Book Review: Movable Shapes – Concepts for Reharmonizing ii-V-I’s by Sheryl Bailey

Sheryl Bailey is an extremely prolific musician as a performer, recording artist and also educator. In this post, we look at one of her earlier works. This 2009 book published by Mel Bay is a very practical 40-page book that focuses on helping jazz improvisors develop their ideas to improvise on the common II-V-I chord progression. A staple of jazz, gaining control and fluency over this progression is key for the improvisor to create interesting ideas on jazz standards.

In the first 5 chapters, Sheryl begins with a text introduction explaining the theory concepts of what she uses for the chapter’s examples. Next, she gives 5 voiceled II-V-I chord voicing examples to introduce the sound behind the melodic lines. Finally, the chapters conclude with 20 different II-V-I lines that illustrate how Sheryl weaves interesting phrases using the concepts. This is such an elegant and clear way to teaching the concepts. I feel that it’s very practical and clear.

The final chapter is different than the first five. Chapter 6 concludes with a 6 chorus etude over the changes of ‘Tune Up’ using specific substitutions that she has taught throughout the book. The 6th chorus combines the substitutions for a very colorful ending to the book.

All in all, this deceptively small book provides a lot of great practice material for jazz guitarists interested in developing their II-V-I chops. In addition to playing the written voicings and lines, I definitely feel that the reader would benefit by writing their own lines after assimilating Sheryl’s phrases. This book is very deceptive in terms of the page numbers – it seems like someone could possibly finish the book quickly but I feel that for most readers (myself included), this is probably a book that I would dip in, learn a line or two and then come back to it again and again for new ideas.

 Very systematic and compact. A lot of content in a small volume!
Cons: No left hand fingering suggestion may make it difficult to initially play some of the lines. No CD or audio included.
TLDR: Recommended for guitarists who want to create more colorful II-V-I lines.

How to Buy:
You can buy the book and e-book here:

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[Submissions for Review Consideration]

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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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