This book by Jan Jakut is an interesting exploration of guitar both harmonically and melodically from a contemporary jazz angle. This refelects Jan’s own playing is more influenced by Bill Frisell’s aesthetic using space, clusters and open strings. This is the primary strength of this 23 page book. The title that places the word “Jazz” in parentheses implies the nature of the book which is a guitar book with a jazz slant rather than being a regular jazz guitar book.
Most jazz guitar material tends to focus on either swing, bebop or more intense contemporary jazz playing that includes odd meters, a lot of double time lines and chromatic edgy phrases. With Jan’s work, we are presented with the more impressionistic side of jazz.
Even though it’s labelled as a guitar method, it’s more a guitar method akin to Mick Goodrick’s The Advancing Guitarist or Wayne Krantz’s The Improvisor’s OS. We are presented with voicings, scales, lines, etudes, specific fingerings for 4-part close voicings (with open strings so that they are playable) and augmented with musical excerpts from Jan.
There is heavy contemporary jazz harmony discussion throughout as chord voicings as discussed within their tonal functions as tonic, subdominant & dominant sounds. For anyone coming without a solid music theory background, these explanations may require additional reading or guidance for context.
I believe that this text would be a suitable choice for guitar instructors working with more advanced jazz guitar students who are familiar with standard chord & linear melodic vocabulary. This book would also be a good one for solo guitar instructors who want to expand their student’s harmonic knowledge.
Since Jan mostly performs on electric guitar in his videos, the examples in this book will sound particularly great on solid body electrics (Strats and Teles) as well as modern electric guitar such as a Klein, Suhr or Strandberg.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan of players such as Bill Frisell, John Stowell, Julian Lage, Ben Monder and Ted Greene – this book might be a good addition to your collection. Although short, there is a lot to digest and apply once you transpose the ideas. The key to Jan’s material is to take them and make it your own. For anyone looking for a complete guide from the basics, this might not be the best purchase. However, I believe many intermediate to advanced guitarists can benefit from Jan’s insights and detailed work on this topic.
Pros: Interesting angle on jazz guitar focusing more on modern impressionistic approaches ala’ Bill Frisell.
Cons: At 23 pages, it feels small. Also, the book has a very do it yourself aesthetic without much instruction on how to apply the material.
TLDR: Recommended for more experienced guitarists looking to go beyond standard ways of learning jazz harmony, this book can give you some new ideas of combining open strings, harmonics and interesting harmony for your guitar playing.
You can get the book directly from Jan here:
You can also check out my other reviews of Jan’s books here:
Book Review: Neo Soul Guitar 101 – 2nd Edition by Jan Jakut
Book Review: Concepts for Solo Guitar Performance – 2nd Edition by Jan Jakut
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
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[Submissions for Review Consideration]
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