Book Review: Developing Bebop Lines by Jeff Ellwood


This is such a great book.

If you want to learn how you can create your own bebop lines, Jeff Ellwood has distilled the most important things in this book. This 58 page book is divided to 8 topics:

  • Developing Bebop Lines
  • Major Bebop Scales
  • Resolving V7 to I
  • Altered Bebop Scales
  • Bebop Scales From Non-Primary Chord Tones
  • Combining Diatonic 7ths with Bebop Scales
  • Bebop using 4ths
  • Etudes

Jeff Ellwood shares techniques and lesson that he created for his students in this book. With a combination of text explanations and extremely a lot of written musical examples, the book demystifies the basics of bebop lines.

For the serious student, there’s a lot of suggestions of how to learn the lines and create you own. This is very refreshing than some books that I’ve encountered where the material is too dry and academic. Also, rather than just giving many musical examples, Jeff Ellwood breaks down the elements so that the topics are easily digestible.

As I practice the material, I ended up working on a page for a long time. I particularly love the variety and detail that he goes into. So many of the lines open up new ways of varying and spicing up what I would typically do.

There’s so much value and Jeff Ellwood makes it even easier to see by writing the dominant examples all over G7 and the Major Bebop lines over Cmajor7 in the first 3 chapters. I love the fact that instead of making the book bigger by transposing all the examples in all 12 keys, Jeff Ellwood keeps it compact in this book in one key for entire chapters.

The 6 etudes included are a great part addition to the book as well since it gives more context for combining the different concepts in the book. To close the book, there’s also a great appendix with additional bebop scale exercises, octave displacements of the bebop scales and some bebop lines for fast tempos.

All in all, for USD$15, Jeff gives tremendous value and knowledge for aspiring jazz students interested in the bebop language.

Pros: Lots of examples, clear explanations on how to practice, how the lines and exercises are created and etudes for context
Cons: None.
TLDR: For any instrumentalist, if you want to learn to play bebop and are looking for some practical structure and exercises to augment your transcribing and jams, this is a good book to get.

How to Buy:
You can get the book here:
https://www.jeffellwood.net/developing-bebop-lines.html

Review #18

Book Review: The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist by Sean McGowan

Review #17

Video Review: Essential Percussive Guitar Riffs with Jon Gomm

Review #16

Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

Review #15

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Review #14

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Review #13

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Review #12

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Review #11

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Review #10

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

Review #09

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

Review #08

Course Review: Fundamentals of Picking by Fretboard Anatomy

Review #07

Book Review: Principles of Music by Bryan Baker

Review #06

Book Review: The Tao of Badass Guitar by Ben Higgins

Review #05

Book Review: Bach Scales by Jon De Lucia

Review #04

Book Review: Extended Scale Playing for Guitar by Joe Puma

Review #03

Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev

Review #02

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

Review #01

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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Book Review: The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist by Sean McGowan

There’s a lot of method books for learning jazz guitar. The problems I’ve encountered are a lot of books present the material in a dry manner or far removed from the actual practice of playing and performing jazz.

Personal approaches are what I love nowadays as I look for how an artist approaches learning a style. In this new book by Sean McGowan, he presents an interesting take on learning acoustic jazz guitar.

It’s a big book! Not only is it a 152 page book but it also includes audio examples (mp3 files) and nearly six hours of video! Just that alone blew my mind since it’s arguably more than most DVD and video courses I’ve studied.

The official page describes the book:

Delve deep into the world of jazz guitar with this book of 10 extended lessons from master guitarist Sean McGowan. You’ll learn vocabulary for soloing over essential jazz forms like the 12-bar blues and rhythm changes, as well as virtually any chord progression you encounter. You’ll acquire a broad palette of chord voicings, along with the rhythmic ideas for smart comping. And you’ll absorb techniques for playing everything cleanly and efficiently—not just for jazz but any style.

Lessons include audio and video downloads, as well as standard notation and tablature, for all examples.

This comprehensive guide is available in two different formats:

  • Book and audio/video package. 152 pages with notation and tab, plus free audio downloads—and nearly six hours of accompanying video instruction—for all music examples, performed by Sean McGowan.
  • PDF and audio/video package. Downloadable version featuring the complete written instruction (including standard notation and tablature) from the book, free audio downloads, and nearly six hours of accompanying video instruction, performed by Sean McGowan.

There are 10 chapters which are:

  • Getting Started
  • The Toolbox
  • Thinking Vertically
  • Jazz Guitar Technique
  • Chord Voicings and Comping
  • Modal Improvisation
  • The Chromatic Palette
  • Improvisation: Engineering a Great Solo
  • Rhythm Changes
  • The Blues in Jazz

The book begins with two sections, Gearing Up and Notation Guide. Gearing Up gives an introduction to equipment that a jazz guitarist may need. In the Notation Guide, Sean McGowan gives a primer for sight reading basics and tablature notation.

A nice touch to the book are 5 Preludes which are beautiful miniature compositions that McGowan wrote incorporating various jazz sounds. The 5 Preludes could easily be a small volume by itself. It’s a great example of how you could assemble the material that is covered in the book. No real explanation or breakdown is given for the preludes but I find them a charming addition to the book. They are definitely worth playing and could be great for a solo guitarist’s set or even as etudes for those who might want to find a way to internalise the jazz sounds taught in the book. They also remind me of the solo guitar pieces that are included in the classic Berklee Modern Method for Guitar series by William Leavitt. McGowan’s harmonic sensibility is more modern though which is great.

In the first chapter, Getting Started – McGowan introduces the fundamentals from intervals, triads, seventh chords, major scales, modes and diatonic seventh chords. These are the bread and butter of understanding jazz harmony! There’s enough material here for the newbie to dig into and for the intermediate player to get a good refresher before going into heavier material.

In the second chapter, The Toolbox – McGowan introduces horizontal, symmetrical, vertical – position playing or ‘regions’ as he shares various fingering for scales and arpeggios. This is an extension of the previous chapter as we get away from just the theoretical framework and into a player’s perspective of looking at the guitar fretboard.

For chapter three, Thinking Vertically, McGowan introduces playing through changes with arpeggios. Approach notes, phrasing, space and arpeggio substitutions are introduced in this chapter as we start getting into the real application of what he covered in the previous chapters.

Chapter four, Jazz Guitar Technique presents warm-ups, technical picking exercises, synchronisation exercises, a Bach Invention, an introduction to various picking techniques and exercises/etudes for playing through chord changes. This is a huge topic that I’ve personally studied via many videos and books. It’s good to see how McGowan manages to distill the main technical elements here.

Chapter five, Chord Voicings and Comping is an examination of voicing types, chord voicings including quartal voicings, a summary of common rhythm guitar approaches including some examples for basic bossa nova rhythms too. Closing the chapter is a cool etude over the changes of Body and Soul that provide a harmonic workout using many of the voicing types covered in the chapter.

In the chapter for modal improvisation, McGowan demonstrates 5 etudes including over landmark modal jazz compositions such as ‘So What’, the A section of ‘Green Dolphin Street’, ‘Inner Urge’ and Wayne Shorter’s ‘Fall’. These etudes are a good way to have a feel for the overall vibe of modal music. The serious aspiring jazz musician will benefit from listening and studying to the tunes referenced as they study the material from this chapter. The etudes from this chapter are not my favourite from the book but they do give good ideas to work on.

The Chromatic Palette goes into many practical strategies for navigating through chord changes and including chromaticism in your lines. Common strategies like guide tones are covered and guitaristic ones like ‘Shape Shifting’ and pentatonic superimpositions are discussed as well.

In ‘Improvisation: Engineering a Great Solo‘, McGowan shares ideas for different textures for soloing including using octaves, double stops and block chords. In discussing phrasing, he include concepts like space, density, question and answer, comping, expansion and repetition. In closing the chapter, he shares 2 solo etudes demonstrating his concept of being the architect of a great solo.

Rhythm Changes is covered with an explanation of the chord progression, comping and soloing strategies as well as an etude to demonstrate possible soloing ideas.

In the closing chapter called ‘The Blues in Jazz‘, McGowan shares idiomatic voicings for jazz blues, the chord progressions and how the chord progression becomes a jazz blues via the added chords. He shares both comping and soloing strategies with written examples. The 4 examples from the soloing strategies alone could be the basis of many improvised solo ideas. There’s a lot of deceptively simple looking ideas shared but for the intrepid melodic explorer, you can gain a lot from closely analysing and studying the examples. Closing the chapter and the book are four etudes over different jazz blues progressions.

There’s definitely a blurring of content now with books being accompanied by audio and video. Sometimes in cases like book, it could have been a video course with an accompanying book. I guess it depends on who is selling the product.

All in all though, this is an awesome investment for the aspiring jazz guitarist to get an  overview of the different aspects of developing your acoustic jazz guitar skills.

For jazz guitar teachers, this is a worthwhile addition to your reference library and might even be a good choice for a main textbook for a college level jazz guitar course. There’s more than enough material here for students to work on and the audio/video elements provide tremendous value and help for the student.

Pros: Massive amount of content: 10 chapters of instruction in 152 pages with notation and tab, audio downloads—and nearly six hours of video.
Cons: Downloading the audio and video content was slightly time consuming since the download failed a few times for some files. It was about 6 GB total, 10 video files and a zipped file with all the audio examples.
TLDR: If you’ve been looking for a good and friendly guide to learning jazz guitar, this might be a worthwhile investment. At USD$24.99, you will be getting A LOT of quality material to work with!

How to Buy:
You can get the book here:
https://store.acousticguitar.com/products/the-acoustic-jazz-guitarist

[Read more Reviews]

Video Review: Essential Percussive Guitar Riffs with Jon Gomm

Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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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Video Review: Essential Percussive Guitar Riffs with Jon Gomm

The world needs Jon Gomm’s video.

As I watched Jon Gomm’s new instructional video, I began to realise that this may be the best percussive guitar instructional video I’ve ever watched (and that was only at 17 mins of the 2 hour and 25 minutes).

At that point, he already broke down the best practices for percussive guitar sounds, actual movement, posture, tone production, effective practice techniques, practice philosophy – so many details to get the dynamics and musicality of contemporary percussive guitar playing.

As I progressed through the first riff, so many of the common mistakes I’ve heard myself (and many aspiring percussive guitarists) are addressed and remedies are prescribed. Yes folks, Dr. Gomm is in the house and you are in good (fingerstyle) hands.

The third riff brings me back to memories of studying with Eric Roche in the UK back in 2003. Hearing Jon explain percussive thumb slaps is very refreshing as he explains how he uses them and how the sound came into common practice. Jon also explains the various kick drum sounds that he gets, his personal preferences and why he favours some sounds.

In the fourth riff, Jon addresses the common mistakes of many percussive guitarists (I won’t share it here, you gotta watch the video to learn about those).

As I continued to watch the video, (over several sessions to experience the entire 2 hours and 25 minutes of insights), I learned so much about Jon’s approach to percussive guitar. I learned about the fine details of many different percussive sounds available on the guitar (bongo, kick, snare, rimshot, sidestick), tapping, slapping, bending, groove, harmonics, posture, fingerstyle strumming, two hand coordination, movement details and most importantly the thought process behind all this.

The special thing about this video is that Jon has essentially created 10 riffs that allow us to learn the techniques that he used in his own compositions. These compact riffs summarise the techniques he uses. The format of the video is very well thought out as well. This is the mark of an experienced performer and educator. I’m very happy that more guitarists can now experience Jon’s teaching. I still remember practice tips he shared at Thomas Leeb’s Acoustic Guitar Bootcamp years ago. I also remember fondly having the opportunity to jam with Jon and being absolutely inspired by his playing and kindness. Now, even if you haven’t met Jon in person, you can have a glimpse of him as a person beyond the amazing YouTube videos and concert footage that you may have seen.

There are so many good things about the video – the immense depth and detail that Jon goes into as he teaches the techniques, the beautifulmusical riffs he composed for the video and his charming personality with his sense of humour.

This is truly a labour of love.

With the amazing audio and video production quality courtesy of Tom Quayle, Jon Gomm has indeed opened up the door to his sonic universe for us to learn. If you’re at all interested to play percussive guitar but never tried the style, this will keep you busy for awhile. For more experienced players in the style, you may discover details that you may have overlooked especially if you’re self taught. Along with the slowed down examples, close up, detailed explanations and accompanying tab PDF, the serious percussive guitarist will have many tools to improve their playing.

All I have to say after checking out the video is that I need to learn these riffs. Thanks Jon!

Pros: Great riffs composed by Jon for this course. Great video and audio production by Tom Quayle, extremely good and clear instruction from Jon, and accompanying PDF notation with tab provides an amazing instructional experience.
Cons: None.
TLDR: I think this is the single best introductory percussive guitar course ever created (that I’ve personally experienced). If you are into this style, buy it now and start practicing.

How to Buy:
Get it from Jon himself here:
https://jongomm.com/lessons
If you get the course, please say hi to Jon for me.

I received a review copy of the course from Jon. Thank you Jon!

[Read more Reviews]

Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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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Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

This is the first video from Jay Umble that I’ve studied and it’s a gem. In this video, Jay explores his personal approach to creating strong minor lines. Over the 83 minutes of video and 10 pages of PDF examples, many ideas are explored.

On the website, the video description says:

In this class Jay not only demonstrates many minor 7th line ideas but goes beyond the typical lick format by sharing his personal approach to improvisation as it relates to the minor 7th tonality.  In addition to the licks, Jay discusses and demonstrates concepts such as:

  • set-ups
  • substitutions
  • arpeggios
  • random start points
  • inside/outside playing
  • chromaticism
  • symmetrical forms
  • directing the line form
  • connecting the positions
  • playing with intent and more

I particularly like how Jay presents his ideas in a very conversational way. The video is so rich with content that it made me feel I needed to watch the segments multiple times to get the full benefit.

His approach thinking about each position as a space for different line possibilities reminds me of Pat Martino’s work. This makes sense since I read that Jay had studied with Pat Martino and Joe Diorio. The Joe Diorio side of things reveals itself when Jay chooses to play more intervallic ideas within the same position. I can sense the lineage of his playing but Jay also has his own strong sense of identity. As with all the players I usually like, his strong melodic sense shines and attracted me to this video. In addition to the strong melodic ideas, Jay also demonstrated some sweep picking ideas via different one note per string lines.

With the use of chromaticism, he talks about lines gravitating towards somewhere and not having a clear idea of ‘correct notes’. To him, all notes are possible choices in creating lines over the chords. All in all it’s very interesting ideas as he demonstrates combining intervallic ideas along with more scalar chromatic tinged lines. He also discuss how to get to the point of resolving ideas even if you start on a ‘wrong note’.

In the 3rd section, he talks about ‘set-ups’ – different strategies to lead into a target note creating interesting chromaticism as the lines moves. In the 4th section, Jay shares some ideas to connect the areas of the neck while still being in the G minor tonality.

This is my first Jay Umble master class purchase and I’m extremely impressed and inspired. There’s a lot of good stuff here and I particularly like how Jay gives so many musical examples throughout the entire video. There’s a lot of interesting concepts that he introduces in between the main points including ‘setups’ and various ways to add chromatic ideas into the lines.

There are also 40 different lines (within funk and swing rhythmic context) that is included in the 10 pages of PDFs that I’ll be checking out to understand more about his approach as well.

Thank Jay & Mike’s Masterclasses for making such an awesome video.

Pros: Great solid lines and concepts with A LOT of examples played in the video. Written examples complement the video too.
Cons: Jay explains in a free form manner at times so you have to catch the points or examples as it occurs.
TLDR: If you’re an intermediate or advanced player looking to get more involved minor lines with chromaticism, check out this video!

How to Buy:
This course is available here on the Mike’s Master Classes website, one of a series of Jay Umble videos currently available. There is a rent option (limited time streaming only access) as well as a download version. The video is full of so much content so I recommend buying the download version for long term practice.

[Read more Reviews]

Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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? 🙂

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

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Mary Halvorson Guitar Style – Composing, Improvising and Creative Approaches

I’m a huge fan of Mary Halvorson’s work and immense creative output. She’s one of the musicians that I would love to catch live in concert in the near future. So far I haven’t managed to catch her live or take a lesson with her yet.

This post (2nd in a series featuring different guitarists, first one on Nile Rodgers here) collects some of the most interesting music, interviews, lessons, articles and podcasts that I’ve found on her work. If you’re a fan or curious about her music or approach to music, I hope this post will help you find some new ideas. I will be going through these as well.

Have fun.

Music:

Her latest album, Code Girl:
https://open.spotify.com/album/1OFdg07N5rkshEfPbTLjnB

Interviews and Lessons:

Interviews:

The New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/arts/music/mary-halvorson-away-with-you-interview.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/arts/music/05halv.html

NPR:
https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/04/03/598886127/mary-halvorson-re-engineered-jazz-guitar-now-shes-hacking-her-own-code
https://www.npr.org/2016/11/27/503446419/why-mary-halvorson-sounds-like-no-other-guitarist

National Endowment of the Arts:
https://www.arts.gov/art-works/2017/art-talk-guitarist-mary-halvorson

Rolling Stone:
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/guitar-trailblazer-mary-halvorson-turns-jazz-on-its-head-20151124

Premier Guitar:
https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/23140-mary-halvorson-theres-something-about-mary

BOMB Magazine:
https://bombmagazine.org/articles/mary-halvorson/

Bandcamp Daily:
https://daily.bandcamp.com/2016/11/14/mary-halvorson-interview/

Textura:
https://www.textura.org/archives/interviews/fivequestions_halvorson.htm

Avant Music News:
https://avantmusicnews.com/2017/07/13/mary-halvorson-interview-and-village-vanguard-preview/

At Length Mag:
http://atlengthmag.com/music/electric-fruit/

Jazz Times
https://jazztimes.com/departments/artist-profiles/mary-halvorson-fractured-guitar/

Spectrum Culture:
http://spectrumculture.com/2013/01/08/interview-mary-halvorson-pt-1/
http://spectrumculture.com/2013/01/09/interview-mary-halvorson-pt-2/
http://spectrumculture.com/2018/04/19/mary-halvorson-code-girl-review/

The Jazz Gallery Residency Commissions: Mary Halvorson Speaks
http://www.jazzspeaks.org/the-jazz-gallery-residency-commissions-mary-halvorson-speaks/

Wire Playlist: Mary Halvorson
https://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/wire-playlist-mary-halvorson

Podcasts:

Positively Underground
https://positivelyunderground.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/the-uncoverables-podcast-mary-halvorson-interview/

“Talk Music Talk with boice” Mary Halvorson Podcast Interview 135
https://soundcloud.com/thisisboice/talk-music-talk-with-boice-mary-halvorson-podcast-interview-135

 

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Video Review: 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes by Randy Johnston

Randy Johnston is one of my favourite bebop jazz guitarists with an amazing command of the blues. Having seen Randy perform live earlier this year at the Thailand International Jazz Conference cemented my immense respect for his musical chops. I also managed to take a private lesson with him which was very helpful. Knowing that he has a series of videos on Mike’s Master Classes allowed me to keep learning from him at my own pace again and again.

This course is a great way to spend an hour with Randy, virtually! It’s pretty much what the description says with Randy going through 8 different Jazz Blues changes from bebop to Coltrane along with tritone subs and a lot of the classic jazz sounds we’ve heard on records. The changes are notated in the accompanying PDF file but the solos and lines are not transcribed. So, that’s up to us to transcribe if we hear something cool. Randy delivers the course in a friendly manner with clear theory explanations when needed too.

If you feel like you’ve been repeating the same subs during your jazz blues solos, check out this video for some ideas to spice things up. To learn, you can just play along with Randy (many times on the same changes if you’d like) to internalise the sounds and time feel too. I’ve gone through it once so far and can see myself repeating it to get more out of it.

Pros: Friendly, logical, conversational presentation makes this video very accessible!
Cons: None.
TLDR: Wanna learn jazz blues chord changes? Need an hour-long practice routine? Get this video now.

How to Buy:
This course is available here on the Mike’s Master Classes website, one of a series of Randy Johnston videos currently available. There is a rent option (limited time streaming only access) as well as a download version. The video works great as a play-along practice session so I recommend buying the download version for long term development.

[Read more Reviews]

Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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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Book Review: The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords by Alex Rogowski


Alex Rogowski is a creative mind that I have admired for many years now via his blogs and now website called A Guitarist’s Notebook. In addition to numerous transcriptions, lessons, harmonic and melodic explorations – his work is not for the timid. Alex goes deep into advanced harmonic territory for the serious jazz and/or music nerd.

This is his first book (181 pages, spiral bound) that was released in 2009. Since then, he has also written another book called Scales (which I also like and own a copy of) but is officially unreleased yet.

To begin, let’s check out Alex’s own description of the book’s contents:

The Thesaurus of Scale Tone Chords presents the gamut of fundamental chord forms from the quintessential harmonic scales. Specifically, making no distinction for notes of the same name in different octaves, every permutation of triads and tetrads which can be derived from the Major, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Major, Double Harmonic Major, and the Augmented, Dominant Diminished and Whole Tone scales has been included.

Additionally, a unique system of identifying various chord types is employed allowing for easy cross referencing.

The book is divided into four sections:

  • Preface (Introduction and General Guide)
  • The Heptatonic Scale Tone Chords
  • The Symmetric Scale Tone Chords
  • Reference

This book is essentially what it calls itself, it’s a thesaurus – therefore it provides organised raw musical materials for the creative musician to explore and use. As I experienced the book, I found that reading through the examples opened up different sounds and interval combinations for my comping and improvisation. I found favourites over time and certain chord voicings that I didn’t usually use. The book is organised by on the diatonic intervals separating each voicing therefore allowing the experienced musician to hear the sounds as different chords and function in different ways depending on context. More commonly, books tend to give either the most obvious name for a chord or explore a small number of common chords/voicings and list their enharmonic possibilities.

This book doesn’t do that. It lists without judging or prescribing. This very structure allows an open ended approach to use the book. In a way, as a gamer I kind of look at this book as an open world RPG – you can go anywhere you want, if you wanted to.

If you’re a fan of books like Slonimsky’s Thesaurus Of Scales And Melodic Patterns, Mick Goodrick’s Almanac of Guitar Voice-Leading series or Wayne Krantz’s The Improvisor’s OS, this is a book that I would recommend to add to your collection for long term study and musical exploration.

Pros: A LOT of good material and ideas.
Cons: None. Well, some assembly required.
TLDR: This is a book that can open up a lot of different creative harmonic possibilities. It’s Do-It-Yourself book so if you’re up for the challenge, this book may provide hours of fun and exploration.

How to Buy:
You can get the book directly from Alex here:
http://www.aguitaristsnotebook.com/publications

[Read more Reviews]

Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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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Video Review: Bebop Flow – Connecting Harmonic Concepts with the Family of 4 by Sheryl Bailey

From Mike’s Master Classes is this interesting instructional video from jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey. I first heard of Sheryl from my time as a student at Berklee College of Music. I was a fan of her first self-published book, The chord rules : a handbook toward mastery of jazz improvisation for the guitarist which was at that point available in the Stan Getz Library at Berklee. Later on, I discovered the amazing work she did via Mike’s Master Classes, another book on Mel Bay as well as her Truefire courses.

Getting back on track on this particular instructional video, this is a course that I’ve gone through several times over the years. I’ve actually also attended Sheryl’s live workshop at The Jazz School (now called The California Jazz Conservatory) on the topic when I was living in California which was amazing. This video provides the same material as the live workshop and goes at a good pace for the aspiring bebop guitarist. Sheryl is a passionate educator and her enthusiasm for the subject shines through the video.

I can say that this video is a real gem for those interested in getting the “flow”. Sheryl Bailey shares her approach to practicing and developing strong sounding bebop lines and gives specific examples to demonstrate the concept. This is a lesson from a real performer so it’s real practical application rather than just theory! Some bebop lessons that I’ve encountered at times tend to be dry and removed from the melodic flow and intensity of the real music.

The best part for me is the accompanying PDF files that she uses as the basis for the demonstrations. It really helps me to study the ideas, pausing the video after she plays the examples so I can digest the sound and the fingerings for the lines. Sheryl refers to the handouts and this is helpful in pacing as well as creating a clear format for the class.

For anyone interested in developing bebop chops, this is a good investment to help develop your skills.

Pros: Great course, good notes. Also, if you buy the video and not rent it, you get unlimited streaming and you can redownload the file too.
Cons: Video resolution is not HD as this is an older video. This however, doesn’t detract from the quality of the content.
TLDR: If you’re into bebop guitar and want to learn to play long flowing lines, get this video now, watch it, take notes and start shedding.

How to Buy:
This course is available here on the Mike’s Master Classes website, one of 12 videos from Sheryl Bailey currently available. There is a rent option (limited time streaming only access) as well as a download version. Personally, I would recommend the download version as there’s a lot of material to digest for most guitarists new to this topic and approach.

[Read more Reviews]

Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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? 🙂

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

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Book Review: Improvising Without Scales – The Intervallic Guitar System of Carl Verheyen

First released in 2005, this 32-page book with CD/Online Audio (depending whether you get the old/new physical book or e-book) is a documentation of Carl Verheyen’s approach to creating and organizing melodic lines for improvisation. He attributes this approach to  a lesson he took with Joe Diorio. Joe introduced him to the idea or keeping an ongoing musical diary or lick book to document musical ideas that sounded like your own.

The way I look at it, the book is divided into two main sections:
1. The concept/way of thinking
2. The licks/lines

In the first section, there are 7 subtopics that introduce Carl Verheyen’s thought process, way of looking at different intervals and melodic direction. In the second section, there are three chapters on major, minor and dominant lines. For each chord type, he gives 20 examples each to demonstrate different kinds of lines that he would play on each chord type. He ends the book with a coda section giving some closing thoughts on how someone could move ahead after completing the book.

This book is kind of a rock/fusion/jazz extension of Joe Diorio’s books such as his classic work, Intervallic Designs for Jazz Guitar. Is it just a lick book? Depends on how you look at it. To me, it’s not. Because of how Carl has organised the material and with his own initial explanation prior to the licks, it gives context for the adventurous and curious guitarist to get new ideas. If you’re just looking for some quick licks, you can still benefit from this book but not in an optimum way.

The cool part of the book also are the audio examples. These are presented in a musical context with rhythm section parts and Carl playing them with his distinctive tone. Hearing Carl play the lines adds a lot to the book so be sure to listen to the audio as you study the book to get the most benefit.

Pros: Logically organised, systematic concise book. Audio examples are very helpful to hear how Carl plays the lines in context.
Cons: Feels like it could be longer, until you start trying the lines then you realise, wait a sec – there’s A LOT here!
TLDR: Wanna get out from playing scalar lines? Wanna use more varied intervals and create longer lines than span the fretboard? Get this book and then start practicing!

How to Buy:
The book is available via Mel Bay:
Physical Book
E-Book
and Amazon.

[Read more Reviews]

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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? 🙂

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

* indicates required


 

Course Review: Liquid Fire Legato by Nick Layton


Are you ready to rock?

Check out Liquid Legato Fire, a course is for rock and metal guitarists interested in developing their legato chops within a rock context. This is a very packed course with different materials to help you develop rock legato chops.

It’s made by Nick Layton, a professional guitarist, recording artist and teacher based in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Nick is also the lead guitarist and co-founder of the USA melodic metal band FireWolfe.

What’s in the course?

This is what you get in Liquid Fire Legato:

  • 3 hours of video demonstration & instruction
  • Mp3 files demonstrating all the licks taught in the course
  • A 40 page e-Book (PDF File)
  • 45 legato licks in the style of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Richie Kotzen, Warren DeMartini and many more
  • 3 jam tracks for Lydian, Dorian, Phrygian Dominant and Aeolian modes
  • Scale Diagrams for all scales used in this course
  • Guitar Pro and individual PDF files for all 45 licks

There are 3 chapters in the e-book, each with 15 licks. Everything includes audio examples as mp3 files and videos demonstrating and breaking down the licks. An overview of each chapter explaining the provided backing track and scale possibilities is included before the actual lick demonstration and explanation videos. Nick is generous by giving the material in multiple formats to fit the needs of different guitarists. I know that a number of my students are fan of Guitar Pro so they would definitely welcome the GP files to help them practice the licks, change the tempo etc. For me, I usually enjoy scanning through the book first, then listen to the audio examples before watching the video for the lick that I’m interested to practice.

The format works great because you can choose the scale you’d like to explore and easily dig into the licks for study. Unless typical collections of licks with audio examples (fast and slow) e-books, Nick goes the extra mile to explain where the licks are derived, how to play them and how to practice them to develop your own ideas. There is also enough variety to help most guitar players find something new to challenge and develop their playing.

My favourite aspect of the course is how musical the ideas are. Over the years of buying and studying instructional material, I’ve grown fond of teachers who learn from transcribing and filter their interpretation of common stylistic traits into licks that are very compact but are filled with melodic and creative depth.

The first chapter covers a variety of Lydian licks that are reminiscent of 90s Satriani classic sounds. Playing these licks, you’ll get some good musical workouts to develop your vocabulary within the style. In the video breakdowns, Nick explains how to practice the lick and how it’s constructed as well.

The second chapter goes on a more minor bluesy shred angle with Dorian licks tinged with pentatonic and blues flavours. This chapter will give the hardworking guitarists some great ideas for sequences and runs to kick your soloing up a notch for those minor key rock jams. For myself, I found myself labelling my favourite licks for further study by assigning colour tags on the files on my computer.

The third chapter is an exploration of Phrygian and Phrygian dominant sounds that remind me more of the 1980s shred era. For fans of these classic rock and metal runs, you’ll get a lot of ideas spanning the fretboard with various subdivisions. Some of the runs remind me of Malmsteen inspired runs but played more legato.

A lot of the licks in the course included cover the gamut of more precisely timed legato playing as well at the more lyrical “floating time” legato playing. All in all, I would definitely see this course being very useful for rockers in general and guitarists in other styles who are curious about the vocabulary. The course is definitely a style specific course though from a technical perspective would benefit any curious electric guitarist.

Pros: Video, Audio, PDF, Guitar Pro files – the course gives you many ways to consume and digest the material. This isn’t your old school VHS and paper handout rock video. Nick also gives very specific practice suggestions, backing tracks, drones and the included scale diagrams are likely to be helpful for guitarists who are new to the scale and mode fingerings in this style.

Cons: The main e-book layout has the notation not optimised for the PDF size so it’s smaller than I expected & has different page sizes for the some sections. However since this is digital media, you can easily zoom it to read the notation. Also, on the flip side – each of the licks also come in individual Guitar Pro and PDF files so that may be a good way to study each lick visually.

TLDR:
If you’re into 80s and 90s rock & metal style legato playing, get this course. You’ll learn a lot of idiomatic classic sounding licks and develop your chops in the process.

How to Buy:
The course is currently on promo sale for USD$44 (Regular price USD$59) and is available here: https://nicksguitardojo.com/products/liquid-fire-legato

To explore Nick’s entire course catalog, go to:
http://nicksguitardojo.com

To have a feel for Nick’s teaching style and materials, get his free Sweep Picking Bootcamp ebook here: http://www.melodicfireleadguitar.com

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. Thanks Nick!

[Read more Reviews]

Video Review: Dave Hill – Motif Development (Jazz Guitar Society)

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

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? 🙂

Join my newsletter to get more guitar playing tips & lessons!

* indicates required