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The Jazz Theory Book [Spiral-bound]

Mark Levine
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1995
Endorsed by Jamey Aebersold, James Moody, Dave Liebman, and others, The Jazz Theory Book presents all the information any student of jazz needs in an easy-to-understand, yet thorough, manner. For intermediate to advanced players, and written by one of the acknowledged masters of jazz, it is used by universities around the world.


Product details

  • Spiral-bound: 522 pages
  • Publisher: Sher Music (1 Jan 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883217040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883217044
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 21 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must have it. Its the law! 2 Sep 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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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much Jazz Theory as one could ever need! 21 Nov 2001
By A Customer
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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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jazz Theory Book 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
5.0 out of 5 stars V Good book 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
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't find anything better! 10 Feb 2003
By A Customer
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for piano not treble clef instruments 14 Dec 2013
By Mike R
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
This is a comprehensive work on jazz theory but it should be made clear in the product description that it is principally written for piano. Those with treble clef instruments such as saxophone, clarinet or trumpet etc, will not get full benefit from this book unless they can read base clef too. For example to understand complex chords covering both clefs (left and right hands on piano music) you will need to work out what the notes are on your instrument. That becomes very tedious particularly as it is on top of any transposition required for say Bb or Eb instruments. It is therefore much simpler when studying such a complex subject to get jazz theory books written for your specific instrument.albeit they may not be easy to find at the level you want. I returned my copy for a refund which was no problem but the return second class postage for such a tome left me 5.60 out of pocket - so be warned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a monster 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jazz Theory Book
Beautifully set out - this is probably the best music tutor of any kind that I have ever opened! Full marks Mr Levine!
Published 1 month ago by Ricky
5.0 out of 5 stars Great theory book
A must have book for any jazz musician. Any musical theory book is an attempt to rationalise what people play or compose - it is a post hoc analysis. Read more
Published 5 months ago by pawl
4.0 out of 5 stars Good service
Excellent book, if expensive. Years worth of material. You need to be able to at least start to read music to get the most from it, and be able to use a basic keyboard. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Aidan
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone learning to play jazz
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... Read more
Published 6 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for those who can read music
This is an excellent learning resource for the jazz musician who wants to study the theory of jazz in depth for those who can read music well.
Published 8 months ago by LJ ATKINSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless
The best, most comprehensive tome on this fascinating but complex subject. You just know that you'll return to it time and time again.
Published 12 months ago by Andrew Paul Cross
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Fast, simple and as described. Book is very detailed and after studying jazz for a few years it is a good revision aid
Published 14 months ago by Aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars Same easy going but pro format as the Jazz Piano Book
You really have no excuses if you have not got a good handle on Jazz Theory after methodically working through this.
Published 17 months ago by Rick London
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book from mark levine. It is a bible for all musicians who want to learn more about jazz music. In my opinion he covers almost any aspect of jazz theory
Published 17 months ago by iou
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Theory.
All the theory you need to last a lifetime playing jazz. Includes guidance with practise to become fluent in the required scales and modes to meet all situations.
Published 17 months ago by Peter Lammyman
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