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The Jazz Theory Book - Mark Levine

half diminished

Senior Member
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What a totally brilliant book, and I even understand some of the first couple of chapters! Seriously, what with Karen's direction and this book I reckon in another 20 years I'll be improvising at 60 bpm - no sweat!

Mind you, only over a II V I progression in D major :w00t:

At least it's a start. :)

On a more serious note, the book is very good and there are some really useful hints about using the cycle of Vths and modes and major scale harmony - and that in the first 50 pages.

It's quite an expensive book but well worth it.
 

Chris98

Senior Member
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1,076


What a totally brilliant book, and I even understand some of the first couple of chapters! Seriously, what with Karen's direction and this book I reckon in another 20 years I'll be improvising at 60 bpm - no sweat!

Mind you, only over a II V I progression in D major :w00t:

At least it's a start. :)

On a more serious note, the book is very good and there are some really useful hints about using the cycle of Vths and modes and major scale harmony - and that in the first 50 pages.

It's quite an expensive book but well worth it.
Hi Ian,

I'm curious about the book, but I do wonder if it will be beyond me, I've read before that it's really for advanced students/musicians. I consider myself to be at the earliest stages, looking at the first rung of the ladder wondering how on Earth do I get there, will I get there! Should I save my money and buy a few boxes of reeds or would you say that it might prove to be a valuable text along the road? How useful would you find it without Karen's direction for example?

Some members of my family have commented that they are finding it hard to know what to get me present wise so I'm wondering if this might be suitable.

All the best,

Chris
 

visionari1

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1,606
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Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hi Half D & Chris 98

My Keyboard teacher actaully mentioned this book last week, I was aware of it, not actually having seen a copy, I am also wary of it being over my head, although Jazz theory has been my achillies heal for years & years!

I've found out through this year that it's (Jazz improv) is a combination of hearing (via ear training & general Jazz listening, and Jazz theory). Some of the old masters got there without any understanding of theory, and you can certainly hear many students coming from all theory (in my opinion, cold and cerebrial).

Improvisation is (for me a long road) and one needs all the help one can muster to keep the focus and not loose the joy of it all, as the word "study" seems to make me rebel. I have quite a few books that I don't understand already, although as time goes by I and able to understand more of them.

My hope is that one day it will all make sense.

Maybe I should hunt this book down locally and chech it out before not only shelling out the cash, but also the time commitment to it's reading and study!

Hmmmmm.

Cheers & Ciao
Jimu:mrcool
 

Chris98

Senior Member
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1,076
Hi Jimu,

I think you are a little further down the road than I, but I appreciate that there is someone friendly up ahead.

This whole improvisation thing is something I pick up, make a small bit of headway with and then loose focus and put to one side again. That's usually when I realise my notes are not considered and I'm just filling a whole rather than making music.

I also wonder if I'm starting from the wrong point, Jazz! I like some jazz but dare I say it... there is a lot that I just don't understand, to me some of it just sounds like a lot of discordant notes, or overly fussy, maybe I like a melody over a technical display! There I've said it, I'll get me coat and never darken your door again...

Maybe my musical roots are in blues and rock, maybe with some funk and soul thrown in.

Sorry Ian I seem to have hijacked this thread for a bit of personal naval gazing!

All the best,

Chris
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
For me it's not enough to listen to the music. I can't 'hear' from the music what is going on well enough to internalise it and then be able to just do it. So this kind of theory helps me a lot. Until I took up the sax in the Autumn of 2007 I had never read music and I only started learning jazz a few weeks prior to the Abersold Jazzwise course in July 2008 so it's a very steep learning curve.

This book and Pete's 'Taming' book are great for me. In just a week I've now started to grasp modes and the relationships between different chord tones in a II V I progression. Now I have to try and translate into my playing. I'm also doing more transcribing where I listen and then play before eventually writing the dots.

I've also transformed my practice and of course Karen has helped loads. So for what it's worth my advice is use whatever works fir you.
 

Semiquaver

Member
Messages
102
Location
Hertfordshire, England
Chris, i have this book and would recommend it to anyone studying jazz.

It does go into a great deal of details and i would not suggest you read it from cover to cover. I think it is better to use it as a reference manual and dip in when you need to.
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
346
Location
Exeter
The Jazz Piano Book

The Jazz Piano Book also by Mark Levine covers much of the same ground and is a little more concise though more in the context of piano playing. Both are excellent. Pete Canter
 
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