Tag Archives: Book

John Coltrane Reference Book

Here is a review of the forementioned John Coltrane Reference Book.

Porter combines meticulous scholarship with an eye for telling details, the revealing and necessary details about Coltrane’s life and music that constantly open up new perspectives. There is no gratuitous quoting of literary figures irrelevant to Coltrane, or bizarre factoids (the attendance at a New York Museum of Modern Art Chagall show the year Coltrane’s classic quartet recorded at The Village Vanguard (see page 69 in Ratliff).

Though the price is still daunting……$150

The John Coltrane Reference

There is a new Coltrane book out by Lewis Porter, Chris DeVito, David Wild, Yasuhiro Fujioka, and Wolf Schmaler.

Few jazz musicians have had the lasting influence or attracted as much scholarly study as John Coltrane. Yet, despite dozens of books, hundreds of articles, and his own recorded legacy, the “facts” about Coltrane’s life and work have never been definitely established. Well-known Coltrane biographer and jazz educator Lewis Porter has assembled an international team of scholars to write The John Coltrane Reference, an indispensable guide to the life and music of John Coltrane.

The John Coltrane Reference features a a day-by-day chronology, which extends from 1926-1967, detailing Coltrane’s early years and every live performance given by Coltrane as either a sideman or leader, and a discography offering full session information from the first year of recordings, 1946, to the last, 1967. The appendices list every film and television appearance, as well as every recorded interview. Richly illustrated with over 250 album covers and photos from the collection of Yasuhiro Fujioka, The John Coltrane Reference will find a place in every major library supporting a jazz studies program, as well as John Coltrane enthusiasts.

At a whopping $150 for 608 pages, is this a must own for Coltrane nuts?

Hardcopy Of The II-V Patterns

The II-V patterns are one of the most downloaded things here. I’m currently working on another revision of them, which would probably make it 400+ pages. That is a LOT to print out. I’m considering making them available to people via Lulu.com for like a $1 over what it costs to print them. So, if the patterns were 400 pages exactly, to print them coil bound, it would be $12.53. So, I’d make them available for $14 or something. The money would go to running this site (which is not cheap people!)

So, here is a poll to figure out how many people would be interested in that.

Would you pay for a hard copy of the II-V patterns?

View Results

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Fourth Obession – Wil Greenstreet

Sometimes, people send me stuff to look at. Wil Greenstreet sent me his book, Fourth Obsession – inroads to out there. This book, obviously, deals with Fourths, something a lot of books touch on, but never really focus in on. This book does that. Starting out with the basics, being able to play fourths through the full range of your horn, then applying different rhythms to the fourths. Then backwards, then zig-zags, then zig-zags backwards, then zig-zags with rhythms, then zig-zags with rhythms backwards. You get the idea. And that is only the first 18 pages of 183 pages. Subsequent chapters deal with strings of fourths (in three, four, five, and six), root movements and fourths (whole-steps, minor-thirds, etc), and twelve-tone rows. All these get the backwards, zig-zag, zig-zag backwards, and with rhythms.

Whew! I don’t think he left out any combinations. Maybe I should consult with Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss or Archimedes to see if there are any other combinations.

After playing things out of this book over the weekend, there are some very cool lines to be found. The layout of the book is top-notch (except for the occasional use of the Jazz Text font, which I personally disdain). The material is presented clearly, the text is easy to read, and understand. The exercises, while not completely written out like in Walt Weiskopf’s books, are presented in a way where you can follow them (example being on the left page one would see the string of fourths in a group of five going up in half steps, and on the adjoining page the rhythms to practice them with). Should provide anyone with hours and hours (if not weeks or months) of stuff to practice. One thing that I wish was included were some etudes that encompass all that was presented in the book. I think that would have been a great bonus to have.

Looking for something to dig into? Then get this book. 9.5/10 (.5 deducted for lack of etudes, and illegal use of the jazz text font). The book can be purchased for $23 ($20 + $3 shipping) from Wil Greenstreet.

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman Vol. 2

Greg Fishman has been at it again. This time, he has come out with yet another book of Jazz Etudes. Again, he has named each Etude after a street in Chicago. I’ll just take Greg’s books in lieu of a tourist map if I ever visit Chicago. Really. I believe he’s covered every major street in the town, or at least the ones worth mentioning.

Back to the latest book. Greg says “I think that the new etudes are even more melodic than they were in the first book.” Eh, well, perhaps. The tunes in the last book were pretty good as well. I think my gripe with the first book carries over into the second book, i.e. still not a lot of explanation about voice leading. Perhaps that will be in a forth coming tourist’s guide to voice leading? How many streets does Chicago have? Are we going to run out if you do a voice leading book and another etude book?

For $19.95, with two CDs (one for Tenor, one for Alto) that have an etude track and a track where you can blow a few choruses, it is a simple choice. Duh! Get the book! 10/10 for the price, and the quality of the tunes.

(P.S. Greg Fishman is moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Why anyone would want to move there is beyond me. It gets so hot it can melt your dashboard. This last summer I think they had weeks of triple digit heat. My mom visited my brother who lives there, and she said it was like being in an oven the whole time she was there. Anyhow, I’d expect to see the next etude book filled with Arizona street names, assuming Fishman runs out of Chicago streets)

Tabuteau Lessons/Note Grouping

Two related items I finished recently. The first is a very interesting CD, Marcel Tabuteau’s Lessons, which Tabuteau himself explains his phrasing system. Well, it is more than that, it is lessons on music from a great master. It was started in August of 1965, using a tape recorder in Tabuteau’s apartment, and abruptly finished in 1966, the last recording made the day before he died (or, as Tabuteau called it, his audition date with St. Peter). It is oboe specific in areas (reeds), but most of it easily applies to saxophone (or any other instrument for that matter). Well worth a listen if you want to gain insight from a master on how to play music.

The second item is Note Grouping by James Morgan Thurmond. This is basically a written down version of what the Tabuteau CD is. Same idea, different author. Keep in mind, this book was originally a thesis paper, and reworked/written to be a book. Parts of it are very “thesis paperish”, but the information contained within is invaluable, especially the insights into how modern music has come about.

Intermediate Jazz Conception

Jim Snidero has added another volume to his Jazz Conception series. Intermediate Jazz Conception features 15 songs based on chord changes to “St. Thomas”, “On Green Dolphin Street”, “Confirmation”, “Well You Needn’t” and others. The Alto version features Jim Snidero (as do all the other Alto versions of his books), the Tenor version features Ted Nash.

For style and sound, all these books are excellent….

You’d be hard pressed to find a better sound on Alto than Jim Snidero’s. On tenor, previous versions of the book have featured Walt Weiskopf and Eric Alexander, who are excellent players. However, I think Ted Nash’s sound is great in this book. I’d say better than the other two (but that is just my opinion).

The book’s tunes. Honestly, the tunes (or etudes) in this volume are lack luster. The first tune, “Splank Street”, has a great sound to it, but the tune never goes anywhere unlike in previous Jazz Conception books (IE: Basie’s Blues). “St. Sonny” is ok, “Confirmed” and “Freedom” are good. But there is nothing that just screams “cool” to me. In the original Jazz Conception book we had a ton of cool tunes like “Passages”, “Bird’s Blues”, or “Groove Blues” to name a few. But this volume, they are playable, but….not memorable.

Rating. It’s a solid edition to the Jazz Conception series. I give it a 8. I love Ted Nash’s playing in this book. But the tunes are not as good as they have been in previous Jazz Conception books. I’d still love to see Jim Snidero tackle a more contemporary play-along. Something that is really lacking out there.

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman

Greg Fishman has released a great new book titled Jazz Saxophone Etudes. What sets this book apart from others is the addition of two CDs, one for Alto and one for Tenor. You use the same etude for both instruments. So, you don’t have to deal with bad transposition jobs that you find in say, Bob Minzter’s books. Plus, the CDs feature extended rhythmn section only parts that allow you to stretch out and play on the tunes.

The tunes are based on standard changes. There are two blues etudes, two rhythmn changes etudes, and etude based on the changes to “A” Train, etc. All the etudes are named after streets in Chicago, which figures as Greg Fishman is from Chicago.

The one thing I would want more of in the book is voice leading. It would have been great to include the voice leadings to the solos, along with some analysis of what was used. It was mentioned briefly in the front of the book, then….nada. It would really make this book stand out if it had detailed, one page sheet on the voice leadings used in the solos. Anyhow, I’ve done a bunch of them for my students so they can see how he constructed the solos.

Rating for this book. 10/10. For $20, this book rocks. You get excellent solos, great sounding CDs, and a lot of information. Go get it!