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Solos and Improvisation: Cig (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – 1 Nov 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Don't Make Idiots Like They Used To 6 May 2007
By Fly By Light - Published on
Format: Paperback
This books covers a world of material on crafting rock/jazz/blues solos for less than the price of a music lesson. You need to have reasonable mastery of your instrument before tackling this book (playing scales, reading music, producing proper tone, etc.). The book will easily take a non-obsessed musician over a year to plow through and absorb fully if they do not have much background in improvisation or theory. The "Idiot" that masters the material would be an amazing idiot indeed. What makes this book stand out from others?

1) The amount of material covered: There are some gaps (like modes of the melodic minor scale), but this book does an incredibly good job of hitting important topics in comprehensive fashion. Its broad scope almost rivals an encyclopedia.

2) Clear and concise explanations: the book opts for clear explanations and illustrative examples, rather than giving technically perfect explanations. Other books deal with topics in exhaustive depth (Bert Ligon's jazz books and Mark Levine's Drop 2 book come to mind); this one presents the concepts and suggests their application, then leaves it to the student to explore.

3) Interviews - there are two very good interviews with pros from jazz and rock

4) Appendices - the appendices have some good scale charts that will be useful for reference and practice.

5) Lots of practice patterns

6) Advice that goes beyond the theory - theory is indispensible, but it doesn't equal music, any more than colors equal art. The real value in this book is the discussion of how to make solos interesting and effective. The advice in this realm is as useful to a reaasonably experienced improviser as it is to a beginner, and trancends all genres. Every solo can be analyzed through these concepts to find where room for improvement may be found.

This books has plenty to offer to the budding improviser. Do not be fooled by the bargain price or the title: it is not a half-hearted introduction or a quick fix. It is as jam-packed with information as any book on the subject could be. It will require time, practice and dedication to master the material in this book, but it will produce results if you do your part.

Because of the breadth of material covered, go elsewhere for depth (not a fault, just a fact). That might come in the form of a book on a specific topic or a music teacher. In fact, this book would probably be an excellent text to use with music lessons so that important topics can be identified and expanded, and bad habits can be avoided.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book 9 April 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always wondered how improvision and jazz solo's were done. Music teachers just teach you in the classical way, they don't go into improvision. This book unravels the mystery of how to solo. Although, I feel that musicians should learn to read music and play classical music before learning to improvise. I wish that I had read this book years ago. My advise is BUY IT!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "must have" 18 April 2011
By jsz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
just the best guide to playing jazz music I ever saw. Comprehensive explanation, good examples, interesting to read. In a short sentence: recommendable in every way.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go straight to page 153. 19 Oct. 2012
By Francis - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are many great pieces of advice in every chapter but the most powerful of them all is definitely the section, "Playing with-and Against-Your Fellow Musicians". You don't even need to know anything about improvisation to get this. Just go straight to this section, read it first and then everthing else makes perfect sense. You will play better than ever because you are "in the pocket" with the other players.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Helping Already! 6 Feb. 2015
By A Mom Who Knows - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My daughter is very happy with this book. I read it to her, since she is totally blind and cannot read print. We are only on the third chapter, but already her instructors have noticed a big improvement in her solos and improvs. We recommend this book, as well as others by this author. She has also enjoyed his Music Theory book.
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