Book Review: A Guide to Developing a Chromatic Approach to Improvisation by Tony Greaves

This is an interesting piece of work coming from Tony Greaves, a guitarist and educator that I’ve been following for some time. His Triad Pairs Facebook page focuses on the triad pair concepts for creating jazz lines. Tony is releasing, ‘Triad Pairs- The First Step’ next month in June. Since he’s releasing a new book, I decided to write a review of this book that was released mid of last year.

It’s not just a book but is a whole workshop for beginner and intermediate guitar players to develop a chromatic approach within the bebop language. When you purchase this, you will receive:

  • 23 page E-book (PDF)
  • 36 minute video lesson
  • 36 minute audio lesson (the audio part of the video)
  • No Apology (audio file)

The highlight for me is the 36 minute video that accompanies the E-book. In fact, I feel that watching the video with the e-book open (and your guitar in hand) is the best way to go through the material. Tony has a very friendly conversational style to teaching that makes it accessible for someone new to this topic.

The etude entitled ‘No Apology’ (which is over the changes of “Ornithology” by Charlie Parker) is dissected and explained bar by bar in the video much like music college jazz improvisation class explanation. That means it’s pretty cool and is very likely to be helpful for those who are curious about the building blocks of the solo. The fact that Tony has applied the concepts over an actual jazz standard chord progression makes it a very practical work rather than just an abstract theory based text on chromatic jazz improvisation.

The etude is filled with bebop vocabulary that sound great! Many of the lines are worth transposing and learning as well in addition to being learned in its entirety.

TLDR: If you’re curious about how to create chromatic lines, this package is a good introduction to the topic. If you’re open to Tony’s practice suggestions, the exercises and etudes can help you develop your skills.
PROS: Great video and Audio content in addition to the e-book. In fact, it’s probably really a video lesson as a feature with the added material.
CONS: E-book feels like it could be longer a bit.

You can get the book here:
https://allegedartist.wordpress.com/store/

[Read more Reviews]

Course Review: Fundamentals of Picking by Fretboard Anatomy

Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

Book Review: The Tao of Badass Guitar by Ben Higgins

Book Review: Bach Scales by Jon De Lucia

Book Review: Extended Scale Playing for Guitar by Joe Puma

Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev

Book Review: Voicing Modes – A Chord Voicing Approach to Hearing and Practicing Modes by Noel Johnston

Book Review: The Outside Sounds and Substitutions of Modern Saxophonists for Jazz Guitar by Kevin Miller

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
  • Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
  • Would you like me to review your book/course?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.

Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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Course Review: Fundamentals of Picking by Fretboard Anatomy

Welcome to my first course review!

In previous posts, we’ve looked at books but this time, it’s something special created by Josh Frets of Fretboard Anatomy. This is my impression of a extremely interesting picking technique course, Fundamentals of Picking.

This is a 7 unit course that contains text based instruction (with the user experience cross between reading a book and a blog post) augmented with animated gifs, short video clips, tabbed exercises and examples as well as audio for the musical examples. The experience is very comfortable as the material is organised and designed for easy consumption.

Josh divides it up to these 7 units, consisting of 42 lessons, with 244 short examples:

  1. Overview & Setup
  2. Technique #1: Downward Pick Slanting
  3. Technique #2: Upward Pick Slanting
  4. Technique #3: Two-Way Pick Slanting
  5. Technique #4: Crosspicking
  6. Technique #5: Hybrid Picking
  7. Technique #6: Chicken Picking

From chapter 2 onwards, it’s designed to be consumed within a week. Although this is the recommended rate, I would imagine that going through the course once would prove to be a good overview of the different picking workouts. Then, a serious player could focus into certain unit or exercises to really hone in their skills.

If you’ve ever checked out Troy Grady’s Cracking The Code series, the terminology used should be familiar to you. If not, this course actually is a really good way to get your feet wet in what is becoming common guitar technique terms. As a huge Troy Grady fan, I find that Josh has managed to distill the most important points that Troy has uncovered in his research. Josh personality and enthusiasm for teaching does come through in the instruction as well which is great!

The strongest material in the course for me are the first 4 technique units, with Downward Pick Upward Slanting, Two-Way Pick Slanting and Crosspicking. The hybrid picking unit is a good as an introduction though personally I would recommend Martin Miller’s course for a more in depth look on that. This does reflect the title of the course “Fundamentals of Picking” so it does make sense.

The Chicken Picking unit was also highly educational for me since I’ve never really studied that technique formally. Josh gives a lot of musical exercises that have been giving me new ideas for my own music. That unit alone is invaluable for any guitarists who have heard of the technique (like myself) but don’t really understand what makes it tick.

With this course, there are a lot of exercises! Everything is organised in manageable chunks so that you can work on one thing and refine that one thing . I think that’s the main problem with modern education in general it’s not about finding information anymore but it’s about finding someone who can filter out and give you the best material. Having the curation aspect and having a guided approach is invaluable. Of course you can find this on your own if you are someone very interested and invested. However, having Josh share his work here can help save you a lot of time!

That’s what I found with the Fundamentals of Picking course.

Sometimes I will buy a course by a famous guitar player and just not know where to start because there’s so much stuff in it! Sometimes with some courses, there is no system in place for you to digest the material. With some courses, it can be a long term 6 month to 2 year commitment to digest the material. With Fundamentals of Picking, the material is more accessible. This is something that you can go through over 6 weeks and see improvement in your technique (as long as you commit to Josh’s practice suggestions).

The other cool thing with this course is access to the Josh’s Trello board. Trello is a list/board app that helps you to track what you’ve been working on & how your progress has been. In addition to the actual notated exercises, you can also listen to the musical examples as well within the app. This is super important because this helps you focus your practice time instead of randomly trying out exercises. 

Who is this course for: If you’re looking for picking material to practice and you just want short exercises with a system in place – this may be a worthwhile investment! If you like a systematic approach to practicing this will be a good course for you. If you’re looking for a miracle solution, this is not it.

For those unfamiliar with Troy Grady’s material, this is a good introduction to it because he manages to organise it in a way that is digestible. For more advanced and technically proficient guitarists, if you’re curious about examining picking options, Josh’s course is very well done.

I would also recommend this course for guitar teachers looking for material for their students. So far, I’ve already recommended this to one of my Skype guitar students and she has already bought this course since then!

Pros: Great material, well organised with text, notated examples, video, audio, access to Trello practice resources and includes strategies to practice the material. Josh is also very responsive via e-mail so there is author support which is cool!
Cons: 
Not as much video content compared to some other courses I’ve used.
TLDR: If you’re looking to improve your picking technique in a systematic way, this is a useful resource to have. At USD$49, it’s more expensive than a typical book or instructional DVD but there’s also a lot more material that you’ll get. If you maximise the exercises and follow the practice suggestions, you can really improve your picking technique.

I received free access to the course. Thank you Josh!

How to Buy:
Enroll in the online course here:
https://fretboardanatomy.com/course/picking/

[Read more Reviews]

Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

Book Review: The Tao of Badass Guitar by Ben Higgins

Book Review: Bach Scales by Jon De Lucia

Book Review: Extended Scale Playing for Guitar by Joe Puma

Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev

Book Review: Voicing Modes – A Chord Voicing Approach to Hearing and Practicing Modes by Noel Johnston

Book Review: The Outside Sounds and Substitutions of Modern Saxophonists for Jazz Guitar by Kevin Miller

[Submissions for Review Consideration]

  • Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
  • Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
  • Would you like me to review your book/course?

Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:

For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.

Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!

I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p

NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig? 🙂

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Nile Rodgers Guitar Style – Picking Technique, Songwriting, Jazz Influences & More

Back in 2013, I met Nile Rodgers via his Red Bull Music Academy event in Kuala Lumpur. I felt extremely fortunate to be able to ask him some advice on his playing approach, picking technique and watch him play up close right in front of me. Here are two clips that Yin recorded of the session, followed by some of coolest masterclass footage + videos that I’ve found really helpful for me to improve my approach in funk/R&B settings inspired by Nile’s playing. Enjoy!

Thank you Mr. Nile Rodgers for being such an amazing influence + inspiration to so many musicians all around the world! 🙂

Sample of his work over the years:

Masterclasses/Workshops:

 

Two cool interview videos + transcriptions of the interviews:

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/lectures/nile-rodgers-turn-the-other-chic

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/lectures/nile-rodgers-turn-the-other-chic-2

 

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Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
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Learning Gypsy Jazz: Part 7 – Gypsy Picking Technique Resources

Gypsy picking technique was really confusing to me for a long time, even after buying quite a lot of lesson videos (and getting Michael Horowitz landmark book) about the topic. It was only fairly recently that it started to make more sense to me. Excluding paid products/resources & in person lessons/workshops I’ve had with Denis Chang & Antoine Boyer recently at the Taipei Gypsy Jazz Festival 2018, these are some of the most helpful videos I’ve found.

I would recommend watching them in the order I’ve listed here.

  • If you only watch one video, watch the first Dani Rabin video below.
  • If you watch 4 videos, watch the first four videos.
  • If you get more time, watch all the Christiaan Van Hemert videos below. All of them are good & require more time to go through but are definitely worth the time especially if you take notes as you watch them.

Have you found any other videos that have helped you?

Please let me know as I really appreciate any help and guidance especially in this topic from more experienced players, students, teachers and performers! 🙂

====

Clément Reboul Lesson

Dani Rabin from Marbin

 

Christiaan Van Hemert YouTube Lessons:

Become a patron on my Patreon page:
https://www.patreon.com/azsamad

Get my New Cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police“ out now!
iTunes :
https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book

Get lesson packs here:
http://www.azsamad.com/lessonpacks

Spotify : (Follow me on spotify!)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0un3T4wxL3rst2M05iVH0r

And for all my albums:
https://azsamad.bandcamp.com/

Follow Az Samad for latest updates :

Facebook :
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Cool Guitar Videos Part 7

I used to do this series back in 2016 and am now bringing this back.

I realised that I discover all these cool videos with tons of lines and ideas that inspire me & that I’d like to transcribe. Day after day all these videos appear and then disappear because other videos on my Facebook timeline. This is my attempt to archive the videos so I can study the ideas and find them again.  Check it out. =)

This is Part 7.
Part 6 was here.
Part 5 was here.
Part 4 was here.
Part 3 was here.
Part 2 was here.
Part 1 was here.

 

[Groove/Funk/Jazz]

[R&B]

[Jazz]

 

[Lesson on Tone]

[Lesson on Octave Displacement]

[Gypsy Jazz]

 

[Bluegrass]

 

 

[Classical Guitar]

 

Become a patron on my Patreon page:
https://www.patreon.com/azsamad

Get my New Cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police“ out now!
iTunes :
https://itunes.apple.com/my/album/karma-police-single/1305517964

Get my e-book “Jazz Improvisation Uncovered” here:
http://www.azsamad.com/book

Get lesson packs here:
http://www.azsamad.com/lessonpacks

Spotify : (Follow me on spotify!)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0un3T4wxL3rst2M05iVH0r

And for all my albums:
https://azsamad.bandcamp.com/

Follow Az Samad for latest updates :

Facebook :
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Learning Gypsy Jazz: Documenting the Process Part 6

[Click here for Part 1 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 2 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 3 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 4 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 5 of this blog post]

This is a pretty cool series from Dani Rabin of Marbin where he teaches classic gypsy jazz songs:

How to play Nuages

Notes:
Chord Progression for Nuages:
Eb7 D7b9 G
Eb7 D7b9 G

B7 Em6/9
A7 D7 Eb7 D7

Eb7 D79 G
Ab7 G7 C

Cm G
Eb7 D7b9 G

All of Me

Summertime

Minor Swing

Check out the band’s updates here:
https://www.facebook.com/marbinmusic

Learning Gypsy Jazz: Documenting the Process Part 5

[Click here for Part 1 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 2 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 3 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 4 of this blog post]

Some licks I was working on:

https://www.soundslice.com/slices/pwNcc/

Here are cool videos from Denis Chang:

A great set of extended backing tracks from Christiaan van Hemert’s YouTube channel:

Hot Club of Thailand with special guest Jason Anick!

All this study and research is all leading up to my performance at No Black Tie with the wonderful Denis Chang!

Book your tickets now here:
https://www.noblacktie.com.my/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-search=gypsy+jazz

Click here for the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1609867799080363/

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

Learning Gypsy Jazz: Documenting The Process Part 4

[Click here for Part 1 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 2 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 3 of this blog post]

This whole post is pretty some of the most recent cool lessons I’ve found from Christiaan van Hemert, as much as I could locate on the van Hemert System. Great stuff and very inspiring, logical and great sounding lines. Along with Denis Chang, Yaakov Hooter and Robin Nolan’s material, I think these are some of the most practical and useful gypsy jazz guitar instructional material I’ve located online. Practice sold separately LOL.

I plan to post some of the licks and ideas I’ve practiced as part of the upcoming posts. I have to – because if not this is just all theory + resources, not documented practice!

Rhythm Workshop Preview – Django Fest North West 2017

Authentic Improvisation Workshop – Django Fest North West 2017

Check out his Patreon page here:
https://www.patreon.com/ChristiaanvanHemert

 

All this study and research is all leading up to my performance at No Black Tie with the wonderful Denis Chang!

Book your tickets now here:
https://www.noblacktie.com.my/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-search=gypsy+jazz

Click here for the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1609867799080363/

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

Learning Gypsy Jazz: Documenting the Process Part 3

[Click here for Part 1 of this blog post]
[Click here for Part 2 of this blog post]

I realise as I worked more and more on this style, a few things seem to be a common thread – i.e most useful and effective in learning the style:
1. Learn the melodies by ear and get the nuances from a great performer’s version
2. Learn one lick at a time, understand it and make sure you know the fingering clearly. Most importantly, learn to play the lick in time
3. Practice with good backing tracks and start using the licks
4. Play confidently, it helps with the time feel and vibe
5. Memorise all these things, as much as possible

The videos and links below are the most useful ones I’ve checked out since the last post.

Minor Blues

GET READY!

Support Materials for 24 Gypsy Jazz Standards

This is all leading up to my performance at No Black Tie with the wonderful Denis Chang!

Book your tickets now here:
https://www.noblacktie.com.my/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-search=gypsy+jazz

Click here for the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1609867799080363/

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

Learning Gypsy Jazz: Documenting the Process Part 2


[Click here for Part 1 of this blog post]

In this post, I share more cool resources I’ve found – some of these are pretty geeky but that’s exactly why they’re cool. Most of these links are from Denis Chang or his music school FB page, DC Music School.

Gypsy Jazz Guitar Technique: Wasso’s Waltz

And here are some versions of the songs that I’ve listened to in order to learn the music:

A great lesson from Stephane Wrembel about the importance of learning melodies:

And Yaakov teaches how to spice up your melody playing:

And a cool soloing lesson from Yaakov Hoter about what he learned about Django’s soloing style:

This is all leading up to my performance at No Black Tie with the wonderful Denis Chang!

Book your tickets now here:
https://www.noblacktie.com.my/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-search=gypsy+jazz

Click here for the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1609867799080363/

Hope to see you there! 🙂