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The Jazz Theory Book Spiral-bound – 1 Jan 1995

38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Spiral-bound: 522 pages
  • Publisher: Sher Music (1 Jan. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883217040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883217044
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 2.8 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Palmer on 2 Sept. 2008
Format: Spiral-bound
I will avoid repeating what other reviewers have said and add only this. If you want a comprehensive book about jazz theory, this is it. Its all in here. Its the only one you will need to buy so it is a highly cost effective purchase. It is presented in an accessible way and is easy to follow. Mine has sat on my piano since I got it 5 years ago and is unlikely to leave there in the forseeable future. I whole-heartedly recommend it to all instrumentalists interested in music theory and insist all my students get a copy.

If you are not a card-carrying jazzer then don't worry. 99% of this stuff is totally transferable to other genres of music.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Nov. 2001
Format: Spiral-bound
This book is, quite simply, unbelieveable. Containing anything and everything there is to know about Jazz Theory, its name is indeed suitable. I have used it for some time now, and have recmmended it to many people involved in Jazz with myself, and it never lets anyone down. There are parts of this book that you mat never use, it's that comprehensive!
If you do Jazz, get this book.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By lexo1941 on 8 May 2006
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
After nineteen years of kidding myself that I was an okay guitar player, I splashed out on 'The Jazz Theory Book' in the hope that if I read and absorbed it, I might finally be able to comp along with my Bud Powell CDs. The first thing I learned was that, by the time I finish this book, I will be able to have a go. The second thing I learned is that it will take me years to finish this book.

Levine is a gifted teacher; he introduces each new thing step by step, working up from simple scales (even I was familiar with the stuff in the first 50 pages) to more complex ones, reharmonisation, modal playing, altered chords and all the other stuff that people spend a lifetime getting to know. At each step, there are none of the sudden leaps in assumed knowledge that I've found in other instruction books. All the way along he demonstrates how what appears to be an unclimbable mountain of knowledge is in fact just a really big hill, by showing how different areas of the music are in fact based on similar principles.

Levine assumes that you can read music (if you can't, this book is of little use to you) and also seems to assume that you have access to some kind of tuition, which is not the case with me, but I'm managing without it so far. Especially useful for the jazz newbie are the lists of standard tunes and recommended listening. Levine has a definite leaning towards hard bop (he's teaching you to play the music that was in its most creative period between 1945 or so and 1967) and the chapter on blues seems a bit skimpy to me - if you've never listened to blues, you're going to need to do more than just check out B.B. King to get a handle on it, although that'd be a start. But these are just quibbles. This is a mighty volume and I'm sure it must make a lot of Sher's other publications a bit redundant. Excellent stuff. I've only had it for a couple of weeks and already my playing has improved beyond measure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By listenclear on 10 Feb. 2012
Format: Spiral-bound
Bought this years ago as I wanted to understand the relationship between chords, scales and modes etc and how the mind of an improviser works. This book is the clearest explanation for all these things I've come across. Theory doesn't come easily for me - I often have to return to the very basics to understand some of the more complex subjects such as reharmonisation or sometimes when I overlook something obvious.
In a way this book broke my heart because it really made me realise that these musicians know exactly what they are doing when they play - and to be that good requires a level of practice I'm not willing to put in. However, just because I don't want to improvise like Coltrane doesn't make this book invaluable to me as a song writer and for working out the progressions of other peoples' songs in a studio setting.
This book can't answer everything you need to know and unfortunately it can't do the really hard work for you BUT as a clear guide and reference point - look no further!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Taylor on 26 May 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
The Jazz Theory Book

This book is not just for Jazz musicians - it is for any musician who wants to understand music theory with a view to improving their creative soloing in whatever musical genre. It is a truly classic and comprehensive guide designed to inspire, which it succeeds in doing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sophie Lloyd on 27 May 2010
Format: Spiral-bound
Wish I'd bought this when I was still learning my jazz at school. Would have saved me a lot of time and helped my practice! A really exellent book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: Spiral-bound
I've used this book for the last couple of years -- it is outstanding in every possible way. The organisation is crystal clear, the writing is perfectly suited for the muso target audience, and the musical examples are highly appropriate. If you buy this book you will be using it until the end of your life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on 22 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I use this as reference material while learning jazz guitar and find it suits my style of learning. Mark references many jazz standards when working through the theory so as you can get real practical examples of what he's putting over. I had this book from the library for a year before I purchased the kindle version and never stop dabbling into it when I need to understand what's going on in a song. It's probably the best music reference book I've ever come across.
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