I remember first studying this book back in 1998 when I started music college in Malaysia.
At that time I was obsessed with the Charlie Parker CD, Bird’s Best Bop On Verve. It was so dissonant to me then… and I was confused why anyone would like this music. It was only over repeated listening that I began to fall in love with this style of jazz.
When I first looked at the book, it seemed like a very big book of rules and licks. It felt very theoretical and dry. And… although I did practice some of the material, it never really made much sense to me.
One of my college seniors told me to learn Charlie Parker melodies so that I can start sounding more bebop. Looking back, I wish I listened to him and did that much earlier.
Anyway, back to the book. Recently I started studying the book again and now, it all makes more sense. What I found is that after years of playing bebop tunes & listening to the music, what David Baker shares makes more sense to me.
As I started googling other people’s opinions on the book, I found some who echo my earlier impression of it & also others who love his work.
Now, I strongly believe that the book is a good textbook to be used alongside private study with a good jazz teacher or with extensive & attentive listening to classic recordings.
Jazz can’t really be taught exclusively from a book (or books) but it certainly can help.
As an aural art form (it is music after all), you need to listen to the songs, the performances, the solos and spend time learning the music & getting the style by ear, intuitively. This book for me is a resource for study and not really like a step by step method book.
All in all, I love the book more now & use it as part of my personal practice routine. Strongly recommended for the serious student of jazz.
Pros: Good book, good material, concise.
Cons: Dry material, some assembly required, you can’t just use this book alone to learn this music.
TLDR: Good book to accompany private lessons with a good teacher. Use more as an ongoing resource & not as a course.
You can get the book here: https://www.amazon.com/How-Play-Bebop-Vol-1/dp/0739020404
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
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