encounter it on the web first.

    Young musicians often seem afraid to be musicians in a weird way, they want to study modes so that they need never risk a wrong note, not so that they will have more colours to play with. This may be especially true of guitarists actually as more modal forms of music such as instrumental fusion and metal often act as a feeder into jazz. Chord scale type theory gives them some new cool theory thing to be interested in. They end up thinking that this is jazz.

    In actual fact, it sounds like Mark followed a historical progression in his learning... I think that's a really good idea for any student personally, but it can be hard to persuade a young musician to do this.

    The chord scale prescriptions of the JTB and other sources have created a new orthodox style. I expect to hear IV melodic minor on a III7 chord and so on. So it doesn't feel 'new' just - standard. Old school stuff sometimes feels fresher. That's what a few decades will do...The post modal period of jazz since 1959 is now the longest period of jazz by far (60 years. Jazz hadn't even existed that long when Miles recorded Kind of Blue.)

  32. #31

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    My only gripe with Mark's book is his prescription for the scales over minor ii V i such as
    | E-7b5 A7b9 | D- |
    He'll say:
    | play G melodic minor, play Bb melodic minor | play D melodic minor |

    It's great for block chords on a ballad, and like Barry Harris does, but melodically it's not practical at medium or up tempos for horn-like blowing. I very much dislike it in that usage.

    For horn-like line blowing I love the Barry Harris scale prescription for | E-7b5 A7b9 | D- |
    He'll say,
    | play C7 from Bb down to C# | play D-6 dim scale to the 6th | That's a great prescription, right out of the bebop toolbox.

    My teaching is based on the Barry Harris method. But do read Levine for voicings, block chords, re-harmonization, sequences, melodic minor, modes, etc.
    Last edited by rintincop; 06-20-2020 at 12:14 AM.

  33. #32

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    Personally it was counter productive. As a new improvisor I went through a lot of the examples and it made playing jazz seem many more times as complicated as I see it now.

  34. #33

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    I don't recommend Mark's books for those who have not done previous jazz training and study. Most readers of his books need a pretty good grasp of music theory and harmony ahead of time to follow his material.

    Hey broturtle, I hope we have not turned you off. I am ready to field any questions your study group might have. I have pretty thoroughly applied all of Mark's systems to most standard tunes over the past three decades. He has some marvelous tweaks of the block chord movements.

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    I don't recommend Mark's books for those who have not done previous jazz training and study. Most readers of his books need a pretty good grasp of music theory and harmony ahead of time to follow his material.

    Hey broturtle, I hope we have not turned you off. I am ready to field any questions your study group might have. I have pretty thoroughly applied all of Mark's systems to most standard tunes over the past three decades. He has some marvelous tweaks of the block chord movements.
    hey no worries! I’ll ask you guys if I have any questions. You certainly haven’t turned me off from this book. Like I said, I am not and never have been looking for an “end all be all” type of book. I look at resources as information. There are 100 others books that teach 100 different ways. None of them are right or wrong, just information to apply.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    One book that has this is a Jazz Life by John Klopotowski, possibly one of my favourite jazz books, that will teach you more about learning jazz than a dozen chord scale manuals.
    the klopotowski is great. i hipped hal galper to it many moons ago and he dug it and recommended it on his site.

    never liked the levine books. just friends starting on the I chord? no way, jose.

  37. #36

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    Well OP, 13/35 posts from the same guy - you should by now know how your discussion group will pan out.

    I'd be more interested in a study group on Hal Crook's How to Improvise, or The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick. Never managed to stay with either and some of my friends swear by them.

    Now, maybe I should look.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly View Post
    Well OP, 13/35 posts from the same guy - you should by now know how your discussion group will pan out.

    I'd be more interested in a study group on Hal Crook's How to Improvise, or The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick. Never managed to stay with either and some of my friends swear by them.

    Now, maybe I should look.
    Actually the Advancing Guitarist is an AWESOME book. It's the book that introduced me to modal concepts as pretty early in the book (like the first or second lesson early) it introduces you to modes. And Originaly I had never studied scales or anything theory related (the first 8 years almost of playing guitar) and this really encouraged me to not just learn the notes of the scales, but really learn the guitar inside and out as far as where the notes are and how they're related to each other.

    As far as this study group goes, I've given up. I'm not discouraged though! I am in fact going to be going through this book. Just not as slowly. I wanted to give everyone a chance to stay on the same page and discuss things week by week. But now I'm just going to go through, learn the concepts, and add it to the information I already know. The reason Levine's book is so interesting to me, though, is because I learned jazz by listening to piano. I was in a church band with a guy who played piano and was really great at improvising. He would literally improvise over every song we played. That and the piano was always my favorite part of any jazz song I listened to. I learned how to play the guitar not like a piano, but with the piano because I was listening to the piano part as I was playing and improvising. It really taught me to communicate in music. So Levine's book is definitely a book i'm going to go through, and The Advancing Guitarist is really a book you should consider! It's not a total beginner book, but I wouldn't really call it a method book either. It has some great information that no guitarist would be disappointed in spending time applying.

    As with Crook's book, i've heard some great things about it. I'll check that book out next! Lucky for me, I learn a lot by reading and digesting the information just as much as I do listening to records. If you do decide to pick up The Advancing Guitarist, let me know! I'd love to go back through it. We don't have to make a study group or anything, but it'd be fun to discuss every once in a while.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    the klopotowski is great. i hipped hal galper to it many moons ago and he dug it and recommended it on his site.
    aha! Hal said it was one of his favourite books

    never liked the levine books. just friends starting on the I chord? no way, jose.
    I look at stuff like that and I have to wonder. he clearly has his own way of understanding harmony the works for him. But should you be passing on that kind of info?

    For one thing, it makes functional progressions harder to understand and classify.

    On gigs it’s a potential train wreck teaching students to think of that as a I chord, because there’s two common keys for Just Friends, so Bb for one person could be F for another. You end up learning to clarify starting chord as well.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-20-2020 at 07:21 AM.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    My only gripe with Mark's book is his prescription for the scales over minor ii V i such as
    | E-7b5 A7b9 | D- |
    He'll say:
    | play G melodic minor, play Bb melodic minor | play D melodic minor |

    It's great for block chords on a ballad, and like Barry Harris does, but melodically it's not practical at medium or up tempos for horn-like blowing. I very much dislike it in that usage.

    For horn-like line blowing I love the Barry Harris scale prescription for | E-7b5 A7b9 | D- |
    He'll say,
    | play C7 from Bb down to C# | play D-6 dim scale to the 6th | That's a great prescription, right out of the bebop toolbox.

    My teaching is based on the Barry Harris method. But do read Levine for voicings, block chords, re-harmonization, sequences, melodic minor, modes, etc.
    its the most elegant way I’ve come across to handle a minor ii v I.

    You could of course just play Bb melodic minor D melodic minor.

    i do that quite a lot actually. Just ignore the Em7b5 chord.

    Barry uses the tritone (Eb ‘mixolydian’) tritones minor (Bb minor 6-dim) a lot here, so similar if not exactly the same.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly View Post
    Well OP, 13/35 posts from the same guy - you should by now know how your discussion group will pan out.

    I'd be more interested in a study group on Hal Crook's How to Improvise, or The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick. Never managed to stay with either and some of my friends swear by them.

    Now, maybe I should look.
    I’d be *very* interested in doing a study group on the AG.

    I have a physical copy at last. I think each chapter could represent a lot of practice time as they are really open ended, so I think it would be super inspiring to see what people come up with.

  42. #41

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    Hi broturtel

    I do have both actually. I worked my way through The Advancing Guitarist but didn't feel I got much from it. Apart from the skating rink way of thinking though which is great. When I first learned about the relationship between chords and scales I described it as being in 'She' or some Ryder Haggard movie - you're punting a boat about under a mountain with shafts of light helping you navigate (obvs. pitch darkness would ruin the film - and then emerging into the light with all these islands and seas of possibilities in front.

    With Hal Crook I just didn't have the endurance to do what he suggested hour after hour. I thought 'two years?!' Nah. Obviously could have done the book several times since I had it

  43. #42

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    Thomas Regelski has this term I really like ‘methodolatory’

    a lot of jazz books are like ‘do just this for 10 years.’ In fact most musicians I know have just pilfered what they find useful and move on.

  44. #43

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    pilfered what they find useful and move on.
    Quite!

    I did enjoy both Khan books - Pentatonic Khancepts and Chordkhancepts.

    Jazz Guitar Structures by Green was enjoyable but after a while it became one of those books that do the equivalent of showing various melodic minor exercises, say, in all 13 keys. Not too bad though.

    ps. Isn't it more correctly 'jazz books be like'?

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I look at stuff like that and I have to wonder. he clearly has his own way of understanding harmony the works for him. But should you be passing on that kind of info?
    page 21 "theory" book. he goes on and calls *every* minor chord of just friends a II chord.

    reminds me of a student who wrote an etude on all the things and did the same. sounded like crap obv.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I've heard Chord Scale Theory mostly critiqued from the left, where it has a political aspect (TBF most music edu academics are left wing). Usually by critical theorists and cultural studies people. I could post some quotes if you like, but I'll spare you if not lol.
    I for one would like to read a Marxist critique of Chord Scale Theory, for the lols.

    Theodor Adorno's writings on jazz remain at best a puzzle, and to many an acute embarrassment. To jazz historians they merely contain 'some of the stupidest pages ever written about jazz' (Hobsbawm 1993, p. 300) and are generally dismissed without further comment.

    Discuss.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    I for one would like to read a Marxist critique of Chord Scale Theory, for the lols.
    Theodor Adorno's writings on jazz remain at best a puzzle, and to many an acute embarrassment. To jazz historians they merely contain 'some of the stupidest pages ever written about jazz' (Hobsbawm 1993, p. 300) and are generally dismissed without further comment.

    Discuss.
    Would you though? Would you really? I have to haha.

    Adorno hated jazz of course; however this paper is actually quite interesting, if this is your sort of thing. It’s a little deeper than just talking about CST and he makes some really good general points, not least how critical pedagogy/theory types get completely the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the music. I like Louth, he gets jazz.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...08.2012.657163

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly View Post
    Quite!

    I did enjoy both Khan books - Pentatonic Khancepts and Chordkhancepts.

    Jazz Guitar Structures by Green was enjoyable but after a while it became one of those books that do the equivalent of showing various melodic minor exercises, say, in all 13 keys. Not too bad though.

    ps. Isn't it more correctly 'jazz books be like'?
    indeed it should. I am showing my age.

  49. #48

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    The thing with the Levine book is it doesn't have a front page in black letters saying "this book is definitely not for beginners, in fact, you could have a successful career in jazz and not understand 95% of this, and if you can't already play a nice line or a nice chord voicing or play a gig, this book is probably not for you". Instead it's just called "THE Jazz Theory Book".

    I worked through half of it on the piano and it was like a year later I figured out how a minor ii-V worked. I'm sure it was covered in there somewhere but it seems to be layered in layers of complexity. It was like 4 years ago, I can't really remember much about it other than it was needlessly complicated.

  50. #49

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    I think they’d done that they’d have sold even more copies haha.

    ‘ooooh advanced secret knowledge, gimme!’ Some 18 year old dweeb, probably me

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I promise not to spam messages saying how much I hate the Levine theory book
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    A load of messages saying how much I hate the Levine theory book
    lol you just can't help yourself