This 48-page book published back in 1974 is an interesting book on the topic of jazz blues soloing basics. Written by jazz guitarist Warren Nunes and guitarist & music educator Jerry Synder.
The aim of the book is to teach you how to begin improvising jazz blues over different chord variations in the keys of Bb and F (the two most common keys for jazz blues tunes).
You get the chord voicings along with the “lead patterns” that go along each chord. Most of the lead patterns are basically hybrid scale fingerings that are a cross between a minor pentatonic with added blues notes or a Mixolydian with added blue notes. I personally have used variations of these fingerings prior to working on this book so it’s interesting to see Warren begin the book with these materials.
Although I don’t have the original 45rpm flexidisc recording that came along with the book, someone has uploaded the long out-of-print’s recording on YouTube (which I’m grateful for).
You get to hear Warren Nunes improvise using the concepts described in the book and you also get a backing track to practice your own lines.
The beauty of the book is that it’s very much written from the perspective of an experience performer and educator. There’s just enough music theory given to explain the context and the rest is the actual material for you to learn.
The main challenge might be for someone looking for actual licks and lines to practice. There are two written blues solos in the book (one chorus each) but no actual licks to plug into each section of the blues. That is something that is another course I previously reviewed (Blues Building Blocks by Jon Finn, reviewed here).
I personally got some new ideas for voicings and reharmonization options in a Bb jazz blues & F jazz blues context. The final section with an introduction to a D minor blues was also pretty cool. I have the feeling that there could have been a follow up book covering minor blues but maybe it was not written/released. At the very least, that’s something that I would probably do if I wrote a book on this topic.
In conclusion, I’m very fascinated with this book and Warren Nunes’s educational materials. I hope to write more reviews of his books in the future. For anyone interested in this topic, you can consider finding this book to add to your library & study materials. It would be suitable for guitarists who have played other styles of music and want to get into some jazz.
Pros: Great material, well organized and concise approach to learning jazz blues soloing & chord voicings for comping.
Cons: It can be very difficult (and/or expensive) to acquire a copy of this out of print book. There are also some typos where I’m not sure whether to follow the scale diagrams or the notes written out for the “lead patterns”.
TLDR: An interesting early document of jazz guitar pedagogy from 1974. Is it a must have? Not necessarily. It is worth buying if you happen to find a copy? If you are interested in the study of jazz guitar pedagogy, then yes. Otherwise, it’s nice to have but not a “must-have”.
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