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u/frajen · 6 pointsr/Jazz

When I was younger, the concept of improvisation in music gave me a reason to live. I was 17, I didn't want kids and there was no point to middle-class suburban life. But if I could come home from whatever my job was, even if I hated it, I could sit at my piano and play how I felt... if I could express myself through music, in a way I could never do so in words - then I would be happy.

I wrote about that idea in a college entry essay, and it has never left me, 13 years later I still feel the same way. Granted, I feel a bit more responsible about many things in life, but at the end of the day I still hold on to that belief.

Initially, jazz was the vehicle through which I learned improvisation, so I feel very close to the music, even if I really don't play in a traditional jazz style. Improvisation was the outwards expression of my feelings; before I learned about jazz, I could only read notes on a page to play music, and I was way too shy to talk or even write about how I was truly feeling, let alone share that with other people.

My "life" has essentially revolved around music ever since high school. I've played gigs, gone on tour, recorded/put together an album (doing the artwork, manually putting together the CD jewel cases), taught music theory/composition/performance, organized shows/event calendars, funded bands/projects, ran venues/music spaces, produced music for video games... I work a regular day job nowadays, but my #1 passion is and will always be music, whether I'm performing it or enabling others the opportunity to perform.


I took classical piano lessons as a young kid for ~6 years, then I quit. I had a little bit of technical knowledge and form but I never really "enjoyed" the music I was playing.

I played drums in grade school. While in drumline (marching band), another drummer asked me to play some keyboard parts for his band. Like 3-4 chords during a Pink Floyd song ("Wish You Were Here" actually, you can hear the synth towards the latter part of the song), and some bird chirping sounds. For other songs, I would swing a hockey stick around while wearing a hooded coat (kinda like a grim reaper) while the band played some Black Sabbath covers.

Well it turns out that we won a Battle of the Bands in front of a few hundred high schoolers, got some money, and I had my young ego blown up then, going from unknown nerd to "piano player with the hockey stick" - but at least people knew who I was. I even bought a keyboard so we could gig around town (I still have it, this ridiculous thing, even though the screen doesn't work anymore)

As I practiced with the band, I was introduced to the idea of "soloing" - other classically trained musicians might understand the helpless feeling I had when I was told "just jam over this blues" - I had no idea what I was doing. One of the guitarists in my band told me about the blues scale, a set of 6 notes that I could riff endlessly over and somehow they all sounded great to me.

A year later (and another battle of the bands won), I was invited by the same guitarist to hear one of his friend's dad's jazz trio. I was told his dad, a drummer, had once opened a concert for Parliament. I get to hear this trio, and they are playing Miles Davis' "So What" according to my friend. I'm ask my friend, "How are they playing all that, improvising?" And he says "Yeah"

At this point I'm like, "Well let me jump in there, I know the blues scale!" And my friend is like "Nah dude, you can't do that!"

Later that night he plays me this recording of Thelonious Monk "Epistrophy" and is like "this is jazz, man, you can't just play blues scale over it"

My classical ears heard this song and I thought to myself, "This is some bullshit music. Sounds terrible. This guy sold records? I can do this!"

I went home and realized quickly that I had no idea how to actually play "randomly" - my fingers would not allow me to. I needed some sort of direction, short of just riffing up and down the blues scale.

The internet was starting to become a thing at this point, so I jumped online and looked up how to improvise jazz on a hip new search engine called "Google" (lol). With a little digging and the help of Napster, I ended up finding an mp3 of Keith Jarrett "The Koln Concert Part IIc"

I listened to that shit so many times. How could someone just sit down and PLAY that?

The summer after my senior year, I used two websites (Jazz Improvisation Primer and and Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book to learn about jazz and how to improvise. I spent 4-5 hours a day going through the book, listening to music from the websites, reading about music theory, and practicing on my parents' upright.

When I went to undergrad, I sold my drum set and brought the keyboard along. Really glad I chose that path.

On campus, I found other jazz musicians and tried to hang out with them whenever I could; even though I wasn't a music student, I lived in a dorm really close to the music department, and my classes were also relatively close. I ended up going to my first jam sessions my freshman year, and while I struggled to keep up (I was literally pushed off a piano bench once), I found a few kind souls who were willing to be patient with me and let me play with them. Many of them are doing great musically/career-wise now, and my heart warms up SO much whenever I think about them

Anyways, I transcribed solos, played off lead sheets, and listened to jazz all the time that year, trying to practice an hour or two every day or at least every other day. The first tune I ever completely transcribed was Cannonball Adderley "Autumn Leaves" and it took at least half a year, I probably spent a month alone on the first 4 bars of Cannonball's solo

I don't know exactly when it happened, but my girlfriend at the time was really into Prince/Michael Jackson and the summer of my junior year, during an internship in California, I somehow found myself watching the Britney Spears' "Toxic" music video and figuring out how to play it on piano. Sure it was "pop crap" but something about the little string riff caught my attention. That summer I started learning a ton of radio songs and I realized that I could use my jazz transcribing skills to learn almost any rock/pop tune, since the basic harmonies/melodies were generally much simpler than dealing with something like the changes to Coltrane's "Moment's Notice".

I filled up ~200 notebook pages of chord changes and reharmonziations of pop/rock/musical/video game songs I had grown up with, thinking to myself, "Isn't this what all those bebop heads did in the 40s? Take their favorite childhood tunes and turn them inside out?" Around this time, I started playing solo piano gigs, quoting these familiar tunes occasionally, enough to grab an audience, but keeping the whole "cool jazz" feel to them.

When I came back to school I started playing around town a lot, and by the end of undergrad, I finally felt like I could sit down and just play how I felt. I can't pinpoint exactly when this happened, but it was a big turning point in my musical life. I had a friend record me at the on-campus music studios, which became my first album. I decided that I would go "on tour" around the country, playing at venues in college towns/big cities, partly to prove to myself that I could make it as a musician, partly because road trips!!!!!

I could write a book about those 4 months but basically at the end of it all, I had played in ~50 cities, smoked a ton of weed, realized I could "keep up" w/some of the best jazz musicians (playing in New Orleans, LA, and NYC for a week each), and was broke as shit. The money thing scared me. I grew up what I considered to be middle class, but I couldn't stomach having $20 in my bank account with no paycheck in sight. As a musician, playing jazz, I realized how difficult it would be to live comfortably.

At the same time, I knew where I wanted to settle down. I moved 2000 miles, took a corporate day job near San Francisco, and was incredibly lucky to find relatively affordable housing out here (prices were high a decade ago but not as bad as they are now, I think).

Most "new" stuff in my life from that point on (in terms of music) didn't really specifically deal with jazz, although I did play a lot of jazz gigs both solo and with a quartet (clarinet+rhythm section) over the next few years. Got into lots of other kinds of music, started DJing a bit, saved up money from my day job to find other musicians gigs/avenues to play, eventually got into electronic dance music, raves, music production, but anyways. There's a somewhat related post about that here

I stream improvisational piano on Twitch occasionally, and there are definitely touches of jazz, although I would never compare myself favorably to anyone who practices and studies jazz consistently. Over the last 5-6 years, not playing with other jazz musicians has kind of dulled my chops, plus I don't really practice that way anymore anyways... but I'm quite OK with that. I still love sitting down and just playing how I feel, and it's kind of cool in this modern age that people all around the world can listen and enjoy it if they want - good for the ego heh ; )

Music is fucking great. Keep listening, keep playing : )

u/i_am_the_arm · 2 pointsr/Jazz

besides the obvious advice of "practice practice practice" and "listen listen listen" I'd recommend a few things. Good advice in this thread so far. In no particular order, I guess:

  • find a group of people that you can play with and not have any fear about performance quality...improvising is great, but when done alone it's just one factor of many in the overall sound. The abersolds are good and all, but no substitute for a rhythm section that is listening to you, as well.

  • don't just listen, but analyze. Take the song you are trying to learn to solo over...find a few good examples of other artists improvising over that tune, and start listening and transcribing. (kind of like how writing down notes in a lecture helps you remember, writing down notes from a solo helps you internalize)

  • lastly, but definitely not least -- learn patterns, they are great starting points and "go tos" when you need 'em. I guess that's what your original question was anyway, ha. The Levine book that was recommended is great for theory. Another good book for learning patterns and transitions in jazz that I've always enjoyed is this one. Play the patterns in every key, no excuses:

    (you didn't mention which instrument, so I linked the treble clef version..)

    good luck!
u/ahipple · 2 pointsr/Jazz

Mark Levine's excellent The Jazz Theory Book includes a great list of mandatory repertoire at the end of the book, which I've edited down considerably to this list based on my experience in jam sessions and gigs. For a full-time working jazz musician though, there are many, many more essentials that I'm sure I'm missing. Also, I've tried to omit tunes already mentioned.

I've noted (Alternate Titles) in parentheses and [parent tunes with the same changes] in square brackets.

The tunes:
Ain't Misbehavin', All Blues [3/4 blues], All of Me, All of You, Alone Together, Autumn in New York, Beautiful Love, Billie's Bounce, Black Orpheus (Manha de Carnaval), Blue Bossa, Blues for Alice [Parker blues], Bluesette [3/4 parker blues], Cantaloupe Island, Caravan, Ceora, Chelsea Bridge, Cherokee, Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), Darn That Dream, Days of Wine and Roses, Desafinado, Dolphin Dance, Donna Lee [Indiana], Doxy, Embraceable You, Footprints [3/4 minor blues, sort of], Four, Georgia on My Mind, Giant Steps, God Bless The Child, Green Dolphin Street, Have You Met Miss Jones, How Deep Is The Ocean, I'll Remember April, In A Mellow Tone, Invitation, In Walked Bud [Blue Skies], In Your Own Sweet Way, I Remember You, Israel [minor blues], It Could Happen To You, It Don't Mean A Thing, Joy Spring, Just Friends, Limehouse Blues [not actually a blues!], Lover Man, Maiden Voyage, Milestones, Misty, Moanin', Moonlight in Vermont, My Favorite Things, My Foolish Heart, My Funny Valentine, My Heart Stood Still, My Little Suede Shoes, My One and Only Love, My Romance, Night And Day, Now's The Time [blues], Oleo [rhythm changes], One Note Samba, Out Of Nowhere, Over The Rainbow, Poinciana, Recordame, Rhythm-A-Ning [rhythm changes], Ruby My Dear, St. Thomas, Satin Doll, Scrapple From The Apple [Honeysuckle Rose], Skylark, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, Someday My Prince Will Come, Song For My Father, Sonnymoon For Two [blues], So What, Stardust, Stompin' At The Savoy, Sugar, Summertime, There Is No Greater Love, There Will Never Be Another You, Tune Up, Wave, The Way You Look Tonight, Well You Needn't, When Sunny Gets Blue, Whisper Not, Without A Song, Yardbird Suite, Yesterdays.

u/tbp0701 · 1 pointr/Jazz

u/Lemwell gave you an especially great answer, and the others are quite good as well. So I'll simply provide some resources.

Here is a link for a free download of the Aebersold Redbook. There's a lot of great general info in there for all instruments, but it does discuss chords and voicings.

Probably the best jazz piano resource is Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book. (linked to Amazon, but available at several places. It's available spiral bound so it fits nicely on a music stand. It has a great deal of information about chords, leading, and everything else jazz piano related.

For a fun, easy beginning, do you know the blues scale? If not it'll be in the free Aebersold book, but it's 1-b3-4-b5-5-b7-1. So a C blues scale is C-Eb-F-Gb-G-Bb-C. Practice playing that over a standard C major chord. Then try mixing it up, finding some phrases you like. Then try the F blues scale over an F major, and a G blues scale over a G7. Then put them together in a 12 bar blues and see what you come up with.

u/danw1989 · 3 pointsr/Jazz

Classical pianist for 15 years, and I'm going on 3 years as a self-taught jazz pianist. I can honestly say that the book I have used the most is The Jazz Piano Book. Learning modes, memorizing the circle of 5ths, 3-note voicings, left hand voicings (a la Bill Evans and others) are all things included in the book. It will teach you how to interpret lead sheets, taking basic "scale/chord" theory knowledge and applying it to improvisation, and it also will teach you a variety of tricks used by the professionals. Mark Levine, the author, writes in a cohesive, down-to-earth voice (although sometimes a little corny), and it makes it really easy to understand what he's talking about. Other books you may want to look into are A Creative Approach to Jazz Piano Harmony, A Classical Approach To Jazz Piano, and of course, LISTEN TO GREAT PLAYERS! There's a saying in jazz - probably the most true of them all - the textbooks are the records!

Hope this helps get you started.
Remember, knowing the fundamentals is the key to learning the complexities of jazz. Seriously, I can't stress this enough. Always pay attention to your technique, and always play with the best possible sound. And more than anything - enjoy the process of learning. Have fun!


u/cuntbitchdick · 3 pointsr/Jazz

get all of your scales down. And I just mean like major/minor or Ionian/Aeolian. Just know your way up and down all of them, as well as all arpeggios. Knowing these shapes will help you to navigate charts easier. Second just start looking at charts, and don't even start playing in time with the music right away. Go through slowly and play the arpeggios (up to the seventh) of every change. Then play the song at speed and just go up and down each arpeggio. Eventually just start adding notes in between here and there and keep going like that until you are a master, and are ballin for shock calling. Seriously though, after doing that for a while start to look at things like major minor scales, and the altered scale, which are both very common in jazz (herbie hancock, wayne shorter). A good piece of literature on the subject is a book by Mark Levine called "The Jazz Theory Book" here it is on amazon for like thirty bucks, but well worth it imho. Best of luck.
The beginning of this part of learning jazz always sucks but it will be as much fun as you make it. Don't give up. This is a genre very worth learning how to play well.

u/bigfunky · 5 pointsr/Jazz

IMO, you can't really start tackling theory and go straight to jazz, you really need to understand the basics of music theory before you can move on to advanced jazz harmony. There are a number of theory books our there that explain the basics well, I have a couple of music degrees and a good overall text used in many schools is Tonal Harmony. As far as jazz the best book I've come across in regards to explaining harmony is Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book.

Both of these are pretty involved books, they might be a bit much for the casual player. But they are the best I know of.

u/andrewcooke · 7 pointsr/Jazz

seconding the miles bio. very entertaining.

ted gioia's history of jazz is very comprehensive, and probably "the standard history", but a bit boring (imho). i guess what i really want to read is a history of european jazz in the last 40 years, say, and that is perhaps half a chapter of that book (understandably...).

a better history, for me, was why jazz happened by marc myers. while gioia explains who learnt from whom, and how all the music inter-relates, myers focuses on the politics, sociology, technology, economics, etc., of the time(s), and how all that shaped the music (each chapter is a separate theme - for example, the availability of LPs was probably one chapter, another was the rise in popularity of rock music, if i remember correctly). i found that much more interesting - it really explained some of the broad changes while gioia felt a lot more like genealogy.

would love to hear other suggestions. those are the only "jazz only" books i've read. [though i think this has been asked before...]

u/rolandkeytar · 1 pointr/Jazz

I asked my university piano teacher a similar question. "What are the best transcriptions of common tunes?" His answer: "The ones you make yourself."

I think this is true. The only charts/transcriptions that you can really trust are the ones that you've created with your own ear. Real books and their many versions and electronic iterations (the irealbook ap is an amazing resource for learning tunes and transcribing simple chord charts) are invaluable sources for being introduced to tunes, but they are merely sketches. Choose an artist/version of a tune that you dig and learn that specific version using the real book chart as a starting point.

Recognizing those subtle differences and artistic choices is the beauty of learning jazz tunes.

That being said, I feel that the most accurate realbooks are the "New Real Book" series . They are based on specific recordings so they stay true to an actual version that a particular artist recorded or performed regularly.

Of course, not every tune is included so you have to rely on your faithful ears to figure out those Shorter tunes you're looking for.

Another resource is The Real Book Videos Subreddit . It has definitive versions of the Real Book tunes.

u/elephantengineer · 3 pointsr/Jazz

if you don't have a copy of the jazz theory book, i recommend it highly for theory and examples. the index of the book contains a list of about a thousand songs. about 300 of those are starred, with a footnote implying you better learn them or you'll be run of of new york on a rail, or something to that effect.

one thing i did that proved very useful was to make a playlist of those 300 tunes to start. i would listen to it often (i love jazz so this was definitely not a chore), and remove any song if i could hum through the entire head and name the song. after a few months i knew what all 300 sounded like, which makes it a lot easier if someone calls something random on the bandstand.

as for what to memorize and know cold:

my book 2 memorize list, made from the one's i've had to play fairly often:

  • bolivar blues
  • caravan
  • chameleon
  • doxy
  • dindi
  • fly me to the moon
  • gentle rain
  • in walked bud
  • hot house
  • killer joe
  • let's cool one
  • lover man
  • mercy, mercy, mercy
  • miles ahead
  • moanin'
  • move
  • my little suede shoes
  • nature boy
  • old devil moon
  • perdido
  • rhythm-a-ning
  • softly, as in a morning sunrise
  • st. thomas
  • st. louis blues
  • straight life
  • tenor madness
  • willow weep for me
  • whisper not
  • yardbird suite
  • you'd be so nice to come home to
u/bluenoteslur · 2 pointsr/Jazz

OP -- fellow Wynton skeptic here. IMO, most of his records are super safe, by-the-numbers stereotypes of the music they claim to love. The situation is similar with all of the family members and friends he's scored record deals for...just not the freshest stuff at all.

On a related note: it's been years since I read this, but Is Jazz Dead?: Or Has It Moved to a New Address has some great commentary on what happened to the jazz scene after Wynton gained the position to call the shots on who got funding to make jazz. Highly recommended for its Wynton discussion, the jazz education chapter (entitled, iirc, "Teachers Teaching Teachers") and other stuff.

u/earthdiedscreaming · 1 pointr/Jazz

Lots of good info already in this thread but came here to say this. Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon is worth checking out. He lays a good framework for a harmomically specific approach to improvisation. Tons of examples from many different jazz players are used to demonstrate his ideas. If anything, its full of tasty licks but there's a good method approach to be had as well.

u/Jon-A · 6 pointsr/Jazz

In a wide-ranging life, Hentoff made some vital contributions to Jazz. Some of the things I've personally found to be of great worth:

Co-author with Nat Shapiro of Hear Me Talkin' To Ya, an invaluable oral history of Jazz musicians.

As A&R Director of Candid Records, he was responsible for many great records, including:

Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus


Cecil Taylor's The World Of..., Air, Cell Walk For Celeste, Jumpin' Punkins, and New York R&B

and many others...

u/realitista · 1 pointr/Jazz

Hear Me Talkin to Ya is a great way to get into the history of Jazz. You feel like you are there.


"A work of considerable substance." — The New Yorker. In this marvelous oral history, the words of such legends as Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, and Billy Holiday trace the birth, growth, and changes in jazz over the years. Includes excerpts from hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tapes, and articles.

u/LightBulb1913 · 2 pointsr/Jazz

Miles Davis wrote an autobiography that was really great and told you a lot about the history of jazz, although it didn't give you too much theory. It was called "Miles", i think.

Mark Levine wrote a great book on Jazz theory.

He wrote one for piano specifically as well.

u/steve0nator · 3 pointsr/Jazz

Check out this book:

Great theory in this book, and I think it would be interesting even if you don't play.

If that's too technical then my advice would be to listen, listen, listen! Miles, Monk, Coltrane, etc didn't have these music theory classes and technical books, they listened and played to learn the craft. If you can't/don't have time to invest in learning to play then keep listening

u/DebtOn · 2 pointsr/Jazz

You've gotten some pretty good answers here, but to really play jazz you should study your theory in depth. If you're in school, enroll in a theory class, and also study this book in detail. A big part of properly improvising is understanding these distinctions, and knowing when you need to change your key, and these areas can get pretty hard to spot after a while.

u/Mayocide_Mozart · 1 pointr/Jazz

Gary Giddins - Visions of Jazz: The First Century

>Poised to become a classic of jazz literature, Visions of Jazz: The First Century offers seventy-nine chapters illuminating the lives of virtually all the major figures in jazz history. From Louis Armstrong's renegade-style trumpet playing to Sarah Vaughan's operatic crooning, and from the swinging elegance of Duke Ellington to the pioneering experiments of Ornette Coleman, jazz critic Gary Giddins continually astonishes the reader with his unparalleled insight. Writing with the grace and wit that have endeared his prose to Village Voice readers for decades, Giddins also widens the scope of jazz to include such crucial American musicians as Irving Berlin, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra, all primarily pop performers who are often dismissed by fans and critics as mere derivatives of the true jazz idiom. And he devotes an entire quarter of this landmark volume to young, still-active jazz artists, boldly expanding the horizons of jazz--and charting and exploring the music's influences as no other book has done.

u/tmwrnj · 5 pointsr/Jazz

>I was wondering if having a classical background was something necessary in learning to play jazz

No, not in the slightest. Your classical background is helpful, but jazz is a very different musical form with very different theory and technique. Most of the greatest jazz players had no classical training whatsoever.

I recommend The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine. It was written for experienced classical pianists who are switching over to jazz.

u/sksmith66 · 14 pointsr/Jazz

interesting. I recently put together an huge list of Jazz books oriented towards non-musicians. After putting together the list I organized it into courses like a university might. I called it my "Masters Degree in Jazz Studies for Non-Musicians." The first two courses I think would be perfect for you.

<br /> <br /> **Course 1: Jazz Appreciation**<br /> This course is meant to give you a solid grounding in how to listen to jazz music without delving too deeply in music theory or requiring the student to be a musician. It is also meant to expose you to the core body of work of jazz. <br /> <br /> [Enjoying Jazz - Henry Martin](<br /> <br /> [How To Listen To Jazz - Jerry Coker](;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1420760894&amp;amp;sr=1-9)<br /> <br /> [Jazz Standards - Ted Gioia](;amp;refRID=0DX94W5SY4BM04GD6W5J)<br /> <br /> <br />

Course 2: Jazz History 101
This is a basic course in jazz history. it is not meant to be an in depth coverage of every style. It is meant to give the student a broad overview of the general progression of jazz from it's inception into the modern era. Other courses in the program go much further in depth into specific styles and the major players of those styles.

Ken Burns Jazz

Jazz 101 - John F Szwed

History of Jazz - Ted Gioia

Visions of Jazz - Gary Giddins


so far the program I developed has 10 courses. If anyone is interested I could share the content of the other courses. and I am considering developing a syllabus for each course and possibly even more courses, but the time and effort needed to complete the 10 courses would already be more than the effort I put in to obtaining an actual master's degree from a university so I'm not sure how much more effort I would want to put into this right now.

u/thesuperemperor · 2 pointsr/Jazz

I took up Jazz Piano a few years back. The guy I took lessons from recommended this book. It is, hands down, the most useful jazz piano book, arguably best jazz book overall, that I have ever run across. It has all kinds of theory and improv techniques with quotable licks and riffs from a number of jazz standards. You cant go wrong with this book.

u/savemejebus0 · 1 pointr/Jazz

Well the Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine is very thorough and you should own it. I am a big believer in being solid with chord tone solos and then moving on to chord scales. Many reasons for that.

Good luck.

u/Walfischweckle · 2 pointsr/Jazz

I'd recommend checking out this Coltrane biography

It's EXTREMELY thorough and talks a lot about Coltrane's musical education, development, and practicing habits. I would check it out and look up references to where and when he started playing keyboards, but I left it at my mom's house after a move to Europe. :( I'll definitely have to pick it up on my next visit.

Some really interesting things in there though, for instance Jimmy Heath talks about little exercises he and Trane used to practice together, as well as arrangements they had worked out.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/Jazz;amp;qid=1345681282&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=john+coltrane+book

Thats an amazing book about Trane, towards the end there's a chapter of quotes from musicians about him and his personality, it's so moving man.

Also check out Clifford Brown. Enjoy!

u/TheEmancipator77 · 1 pointr/Jazz

Where do you go to college? If there is a music school (esp. with a jazz studies dept.) connected to your school, make friends with music students and learn from your new friends in person, or even reach out to jazz faculty there.

Also, check out "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine. Its one of the definitive books on everything from chord and scale theory to "Coltrane" reharmonization.;qid=1539372648&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=the+jazz+theory+book


u/LaFrois · 2 pointsr/Jazz

How to Jazz?

I think the short answer is listen to it live, in person.
And also learn how to play jazz.

Ted Gioia's How To Listen To Jazz may be a good resource.

There are Youtubers like Walk That Bass and Aimee Nolte to name a few.

Don't just pigeonhole your listening to a single style or era at first. Jazz is an ocean, so spend a bit of time surface, sampling whatever you hear before you dive deep.

Bon Voyage.

u/PickMyCherryStat · 1 pointr/Jazz

Since you mentioned that you're interested in theory, these two should be highly rewarding:

Early Jazz - Gunther Schuller

Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn - Walter van de Leur

u/wugglesthemule · 1 pointr/Jazz

I used Ted Gioia's book when I took History of Jazz in college. It was easy to read, and very informative.

I'd also check out the Ken Burns Jazz documentary on Netflix. It's really long, but very thorough and interesting.

u/BCTM · 4 pointsr/Jazz

Great book to check out is the jazz theory book. Here's an amazon link:

u/SpinalFracture · 1 pointr/Jazz

The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine is a great jazz course, aimed at pianists who are already reasonably proficient.

u/tomlegit · 6 pointsr/Jazz

Listen, transcribe, analyse. Also, the Mark Levine jazz theory book has some great stuff in it.

u/shirttailstomper · 2 pointsr/Jazz

I think you are looking for this... Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Nic Payton + female vocalists Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn and Betty Carter.
Jazz for Joy: A Verve Christmas Album

u/veddy_interesting · 3 pointsr/Jazz

The whole "Jazz For Joy" Verve Christmas album is terrific. Shirley Horn's take on "The Christmas Song" alone is worth the cost of the whole album. When I looked up the link, I noticed it's only five bucks on Amazon in the U.S.

u/auntbabe · 3 pointsr/Jazz

My instructor (jazz guitarist and bassist) had me buy a copy of Ed Freidland's "Building Walking Bass Lines". Good place to start learning the basics along with the below suggestion to transcribe bass lines. (hint: get a copy of Audacity, use the bass boost, low pass filter, and slow the whole thing down to really hear the bass). (edited to add link)

u/Pawlx · 1 pointr/Jazz

[Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book] ( is a really good place to start especially if you already know some basics.

u/wazywazy · 1 pointr/Jazz

Reading Jazz, ed. Robert Gottlieb, is a great foray into the history of jazz, through story telling. It's sort of a mish mash of autobiographies, biographies, criticisms, etc., but you can just pick it up in the middle and read a 8 or 9 page story, and then start somewhere else.

Here's a link to its amazon page:

u/RightWingersSuck · 0 pointsr/Jazz

Gary Giddins 2 part overview is my favorite in terms of what you are asking about.

I've preferred biographies myself.

u/terrapin1203 · 5 pointsr/Jazz

Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book is considered the standard jazz piano book. Between that and a good teacher you should be set.

u/Forgery · 3 pointsr/Jazz

I found Building Walking Bass Lines helpful when I first started. Another must-have is The Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reid.

u/dudebrahman · 1 pointr/Jazz

Link to The Real Book in case you're interested.

u/Zcott · 3 pointsr/Jazz

If you like these sorts of jazz stories, you should pick up a copy of Jazz Anecdotes.

u/birdgetstheworm · 1 pointr/Jazz

Biographies and autobiographies are the way to go, I think – there's simply too much to write a book about everyone at once, not to mention the story of jazz is really the sum of intersecting individual journeys and solos, not some kind of burgeoning volksgeist. I recommend Miles and Space is the Place

u/marastinoc · 3 pointsr/Jazz

To be fair, the most popular Fortnite subreddit, /r/FortniteBR, has almost 900,000 subscribers.

But yeah, people are quick to call things dead. The PC was supposed to be dead, along with radio, network TV, baseball, newspapers, printed books, bookstores, libraries, phone conversations, snail mail, email, the family meal...I’d say these things are still widely appreciated by many people. I think it’s a form of technological snobbery. “Technochauvinism” I heard it called once.

You might find this book interesting though. I don’t agree with all the assertions, but the gist is that the most development of jazz lately has been in Europe. Granted the book is at least 10 years old:

u/Sesquipedaliac · 1 pointr/Jazz

This one is pretty much the standard Real Book, based on my experience.

Personally, I'm partial to this version, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone else actually use it.

u/Capn_Crusty · 3 pointsr/Jazz

This Book carries one such account after another.

u/everettmarm · 1 pointr/Jazz

Get a "fake book." A big book of charts for standard tunes. Like this one: The Real Book: Sixth Edition