This is a review of Ed Capuano’s book published in 1978 by Aquarius Publishing Inc.
I couldn’t find much information about jazz guitarist Ed Capuano online except that he was the owner of Rutherford Music Exchange in New Jersey and previously worked at the Sweetest Sounds music store in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Some mention of that here in this jazzguitar.be forum thread.
However in the book itself, there’s more information about Ed:
Ed Capuano first studied guitar with Joe Cinderella and later, attended the Mannes College of Music where he graduated as a theory major. He went on to teach at the John Mehegan School of Jazz, 1963-1964, where the staff included such greats as Zoot Sims, Eddie Gomez, Ken McIntyre and Barry Miles. He has also been with the Nina Simone band, The New York Jazz Ensemble and is presently recording for Laurie Records. He is also a faculty member of the Mannes College of Music in New York.
The book itself is divided into two chapters and has 64 pages.
Ed begins by explaining jazz theory, going into major scales, intervals, diatonic triads and 7th chords in a major scale as well as explaining roman numbers (roman numeral chord symbols).
Then, he goes through drop-3 (although he doesn’t call them that) 7th chord inversions for Cmaj7, C7, Cm7, Cm7b5 and Cdim7. Moving on, he goes into voiceled I VI IV V drop-3 voicings in the key of C before taking in through all 12 keys via a Cycle-5 progression (up in perfect 5ths – key of C, G, D, A and on).
After that, he teaches drop-2 voicings for the same set of chords. He doesn’t however write out all these examples in all twelve keys this time around. Closing chapter one, Ed briefly explains the basics of getting 9th, 13th and 11th chords.
In chapter 2, Ed goes into major scales using 4 different in position scale fingering. Some are familiar though I found his fingering for a 6th string 3rd finger root C major scale with a 4th finger stretch a bit unusual. That being said, I believe Bill Farrish has a similar fingering in his eBooks.
After that, he goes into modes of the major scale before touching briefly on arpeggio fingerings on page 46 and 47. These are pretty cool!
He then goes into whole tone scale and a diminished scale run example. Ed also includes a practical practice routine to internalize the material which is basically to identify and write the scales needed for chords of a song, their respective arpeggios, write your own runs/lines for those, transpose them into different keys and to make sure you memorize the melody and chords of the song. All sound suggestions!
Moving forward, he teaches blues scale fingering (minor pentatonic!). He also included two original blues compositions, “Blues For Joe Cinderella” and “Blue’s For Steve”.
Closing the book there are three chord progressions for the student to apply the practice routine he outlines. The final piece in the book is a modal piece with an intervallic melody with a lot of consecutive fourths (including tritones). This reminds me a bit of that kind of Joe Diorio style lines you might see in Joe’s books.
In conclusion, this book is an interesting book with good material for the aspiring jazz guitarist. It’s a shame that it’s not really a popular book since I feel that the topics discussed are well presented for a guitar book published in 1978. Nowadays it is way easier to find the info in this book but I feel that it would have been a valuable resource especially for that era.
Pros: Good material, relatively well organized and good ideas for someone who wants to start improvising jazz guitar.
Cons: Not so many actual lines, licks or phrases included to give context to how the material comes together.
TLDR: An interesting book for the completist jazz guitar geek who wants to check out a book from 1978. Worth getting if you happen to stumble on a copy of the book at a reasonable price.
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