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This one lives in my gig bag..., 28. Juli 2000
Described in one word: useful!
If you were going to teach someone to read, would you start out by having them memorize and repeat great speeches from history, or would you teach them the alphabet and how to recognize common words and phrases?
Building a Jazz Vocabulary takes the latter approach and is a very cleanly organized book in which each section contains a brief explanation and expository exercises that illuminate a fundamental feature of the language of Jazz.
Topics covered include intervals, chords, scales, progressions, and solo building, among others. Perhap the gem of the book is the excellent coverage of cells and the development of melodic line.
One of the real advantages of Building a Jazz Vocabulary is that the exercises are not mindless transcriptions or the painfully mechanical contrivances that all too commonly fill up endless pages in many music books. Instead, each topic is covered with just enough explanation to make sure you get it intellectually and just enough examples and exercises to allow you to see how it works in practice. The topic then ends by providing enough suggestions on practice and application that you can proceed on your own for a lifetime or two.
As a result, this is the rare kind of music instruction book where you *will* want to have your instruments in hand, but *will not* just be reading exercises off of a page.
A couple of things to be aware of, this book doesn't do a lot of hand-holding; it's written in an easy to understand manner but it is definately for adults and does presume some existing knowledge of music and music theory. Additionally, it covers 'vocabulary' only in the sense of notes and phrases. Coverage of intonation or rhythm is very brief.
FWIW, I'm a somewhat experienced musician and play a number of instruments, primarily guitar and violin. My wife is a relative novice and plays tenor sax. We both love this book. I'll be getting her a copy for her birthday. Do I love my wife? Sure! But mostly, getting her a copy of her own is the only certain way to ensure she keeps her grubby fingers off of mine!