Cecil Alexander has been on both a content creation & educational content spree recently. From his many lesson videos on social media, to his eBook releases with the jazzlessonvideos website, Cecil has been sharing more and more of his approach to jazz guitar.
In case you missed it, you can also read my past reviews of his work including his eBooks (50 ii-V-I Licks, 30 Exercises on Static Harmony, 20 Bebop Etudes). his excellent Picking Masterclass and reviews on his musical exercises (Pentatonic Licks (Static Harmony) & Pentatonic Licks (II-V-I) by Cecil Alexander and Assorted Licks & Minor II-V Lines by Cecil Alexander.
Cecil also has released material on the pickupmusic website and also is part of the mentorship program on Chad LB’s jazzlessonvideos website.
Now this review cover four different products that you can purchase directly from Cecil’s website. Each of this has something different to offer so I’ll be addressing what you get with each of them.
In “Bebop II-V Phrases”, you get 10 II-V-I phrases that are notated in both standard notation and tablature. Five of the lines are major key II-V-I lines, and the other five are minor key II-V-I lines. You also get 10 audio files with Cecil playing them at performance tempo along with a backing track and also slowed down, without a backing track.
All in all, the lines all sound great and are a fun way to get some bebop vocabulary into your fingers. Cecil also includes some additional tips in the PDF to help you get the most from the material. The only thing is that since there’s no video and no fretting hand or picking indication, it’s up to you to figure out what fingerings to use to play these lines.
In “All The Things You Are Etude”, you get a one-chorus single note etude over the chord changes of All The Things You Are. You also get an mp3 file of Cecil performing the etude. At three pages long, there’s a lot of different musical ideas to be gathered from this etude. Also worth noting is that the etude is pretty rhythmic and chromatic so if you’re bored of continuous 8th note etudes, you might dig this.
In the “Solar Etude (Melodic Minor Modes)”, you get a two-chorus solo over the changes of Solar along with an mp3 file of Cecil performing the etude. The main difference this time is you get a written analysis of WHICH melodic minor modes are used for each of the chords. There are also some interesting substitutions that I don’t typically use and I enjoyed trying out thanks to this etude. Good stuff!
The final offering review here is “Green Dolphin Street Solo Arrangement”. Again, you get the transcription in a PDF file, but this time there is no accompanying tablature. You’ll need to read this one! The cool thing is that the arrangement comes with the original melody and chords notated so that you can compare what the lead sheet looks like with what Cecil did.
The arrangement begins with a mix of quartal ideas and drop-2 voicing before going into various devices including call and response sections, a change of time feel (from 4/4 to 12/8) and even some interesting textural changes as well as reharmonizations throughout. This is more than just a standard chord melody arrangement so be prepared for a workout.
All in all, all of these provide great exercises, musical ideas and insights from an influential younger jazz guitarist. As with his previous releases, I enjoyed working through them and plan to shed on the Bebop II-V-I phrases and get some of the lines from the Solar Etude under my fingers.
If you dig Cecil’s playing, you might like shedding this material too.
Pros: Good musical exercises from the mind of Cecil Alexander.
Cons: No tablature for the arrangement of Green Dolphin Street. No fingering or picking indications for etudes and licks.
TLDR: If you enjoy the kinds of musical ideas that Cecil Alexander plays, you might dig this material.
You can get these and more on Cecil Alexander’s official webstore here: https://www.cecilalexander.com/shop
Do note that Cecil has mentioned that he is revamping the store so not all of these might be available when you visit the website.
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
[Read more reviews]
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
- Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
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Please send me a message at azsamad2 at gmail.com with:
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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?