This book by guitarist Warren Nunes from 1976 is probably one of my favorites from the ones that he wrote.
Compared to his earlier work, “Warren Nunes Jazz Guitar Series: The Blues by Warren Nunes & Jerry Snyder (reviewed here)“, this is more of an intermediate level jazz guitar book.
That being said, the lines in this book are not as difficult as the ones in his other book, “Solo Improvisation Techniques For The Jazz Guitar”. That one is a serious workout!
After explaining the music notation, the book continues with 8 parts:
- Power Tones
- Short Turnaround
- Basic Blues
- Modern Blues
- Descending Passing Minors
- Designated Patterns For Playing Through The Short Dominant Cycle Progression
- Non-Root 13th Chord Cycles
- Passing The Non-Root Dominant 13th
Warren introduces what he calls “Power Tones” which to me sounds like a cross between describing guide tones, chord tones or target notes. These are demonstrated in 2, 4 and 8 bar phrases that are voiceled and target the thirds of each chord.
“Even though the third note of the chord s the boldest power tone, any other note of the basic triad or diatonic scale can be used effectively.”
The next part, Short Turnaround includes 5 exercises to navigate through a Bmin7 E7 Amin7 D7 two-bar turnaround.
For Basic Blues and Modern Blues, we get a one chorus single note solo etude each. These kind of remind me of the etudes/solos in the Joe Diorio or Joe Pass books, although the solos here are more inside sounding. I find that these solos are my favorite part of the entire book.
Descending Passing Minors is Warren’s term for describing what Berklee would call “Minor Line Cliches” or what Jerry Coker would call “CESH” or “Chromatic Embellishment of Static Harmony”
In Designated Patterns For Playing Through The Short Dominant Cycle Progression, we get different lines that Warren suggests for going through dominant chord cycles (G7 C7 F7 Bb7 Eb7 Ab7 Db for example), which you might know as “Extended Dominants”.
In the final two parts of the book, Warren goes into Non-Root 13th Chord Cycles, which demonstrates rootless voicing options for comping on Extended Dominant chord progressions. This is an interesting detour I feel since the rest of the book pretty much has stayed on single note melodic ideas.
Warren closes with Passing The Non-Root Dominant 13th, which is CESH in a dominant chord context.
All in all, this book is a pretty cool work that gives musical and great sounding lines, clearly notated and I can imagine to be a valuable resource especially for 1976. Even now, I find this book unique because there are no “filler” lines, everything sounds good and feels great to play on the guitar. The fingerings in fact are probably what make this book a strong work since it gives insights on how to play lines that outline the changes, sound good and feel good.
Pros: Great lines, clearly notated fingerings, well organized to help develop good fingering & picking habits.
Cons: You kind of need to figure out how to apply this in a performance or jam context. Not much guidance is given.
TLDR: A good book with great clear jazz lines to help develop ear training, fingering & technique.
You can try to find a used copy of this book on Amazon or eBay. It’s out of print though, so it might be difficult to find one.
To be honest, I feel that all of Warren Nunes’s books should be rereleased and in print. I’m not sure who owns the publishing rights to the works now but if someone reading this knows them, do recommend reprinting these jazz guitar treasures. Many would benefit from these!
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
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