JAZZ BOOKS AND ARTICLES
by Jason Lyon
"Frustration is just a thrill upside-down"
"It took me twenty years to become a jazz musician.
Ten years to learn how to play and another ten years to learn how to not play"
FREE JAZZ ARTICLES | THE BEST OF JAZZ ON THE WEB | RECOMMENDED READING
(or just scroll down for the free stuff - it's okay, I do the same...)
PENTATONIC AND HEXATONIC SCALES IN JAZZ IMPROVISATION
152 pages, A4 perfect-bound
Detailed exploration of the six most used pentatonic scales, what to play on every chord type, pentatonics on II-V-Is, variations on II-V-Is and reharmonisations, outside and parallel pentatonics, partial pentatonics, pentatonics with passing notes, keeping modal form, all about groove, traditional hexatonics, hexatonics from triad pairs, the whole-tone family of six, modalisation, fragmentation and outside playing with hexatonics, practice suggestions, example solos, appendices, exercises, pentatonic licks from the jazz repertoire, the "avoid" note, listening, suggested tunes. VIEW SAMPLE PAGES
A COMPENDIUM OF JAZZ PIANO VOICINGS
112 pages, A4 perfect-bound
A big band under your fingers, rhythmic considerations, playing with guitarists, chord-scale theory, defining chord tones, the quality of voicings, shells, expanded shells, thirds, sixths, stride, four-way close, rootless, melodic minor "grips", "add 2", clusters, fourths, "axis", "drop" chords, drop-2 block chords, four-note structures, Shearing block chords, dominant 13ths, diatonic triads and sevenths, upper structures, slash and polychords, "So What" chords, fifths, RH octave-triads and ambi chords, Red Garland block chords, triad expansions, stacks, combinations and approaches, practice suggestions, DIY ear training, examples, patterns and exercises. VIEW SAMPLE PAGES
I found your jazz improvisation materials by accident (actually,
searching the internet for 'the invisible half bar line'). What
a find! Well written and useful. BM
I found your jazz articles to be really useful and about the clearest and most practically helpful things I've come across. MG
You've written some great jazz articles on your website which I've enjoyed reading. Good stuff, just what I like reading and putting the real take on things instead of the blurb from the jazz courses. DR
Thanks for your formidable book on Pentatonics. A very useful reference book for anyone interested in understanding the possibilities from scratch to advanced. Your book would be really useful for musicians to dip into it and bring things to whatever they are working on. I like also the friendly clear tone of your commentaries. AG
The book on Pentatonics was a most enjoyable read. Speaking as an old pro, it's great to see someone writing so clearly and comprehensively about a lot of the stuff so many of us had to find out by the hard slog. I kept thinking to myself, oh that's why that works... FS
THE CONTEMPORARY JAZZ SOUND
The use of gapped scales in the contemporary style:
Intro, I Pentatonics, II Hexatonics, III Melodic Minor Grips
EXERCISE CONNECTING PENTATONIC SCALES
A BRIEF GUIDE TO PIANO FOURTH VOICINGS
TRANSCRIPTION OF BILL EVANS SOLO ON LOVE FOR SALE
Annotated piano solo taken from the CD 58 Miles (aka Jazz Track).
HOW TO PRACTISE BACKWARDS
Using melodic cells and pickups to bring structure and resolution to your phrasing.
DECIPHERING CHORD SYMBOLS
A quick guide to standard and non-standard chord symbols.
BLUES SCALE BASICS
SUSSING OUT THE BLUES
Using triad pairs to open up a modal approach to the blues.
HOW TO HANDLE A SUS CHORD
includes extracts from McCoy Tyner's solo on Passion Dance (from The Real McCoy).
BEBOP PERPETUAL MOTION EXERCISES
Repeating two-bar turnaround figures containing a host of idiomatic bebop gestures along with analysis.
TRANSCRIPTION OF TOMMY FLANAGAN SOLO ON MR PC
Texbook bebop minor blues solo. From Coltrane's Giant Steps.
TRANSCRIPTION OF TOMMY FLANAGAN SOLO ON ECLYPSO
Bebop on a turnaround tune with extended double-time passage. From The Cats.
TRANSCRIPTION OF TOMMY FLANAGAN SOLO ON MINOR MISHAP
Blues figures and bebop descending minor scale runs, with analysis. From The Cats.
USING UPPER STRUCTURE TRIADS IN SOLO LINES
GUIDELINES TO WRITING PARTS
COLTRANE'S SUBSTITUTION TUNES
Explanation of what's going on in Moment's Notice, Lazy Bird, Giant Steps and Countdown.
PLAYING GIANT STEPS WITH ONE SCALE
Working with the augmented hexatonic scale.
A modern approach to improvising on the sense of a tune.
or how to cheat...
YOU'VE BEEN TAUGHT THE WRONG CHORD TONES
The importance of the 6th on a tonic chord.
THE BASICS OF MODERN MERENGUE PIANO
HOW TO LISTEN FOR CLAVE IN SALSA
Practical exercises for internalising bebop chromaticism.
THE KNOT PDF score MIDI file
An etude for practising extreme bebop chromaticism, dedicated to Lennie Tristano.
A SIMPLE TECHNIQUE FOR OUTSIDE PLAYING
You'll get it in ten minutes flat, and be playing it within an hour.
Using harmonic minor scales to open up the diminished sound.
THE BEST OF JAZZ ON THE WEB
Books by Jason Lyon | Free Jazz Articles by Jason Lyon | Recommended Reading
LESSONS AND ARTICLES
A Jazz Improvisation Primer by Marc Sabatella - thorough and informative, even though the online version doesn't contain scored examples | A Reference for Jazz Theory by Michael Morangelli | The Cannonball Adderley Rendezvous - interviews and articles | Charles McNeil's page - cycle patterns and exercises | Doug Mackenzie's page - lots of excellent video piano lessons with scrolling scores and annotations. Jazz as she is actually spoken... Also available on YouTube (Doug's nom de tube is jazz2511) | Hal Galper's page - articles and observations from the author of Forward Motion (see below) | How Jazz Musicians Practise by Ted Rosenthal - it would be unkind to ask whether they do... | Howard Rees Jazz Workshop - articles on Barry Harris's method and more | Jason Lyon's page - a series of articles and exercises covering bebop, gapped scales, Latin styles, outside playing and more from the author of Pentatonics & Hexatonics in Jazz and Compendium of Jazz Piano Voicings (see below) | Jazz Arranging Online - Chuck Israels' course, including examples using Garritan Jazz & Big Band. Free to lurkers | Jazz Piano Chords and Scales - handy visual keyboard display of voicings and scales in all keys | JazzPianoOnline.com - Boston-based Bill Rinehart's site is packed with clearly explained video lessons (with practice materials) and can take you all the way from basic harmony up to extended voicings and reharmonisation techniques. Particularly useful are his phrase-by-phrase breakdowns of transcribed solo choruses. Some free content, but the subscription is well worth it. Highly recommended | Learn Jazz Piano - Scot Ranney's popular online community | Musical Thoughts - useful principles on playing idiomatic bebop | Paul Busby's Scored Changes - tutorials, tips and arrangements | Pete Thomas' page - comprehensive online presentation of material used for teaching at Southampton University. Site also links to a lot of useful content on production music | Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration Online - a classic text, illustrated with Garritan Personal Orchestra. Free to lurkers | Songs for Interval Recognition | The Jazz Piano Study Letter (Darius Brotzman's discontinued newsletter) - free articles available | Tim Richards' page - a couple of free articles from leading London jazz educator, author of the Improvising Blues Piano and Exploring Jazz Piano books (see below) | Robin Frederick's page - excellent article on the craft of popular songwriting. Robin also has books for sale | Justin Rubin's resources on classical composition and orchestration - informative examples of everything from simple binary compositional forms right through to contemporary principles such as aleatoric and process practices | Thoughts on the Characteristics of Different Keys - what classical composers felt about each key's different emotional resonance | 100 Greatest Jazz Albums (Ken Watkins) - intelligently written reviews and analysis of classic recordings. A good place to look if you're building a collection from scratch | YouTube - there's nothing quite like watching the greats in action and you'll find loads on YouTube. Just rattle your favourite name into the search box
|Audacity - free sound recording, conversion and editing software. Allows you to slow tempo without pitch shifting and loop sections | Band in a Box - Some are snotty about this, I'm not one of them. Since the recent introduction of RealTracks, a huge modular library of professionally recorded patterns and licks, BIAB has come of age. Enter a chord chart, pick a tempo and style and use it as a writing tool or let it generate backing tracks (or more). Interface is still old-fashioned and quirky, though | iReal Book - Infinitely expandable fakebook in your pocket (no melodies or lyrics, for copyright reasons). At most jams I've been to over the past year or so, someone has parked their iPhone on a music stand. Working with a singer? Transpose instantly. Disagree with the changes? Edit them. Can't find a tune? Visit the forums directly from the app, search and download in seconds. I contribute to the forums and urge anyone else who uses the app to do the same. Originally developed for the iPhone, now also available for Android with limited functionality | Impro-Visor - Prof Bob Keller's computer intelligence team have produced this intriguing open-source program which uses AI algorithms and vocabulary modules to generate solos in the style of various performers. Also includes playback, and the ability to edit and enter leadsheets. | Kristal Audio Engine - totally free, easy-to-use digital audio workstation (DAW to those in the know), supports VST plugins (downside is, no MIDI support or VSTis). Supportive and friendly user forum too | KVR Audio Plugin Database - good first port of call for largely free effects and virtual instrument plugins (for use with DAWs such as Kristal and Reaper) | Mozart - budget music layout software. Clean, simple interface, but full of features. Free trial | Reaper - staggeringly well-featured DAW that's so tightly coded its co-operatively written manual is about five times the size of the program itself. Regular program updates and active user forums, which is where most of the suggestions for fixes and updates come from. Totally uncrippled shareware, but licence starts at just $50. Highly recommended | SAVIhost - tiny and very neat little utility that allows you to open a single VSTi virtual instrument (virtual keyboard included). Ideal for mucking around with virtual softsynths and the like | Solfege - free ear-training software | Transcribe! - trial for free, cheap to buy. Change tempo, loop sections, analyse sound spectrum to help decipher chords | Sibelius - the daddy of music layout software. Everyone uses it, though many in the US prefer Finale. Free trial. Does everything for you except fire the drummer | Wavosaur - highly specified freeware sound file editor. Supports VST plugins.||